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All About Rats and How to Eliminate them From your Home or Business

The most common type of rat in the world is the Norway Rat – also known as the “Brown Rat”, “Street Rat”, and many other local names. Roof rats are another common species in this region that typically infests buildings and the outdoors.

At Addison, we can eliminate and control ANY kind of rat problem from your home or business.

NORWAY RAT

Rattus

Dealing with a rat infestation is important because they are carriers and transmit some disease along with structural and aesthetic damage causing financial loss. Rats are typically larger than mice with more generous sized droppings. Rats have an acute sense of hearing, are sensitive to ultrasound and a highly developed sense of smell. Rodents, particularly Norway rats, are very cautious and several days may pass before they approach the traps.

How do you get rid of Norway Rat?

Seal up holes around your home using steel wool to keep rodents out. Remove potential nesting sites; this includes leaf piles and thick mulch, stop feeding outdoor birds and move outdoor compost away from home. Clean up food and water sources near your house, use tight-fitting lids for compost and garbage inside and outside the home.

How to identify Norway Rat

Rats have coarse hair, usually with dark brown or black fur with greyish-white underparts. Their body can measure up to 25 cm (10”) in length NOT including their tail. A can male weighs on average 350 g (12 oz) and the female 250 g (9 oz). They have a short, blunt snout,  the tail is shorter than the head and body, their ears are short, and both ears and tails are covered in scales and nearly hairless.

Signs of  Norway Rat Infestation

The best indicator of presences is their fecal matter. Droppings are shiny, black and blunt almost capsules shaped and measure 18 to 20 cm long. They can be found along frequently travelled rodent pathways.

Sightings during the day are rare due to the fact they are nocturnal and like to remain unseen and undisturbed. Rats seen during the day is because of a limited amount of space or other disturbances, this often an indication of potentially massive infestations. Other signs of rats are gnawing marks on food, walls or utility lines, and grease stains caused by rats running along an edge or throw a small hole. The gnarled holes have rough edges and can measure about 2” in diameter. Their preference is wood, but they will chew on electrical wiring causing damage.

Where did they come from / How did I get them?

Rats live particularly in urban areas where populations are denser and more people can be found. Rats excavate extensive burrow systems where they live in large, hierarchical groups in burrows or subsurfaces such as sewers and cellars. They are nocturnal and are good swimmers, on both surface and underwater. They have been known to climb slim round metal poles several feet to reach garden bird feeders. An important part of prevention with rats is ensuring cutting off food sources, this can include moving bird feeders and compost further away from the house. 

What does Norway Rat eat?

Rat is a true omnivore and will consume almost anything including meats, fruits, grains, and nuts. Dead animals will serve as a food source for rats; they are also capable of catching small fish and rodents. Rats unlike mice need water to survive and will make their colony as close to a water source as possible.

How serious are Norway Rats?

A nocturnal animal with well-developed hearing and touch receptors, the Norway Rat, can transmit disease through the air from viruses found in their fecal droppings and urine. HPS Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome is a lung infection that you can get by breathing in tiny particles, touching, or coming into contact with rodent urine, saliva, and droppings. Norway Rat can produce a significant number of fecal matter per night and urinate very frequently throughout their pathways.

How can Addison help eliminate Norway Rat?

Seal Holes:

Seal up holes around your home where rats and mice can gain entry.

Rats can squeeze through a hole as small as a loonie. One can prevent entry of rodents by checking inside and outside the house for holes and gaps.

Places to check INSIDE your house:

  • In, around and underneath Kitchen cabinets, refrigerators, and stoves
  • Inside closets, usually by the corners
  • Areas around the fireplace
  • Areas around doors
  • Under sinks and washing machines where you can find pipes
  • Under Pipes going to hot water heaters and furnaces
  • Around floor vents and dryer vents
  • Attics,
  • Basements
  • Laundry Room
  • Any Crawl spaces or room under the stairs
  • Between floor and wall junctures

Where to look for gaps and holes OUTSIDE your home:

  • In the roof, rafters, gables and eaves.
  • Area around windows
  • Area around Doors
  • Around the Foundation
  • Attic and Crawlspace vents

Traps:

Set traps in any field where there is evidence of daily rodent activity. Basement, attics, crawlspaces, under sinks and garages, as well as garden sheds are all ideal nesting areas for the Norway rat. Rodents, particularly Norway rats, are very cautious and several days may pass before they approach the traps.

Place traps in buildings and in areas that might likely serve as rodent shelters. Natural rodent predators, such as non-poisonous snakes, owls, and hawks, may also help control and reduce the number of rodents outside the home.

If you use a  trap inside your home, do not seal up rodent entry holes, you want the rodent to retrieve the poison and retreat to its home.

Clean:

Prevent contact with rodents by cleaning up your home and workplace.

Eliminate food sources for rodents

Clean up spilled food, wash dishes and cooking utensils soon after use

Put pet food away after use and do not leave out overnight

Keep bird feeders away from the house

Use  heavy duty garbage cans with a tight lid

Keep compost bins as far away from house as possible (at least 100 ft)

Additional Information

Reproduction & Lifestyle 

Rats can breed throughout the year; a female can produce anywhere from 4 – 7 litters per year. The gestation period is 21 days and with up to 14 young per litter. Rats reach sexual maturity in 2 – 5 months. The maximum lifespan is three years but usually survive a year in the wild.

If rats feel a significant portion of their populations and feel threatened, the remaining rats will increase reproduction rate to restore the population numbers. Females are capable of becoming pregnant immediately after giving birth, and they have the ability to nurse one litter while pregnant with another litter. When food becomes restricted for female pregnant rats, they have the capacity to extend their pregnancy over two weeks until their young are normal and healthy weight.

Habitat

 

In the absence of humans, rats prefer damp environments such as river banks; and city sewer systems. Norway Rats will stay close to their nest if a suitable concentrated supply of both food and water. Rats need water to survive and will range more widely in search of food but often staying within 15-30 m of the net.

Roof Rat

Rattus rattus

Dealing with a Rat infestation is important because not only do these rodents transmit disease they can cost physical and economic damage.Rats are typically larger than mice and identified by the larger size of their droppings.

The Roof Rat is nocturnal rodent and also an excellent climber. Make sure all the windows and vents covered using mesh screen material to help prevent infestation. Roof rats can enter through openings in walls eaves and roofs from the branches of trees touching your home. They rely on their whiskers and hairs on their body as tactile sensors to establish travel routes and recognize other rats. The Roof Rat has an excellent sense of smell, taste, and touch to locate food sources.

How do you get rid of Roof Rat?

Seal up holes around your home using steel wool to keep rodents out. Remove potential nesting sites; this includes leaf piles and thick mulch, stop feeding outdoor birds and move outdoor compost away from home. Clean up food and water sources near your house, use tight-fitting lids for compost and garbage inside and outside the home.

How to identify Roof Rats

The Roof Rat is black or brown in colour and measures 40 cm (15’) in length and can weigh up to 10 ounces (250g). The roof rat has a long tail, large eyes, and ears with a pointed nose, with smooth fur. Smaller and slender in size than the Norway Rat, which is more robust and significant in size.

Sign of Roof Rat Infestation

Visual sightings or Roof Rats dead and alive are a good indicator if you have an infestation, although they are nocturnal so some better indicators would be droppings and gnaw marks. Droppings are 12-13mm long and spindle shaped. Grease marks along surfaces from the oil on their fur will be prominent along the edge off walls where they travel.

The roof rat will nest inside and outside of buildings or in piles of rubbish or wood. Indoor nests found in attics where they will destroy insulation electrical wiring and plants and vegetation.

They prefer damp environments and will nest in gaps in walls and foundations, around plumbing in attics and siding.

Highly adaptable and excellent climbers this is why they occupy the upper structures of buildings. Rats can chew through wires and insulation causing not only financial loss but also run the risk of starting a fire by shorting out electrical systems

Where did they come from / How did I get them?

The house mouse will find its way inside your home through a variety of different access points. Holes and cracks in the foundation of the home. Open doors and windows. All homes are susceptible to house mouse infestation; they are attracted to shelter food sources and water, Mice enter your home looking for ideal places to nest.

How serious is Roof Rat infestation

Rats can carry and transmit disease through physical contact, bites by contamination or fleas of feeding on rodents.  Roof Rat can spread disease through the air from viruses found in their fecal droppings and urine. HPS Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome is a lung infection that you can get by breathing in tiny particles, touching, or coming into contact with rodent urine, saliva, and droppings. Rat Bite Fever, 2 to 4 days after the onset of a fever and rash may occur on the hands and feet. Joints may become swollen and red as well.

What does Roof Rat eat?

The Black Roof Rat prefers to feed on fruits and nuts, although they are omnivores and will consume just about anything. These rodents have been known to consume meat, grain, tree bark, snails, slugs and other insects. They feed 15 g of food and 15 ml of water a day on average.

How Addison can help prevent Roof Rat infestation in the future

Seal Holes:

Inside and outside of your home seal up all holes where rats and mice can gain entry.

Rats squeeze through a hole as small as a loonie. One can prevent entry of rodents by checking inside and outside the house for holes and gaps.

Places to check INSIDE your house:

  • In, around and underneath Kitchen cabinets, refrigerators, and stoves
  • Inside closets, usually by the corners
  • Areas around the fireplace
  • Areas around doors
  • Under sinks and washing machines where you can find pipes
  • Under Pipes going to hot water heaters and furnaces
  • Around floor vents and dryer vents
  • Attics,
  • Basements
  • Laundry Room
  • Any Crawl spaces or room under the stairs
  • Between floor and wall junctures

Where to look for gaps and holes OUTSIDE your home:

  • In the roof, rafters, gables and eaves.
  • Area around windows
  • Area around Doors
  • Around the Foundation
  • Attic and Crawlspace vents

Traps:

Set traps in areas where this is evidence of daily rodent activity. Most rodents especially rats are very cautious and several days may pass before the Rat takes the bait. Monitor by checking bait stations, this must only be done by a professional.

If you use a  trap inside your home, do not seal up rodent entry holes, you want the rodent to retrieve the poison and retreat to its home.

Clean:

Prevent contact with rodents by cleaning up your home and workplace.

Eliminate food sources for rodents

Clean up spilled food, wash dishes and cooking utensils soon after use

Put pet food away after use and do not leave out overnight

Keep bird feeders away from the house

Use heavy duty garbage cans with a tight lid

Keep compost bins as far away from house as possible (at least 100 ft)

Addition Information

Reproduction

Females can breed year round and are quite resilient when it comes to breeding, with 4-6 litters per year and 6-8 young in a litter they Roof Rats can give birth to as many as 40 infants per year. Although they can have small litters, this particular Rat is known as prolific breeders.

Habitats & Biology

Common nesting sites are above ground, tree, attics, voids along the roof line and in ceiling often like squirrels they can enter through attics and roofs. They are nocturnal so that peak activity will be at dawn and dusk. Not unlike the Norway Rat, the Roof Rat is weary and can be quite hard to trap. If heard or seen during the day populations are large. Black rats will travel long distances from its harbourage, as much as 90 metres, to find food and water.

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