Do you have a rat problem?
Rats are one of the most common mammals that we share our environment with here in the UK. We've been living with and dealing with rats ever since we began storing food around us. They benefit from the warmth, food and shelter that we inadvertently provide them.
Rats like to create nests wherever there is a cosy and undisturbed space. This can include lofts and eaves as well as under the floorboards and in cavity walls.
How to tell if you have rats or mice
The most obvious sign that you have a rat problem is if you see one. When you spot a solitary rat, it's likely there are more around.
But if you don't actually spot one, you can usually tell them from their droppings, which are dark brown/black and are slightly larger than a grain of rice. (Mouse droppings are quite a bit smaller and have pointy ends).
Rats establish well-used paths as they go about their business, and the brown mud-like stains change to smear marks along their route. Their fur left behind along with the horrid smell of rat is often a tell-tall sign that rats are parading around your property.
Rats also gnaw at many types of material, so toothmarks are a common sign of a rat problem too.
One way to tell if you have rats (or mice) is to sprinkle some fine flour around the area where you believe the rodents are coming and going. If you see tiny footprints, your suspicions may be confirmed.
Different types of rats
There are a huge number of rat species around the world and they live on all continents (except Antarctica). Since people began moving goods around the world in ships, rats have travelled alongside us and set up home throughout the country.
In the UK we have a few different types of rat. The most common is the Brown Rat (also known as Rattus norvegicus or the Norway Rat). Brown rats tend to live on the ground and burrow downwards. Its fur is a grey/brown colour. It's hard to mistake for a mouse as it is much larger. A rarer type of rat is the Black Rat (Rattus rattus). The Black Rat is also known as the Roof Rat or Ship Rat, due to its tendency to live near port areas.
What do rats eat?
Brown rats (the common type in the UK) eat a very wide range of things. It's fond of grains and cereals and will eat food scraps found around houses, restaurants, etc.
Why rats are a nuisance
Unfortunately, rats can cause a number of problems. In particular they are known to spread a large number of different diseases. As they travel from place to place, they carry with them bacteria, viruses, fleas, ticks, lice, and worms.
It's very rare to be bitten or scratched by a rat. They are naturally shy of humans and will tend to avoid direct contact where possible. But the diseases they carry can be spread to humans by contact with their faeces, urine, or saliva. Even sweeping up dust in an area infected by rats can spread diseases.
Another problem is pets such as cats and dogs. Should they eat or come into contact with a diseased rat, they are highly susceptible to catch worms.
Rats are gnawing rodents and their nest building instincts can cause problems.
How Pest Hunter can help
At Pest Hunter we provide a professional rat eradication service. Our trained and friendly operatives are highly skilled at detecting and eradicating rats. Pest Hunter is one of the foremost experts in rat control in the South East.
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