What To Know
Rats are one of over 2000 species of rodents. They are found in a wide variety of places like open fields, gardens, farms, and in and around homes and businesses. They are some of the most harmful and damaging rodents in the United States. In fact, several years ago Denver was named one of the Top 20 “Rattiest Cities” in the United States.
Larger than mice, rats are very destructive to both buildings and property. They eat human, pet, and livestock food. With their large front teeth they gnaw through building materials (even soft metals), furniture, and clothing. Rats are also able to climb and jump. They can gain access to your home or structures by swimming through sewers, broken drains and toilets, and can squeeze through very small openings relative to their size. Rats usually enter dwellings when the temperature drops. They are nocturnal so are most active beginning at dusk. It is important to be vigilant if you see rats on your property or near your dwelling because rats found on the outside will soon be rats found on the inside.
Rats are known to be health hazards carrying diseases that spread to humans and animals through their urine, droppings, and saliva. Some of the diseases they are associated with are: typhus, leptospirosis, food poisoning, and plague. They contaminate everything they touch.
There are many types of rats but the most common in our area are the Norway rat (also known as the brown or sewer rat) and the pack or wood rat. Both cut with their teeth so they can cause huge financial losses due to their destructive lifestyles.
Norway rats are on the stocky side and burrow along foundations, underneath debris, and woodpiles. They are also found around garden areas. When they invade homes they build nests in basement or ground level spaces and typically don’t travel far in their search of food. These rats like cereal grains, nuts, fruit, meats and fish but will eat a variety of things. Like all rats, they are rapid breeders and each female can birth 20 or more rats per year.
Packrats or wood rats look like giant hamsters with thick, round bodies. These rats get their nickname from gathering small shiny objects like jewelry and kitchen utensils. They prefer to feed on nuts, berries, insects, twigs, birds, seeds, and green vegetation – even small animals. Packrats/wood rats will build nests underneath porches, attics, sheds, and hard to reach areas like inside wall voids. Each female can birth up to 16 rats annually. These rats will gnaw on furniture, mattresses, bedding materials, fruit trees, and the like. When they move indoors they usually continue to feed outdoors.
What To Look For
- Damaged food containers (animal and human)
- Rat droppings around food storage containers or pet dishes
- Noises from the attic or sounds of scurrying behind walls
- Rat nests near firewood piles, behind boxes, inside your garage or shed
- Actual sightings of rats running along fences or utility lines
- Fur smudge marks against walls, beams, or pipes
- Burrows beneath debris
- Dead rat carcasses
- Gnaw marks on wooden areas (corners, doors, electrical wiring, and walls)
- A musky scent
- Rat tracks
- Debarked fruit trees
What To Do
Call the professionals @ My Pest Control: (303) 343-1701