How Do You Know Whether You Have Rats and / or Rodents?
If you have a serious rat, mouse or rodent infestation, chances are, you’ll see them — dead or alive. Or you may hear them at night running around in the ceiling or scratching up and down walls. If you don’t see them, then you’ll see their droppings.
If you suspect that you have rodents, look for nesting in your attic, along with gnaw marks and damaged boxes and items. If you’re suddenly having electrical issues, they may have been caused by rats chewing through wires.
Rats–Especially Roof Rats — Are Very Common in Houston
Also known as the black rat or ship rat, the roof rat is smaller than the Norway rat, but both are common in the Houston area. They’re called roof rats because they like to set up shelter in the higher parts of buildings. There, they can cause tremendous damage by gnawing through wood, wires and anything else that they decide to snack on.
Roof rats are typically thin and long, with beady eyes and pointy ears and nose. Besides their ugly, scaly tail, their fur is brownish with black spots and soft and smooth to the touch (but don’t touch them!).
From head to body, they’re about 6 to 8 inches long, but their tail can double that length. An adult rat can weigh up to 12 ounces, maybe more if you leave the Ding Dongs out every night.
While roof rats came from Southeast Asia, they have adapted nicely to our tropical climate here in Houston, Bellaire and Katy.
Roof rat colonies are like bands of nighttime invaders who wait until the cool weather sets in, then they pounce. Nocturnal by nature, they travel in bands of up to 10 rodents and will return to a food source over and over again, wearing a path from their nest to the food.
It won’t help to move food to high places, because roof rats can climb, which is why they typically nest in the higher areas of buildings like attics, crawl spaces and rafters.
What Do Rats Eat?
Quite simply, rats will eat anything pretty much at any time. They like the dawn and dusk hours, but have been known to forage at night or during daylight hours.
They do prefer fruits, nuts and seeds if they’re in season. But they also like slugs and snails, not to mention insects like cockroaches. If you have a cockroach issue, it’s safe to say that a rat problem may not be too far behind.
Rats that live near water feed on fish, shellfish and other sea creatures. In a way, they’re a lot like squirrels in that they will store their food and eat it while they hide away.
Where Do Rats Live?
Besides attics and crawl spaces, but don’t be surprised to find them in and around lower parts of buildings in woodpiles, under homes or in attached sheds. If your landscaping is full and lush with heavy shrubbery and/or dense vegetation and fruit trees, chances are, roof rats will be living in and around your yard.
How Do Rats Get Into Your Home?
It’s hard to keep rats out of your home because they can come through any hole at least the size of a nickel. They’ll follow pipes into your home and chew through aluminum siding, wood and drywall.
The good news is that rats have a lifespan of only one year. The bad news is they will leave behind up to 40 offspring while they’re alive.
What do you do if you suspect that you have a rodent infestation?
If you suspect that you have roof rats or any other rodent infestation, call us and let us help you get rid of them. We can set up traps and a long-term extermination plan and let everyone in your family sleep better at night.
Our rodent exclusion includes:
- Sealing the large openings with hardware cloth and copper mesh.
- Sealing all open areas where rodents can enter with black expanding foam.
- Setting rodent traps and monitoring them.
- An optional 1-year warranty.