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What do rats look like?

What a rat looks like depends on the species that they are.  Two of the most common species of rats that invade homes and other buildings include the Norway rat and the roof rat.

Norway rats, or “brown rats” as they are also referred to, are most commonly found in urban areas, fields, and farmlands.  The Norway rat is brown with some scattered black hairs in their fur and their underside is a whitish-gray color.  They have a long heavy body, blunt nose, small eyes and ears, and a slightly shorter tail than other rat species. Adults grow to be about 7-9 ½ inches in length and have a tail length of about 6-8 inches.  Norway rats are terrible climbers, so they are usually found invading ground levels of buildings and basements.

Unlike the Norway rat, roof rats are great climbers and can be found in trees, attics, and in upper levels of buildings.  Roof rats have a long thin body, pointed nose, large eyes and ears, and a long tail.  Their fur is a brownish color with black hairs throughout it and their underside can be black, gray or white.  Adults can grow to be about 6-8 inches long and have a tail length that is equal to their body at 6-8 inches.

Are rats dangerous?

Yes, rats are considered to be dangerous for several reasons.  These reasons include:

  • Causing significant damage to property and personal belongings through their constant need to chew to prevent their front incisors from overgrowing.   

  • If cornered or directly handled they can bite or scratch.

  • They contaminate food, and leave trails of urine and feces, which can be a health hazard wherever they travel throughout your home.

  • They bring in other parasites likes mites and fleas. 

  • They have been known to transmit many serious diseases including bubonic plague, rat-bite fever, typhus, and salmonellosis to people.


Rats   |  Rattus rattus

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Why do I have rats?

Rats like to live in areas that are close to people because we give them easy access to three things that they need to survive; food, water, and shelter.  They can get into homes many ways, and sometimes only need a space the diameter of a quarter to squeeze into a space.  Rats will enter into homes through spaces in the foundation and around utility entrances, through loose vents covers, and open spaces in roof soffits.

Signs of rats in my home

If rats are in your home you will probably hear them before you see them.  At night while they are active you will hear them scratching and running behind your walls or above your ceilings.  You may also find their feces in basement and attic areas, and see chew marks on pipes, drywall, flooring, and food containers.  Rats also tend to leave grease or dirt marks on walls as they travel throughout your home.

How do I get rid of rats?

The best way to get rid of a problem with rats is to call a professional pest control expert like our team here at Hoffer's.  Rats can bite, scratch and transmit serious diseases to people, so leaving rat control up to an expert is best. Our professionals have the experience, training, and knowledge you need to provide you with the necessary services to find and eliminate any rats that have invaded your home.  

If rats have gotten into your home contact us today for more information about how our rat control services can safely remove them from your property!

Rat prevention tips

There are many things that you can do to help keep rats from invading your home.  Rat prevention tips include:

  • Seal cracks, crevices and spaces in your home or building’s foundation and around utility entrances and chimney areas.

  • Remove piles of debris from your property, and trim back overgrown trees and bushes from your house.

  • Make sure to keep outdoor trash receptacles, garden and compost areas a distance away from the outside of your house.

  • Keep clutter to a minimum in basement, attic, and other storage areas because the more clutter you have, the more area rats have to nest in and the longer it may take you to notice their presence.

  • Fix leaky pipes and drains so that they do not have access to easy water sources.

  • Store pet food in sealed plastic containers instead of the bags they come in. Pick up any uneaten pet food.

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