Pest Guide : What Is a Rat?

What You Need to Know About Rats

Rats are rodents that practically everyone has heard of. There are many species of rats, and almost all of them are dangerous to have around the home. Contact our expert team of exterminators if you find rats on your property to keep your home and loved ones safe.


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How to Identify a Rat Infestation

Rats are Major Health and Safety Threats

Rat on trash

Rats are mammals that can be found all across the world. They are adaptable and have front incisors that constantly grow, requiring them to chew on objects constantly. Although there are hundreds of rat species, there are two species highly popular in our area.

  • The Roof Rat is an excellent climber. They often access food and homes by climbing trees. These rats are dark brown or black and have a little bit of gray mixed in. In contrast, their underbelly is very light. Because these rats are excellent climbers, they are long and thin, growing to be about 6 to 8 inches long. If you consider their scaly tail, these rats are an additional 6 to 8 inches long. This species has a pointed nose, large eyes, and large ears.
  • The Norway Rat is a lot bigger than the Roof Rat. It is normally 7 to 9.5 inches long, not including the tail. The tail is normally 6 to 8 inches alone. These rats are not good climbers and prefer to live in basements and first floors because they are so heavy. They have a rounded nose with small, black eyes. They also have small ears. A distinctive feature of this rat is that it has a bicolor tail. The top is dark, and the bottom is light. The fur is shabby and brown with speckled black. Its underbelly is normally white or gray.

Common Questions About Rats

Rats are attracted to anywhere humans are found because they often seek out food, water, and shelter from human homes. Rats are often attracted to homes for the first time due to trash cans, compost files, gardens, and pet foods. Rats mainly become a problem in the winter whenever they try to squeeze through small spaces to get into the warmth of your home.

Once they make it inside, they will invade other areas of the home and live in crawl spaces, attics, basements, and wall voids.

In one word - Very!

Rats are incredibly dangerous to have around humans. They cause serious structural damage to your home since they constantly chew. They also contaminate food and water sources and carry several serious illnesses, including salmonella, dysentery, LCM, and leptospirosis.

If you have rats on your property, it’s essential to get rid of them as soon as possible. Most treatment plans involve use of traps, baits, and exclusion to keep rats out. Treatments can vary based on the type of rat, location, and level of rat infestation. The most effective and safest way to get rid of rats is to contact professionals who are expertly trained in rat extermination.

Although there are tons of over-the-counter and DIY methods claiming to exterminate rats, these methods are usually not successful. They are a waste of time, and they put your family at serious risk. They usually do not get rid of the rats, and they spread pesticides. Rats are by nature very suspicious. They can quickly learn from ineffectively set traps or bait to avoid these areas, and make treatment more difficult. We strongly recommend not using DIY methods and only going straight to professionals if you have a rat infestation.

Tips for Preventing Rats

  • Make sure to keep wood piles, garbage cans, and compost piles away from your home.
  • Cut back trees and other vegetation and animal feeders on your property
  • Remove garbage from home frequently and make sure trash is stored in sealed containers.
  • Seal up any cracks or crevices in the home’s foundation and exterior as well. Remember, even a small crack can be an entryway for a rat.
  • Keep garage and other doors closed.
  • Clean up spills and crumbs immediately and do dishes as soon as possible to reduce food sources.
  • Mow the lawn and trim trees around the house.
  • Minimize hiding places for the rats as well by cleaning up storage areas like basements and attics.

How My Pest Pros Helps Eliminate Rats

The best way to get rid of rats on your property is to go straight to the professionals at My Pest Pros. Our pest experts have protected families and businesses from rats in Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. for more than a decade.  We will inspect your property to fully understand the situation and create a customizable plan. We always use EPA-approved products to ensure the most effective treatment as well as protect the safety of children and pets.

With our protection plans, rats and other invaders will be eradicated both now and in the future with regular treatment visits. These visits are effective at treating and preventing rat infestations.

For ultimate protection, our professionals will work with you to find a customized solution for your rat problems, today and tomorrow.

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