The common Norway or brown rat typically has brownish fur on its back and grey underneath but its colour can vary from white through to black. Adult body length is 200 – 270mm plus a tail length of 150 – 200mm.
Where do they live?
Common rats live in any place that provides food, water and shelter. The common rat is the most widespread and is widely found in urban and rural areas. In homes they will live in loft spaces, wall cavities, cellars or under floorboards. In gardens, they will burrow into compost heaps and grassy banks or under sheds. They are also commonly found living in sewer systems.
Signs that you have a rat infestation include rat droppings, footprits or tail swipes, burrows, gnawing, nests, (which are sometimes found indoors) in lofts or under floorboards and runs – rats tend to follow the same routes when travelling and leave trails through grass and low vegetation.
What problems can they cause?
Rats can transmit many diseases to humans including Salmoella and Weils disease They also eat or contaminate food and can cause damage to buildings by gnawing and burrowing.
How can you control them?
Not only do rats breed quickly, but over time they have learnt to be adaptable, which makes controlling them very difficult for a non-professional.
There are some basic measures that can be taken, including:
- Removing the potential for nesting sites by keeping gardens clean and tidy and cutting back overgrown areas.
- Storing food materials in sealed containers and not leaving food waste accessible.
- Don’t put out too much food for birds and wild animals – you may find yourself feeding unwanted guests aswell.
- Finally, make sure your home or business is in good repair so rats can’t gain access.