It’s a lovely hot Sunday afternoon and you are dishing up an amazing Italian lunch for all your friends. The occasion for the impromptu party is the recent promotion you had at your workplace and well deserved too, you think to yourself while drizzling olive oil on the pasta.
For the garnish, you reach out to get the small bottle of oregano seasoning which you had bought last weekend and you see few dirty marks on it. You mentally remind yourself to clean up the kitchen pantry and all the shelves before your visitors come in. Wait a minute, did you just see little droppings which looked like an animal feces near the kitchen wall in the corner? If so, it’s time to act fast.
Identifying a Rat Infestation
Rats can be sneaky in a number of ways. These pests like to scurry around at night and often their droppings, urine, or food pieces on the floor or kitchen countertops are signs of a rat infestation.
Though you may not end up seeing them, they leave plenty of signs around to confirm that it is indeed an infestation. Many rat species have different habits and identifying them can be crucial to your treatment strategy.
Let’s read on and identify the different types of these critters whether you manage to see them or not. Then, next time you see one of these furry creatures scuttle to its nest or down a drain pipe, you’ll be well-versed in what kind of rat you’re dealing with which will help you identify the best ways of eradicating them if you ever have an infestation.
Different Types of Rats
Rats are long-tailed rodents which look similar to mice and are often confused with them, despite being significantly larger than your average mouse. Rats can even weigh up to a pound and are usually black or brown in color.
In North America, you’re most likely to encounter roof rats or Norway rats, though many will simply look like brown rats or black rats. They may look similar but have different nesting habits. The roof rat, like its name implies, is an efficient climber and spends most of its time in trees and other vegetation, though it is also found in little nooks and crannies of attics, rafters, rooftops or upper story levels of homes or businesses. It is usually black in color and is also called a ship rat.
Norway rats, which go by many other names like street rats or sewer rats is the dominant species in North America. Brown or grey in color, they’re common in urban areas and, unlike the high-climbing roof rats, prefer to live at ground level. They are efficient tunnel builders, so you’re likely to find them in low-level places, like crawlspaces, basements or in tunnels around building foundations.
Damage Caused by Rat Infestation
Both types of rats are flexible and sneaky. They can enter a home or office through an opening the size of a coin and are happy to make a home within walls, in your pipes, rafters, garages or attics. Once they’ve secured a place to nest, they breed at an extremely rapid rate. Though baby rats can look pretty cute, it is advisable not to be fooled by their looks as these tenacious rodents can cause serious damage once they enter your house.
They’ve been known to chew through wiring, gnaw on beams and wooden features, as well as damage packaged foods. Rat urine and droppings can be not only unsightly but can carry disease and contaminate surfaces. They are particularly fond of open food, restaurants, and food service businesses and have been the cause of many restaurant closures.
Now, how do we eradicate these prolific rodents? Luckily, there’s a variety of methods for eliminating rat infestations which you can do on your own by buying effective rat control products available on the market. Effective methods include bait stations, glue boards, and bait boxes.
The Bottom Line
Rats have a long and checkered history. Tenacious and adaptable, they can cause significant damage and have even carried fatal diseases, including the Black Plague of the Middle Ages. Whether you have roof rats taking refuge in your attic or Norway rats munching their way through the wiring in your basement, it’s imperative that you take immediate action before they become a serious concern.