Brown rat (rattus norvegicus)
- Brown rats are between 19-28 cm in length plus their tail which is 60% of the body length and they weigh from 100 to 500 grammes
- The brown rat is widely distributed throughout the country
- The ship or black rat is mainly found around port areas, although may be transported inland with cargo. They are smaller than the brown rat and may have black or brown fur, hairless ears and a tail more than 100% of its body length
- The life expectancy of a wild rat is approx 10-14 months during which time a female can breed five to seven times with a litter between six and 12 each time. Breeding occurs all year and a breeding pair can have up to 800 young
- Brown rats are also known as common or sewer rats
- They tend to stay within a home range of about 15-30m although they can travel up to 1km if food is short. They are good climbers and swimmers.
How do you know if you have a rat infestation?
- You are likely to see a rat or its droppings (which are 12mm in length and tapered) though they are mainly active at night
- Rats need to gnaw even when not eating to keep their teeth sharp and worn so you may see gnaw marks or hear them
- They inhabit nests or burrows which are tunnels 7-12 cm wide which are often under tree roots or sheds and in compost heaps
- Rats leave runs as they tend to follow the same route when travelling. You can see these through grass and vegetation or food and tail prints in dust or mud.
What harm do rats do?
- Rats carry microbial infections. When they get into your home they can spread diseases such as salmonellosis and weils disease (known as leptospirosis) which is its thought about 30% of rats carry
- They will attack food sources, ruining cupboards of food through contamination and gnawing. About 5% of food worldwide is lost through rodent activity
- Gnawing can also destroy costly pipes and insulation, as well as creating a fire risk through damaged electrics.
How do you keep rats out?
Rats will live anywhere that provides food, shelter and water and can be found in sewer systems and gardens as well as lofts, wall cavities and under floorboards.
- Close all holes in exterior walls
- Ensure there are no openings more than 0.5 cm around doors and windows
- Install self closing devices on doors frequently used
- Beware of openings near the top of buildings - roof vents, eaves, attic vents etc
As they are highly adaptable and mobile, no property is completely safe from invasion but there are ways to help keep them out:
- Maintain a tidy garden, keeping possible shelter to rats to a minimum
- Keep compost heaps in good order, sheds secure and cut back overgrown areas
- Maintain your taps and pipes to reduce water in your garden. Check sewer covers are fitted tightly and in place
- Do not leave rubbish where rodents can get at it: use a secure shed or sealed bin
- Make sure food left for pets or animals (eg bird feeders) are unreachable by rats.
How do you get rid of rats?
- Removing food sources is an important part of successful rodent control. Rats eat on average one tenth of their body weight each day - 25 pounds of food per year
- If you suspect a rat infestation in your property, contact us on 01329 824399 so that we can arrange for a pest control officer to call
- The charges for pest control can be found on the Council's fees and charges.
- You can buy traps and bait commercially but should only use them as set out in the manufacturers' instructions, especially if you have children or pets.
What will the Pest Control Officer do?
- Pest control officers are trained to recognise signs of infestations and will advise you whether there is likely to be a nest nearby or if you have a 'rat run'
- After discussing the problem with you, he/she will often lay bait in a secure place
- After a few days, he/she will return to see if the rat has taken the bait
- If no bait has been taken, it may be removed if practicable
- If bait has been taken, more may be made if the officers thinks it necessary
- Once the problem has been resolved, he/she will return and collect spare bait
- If an officer cannot get access to the baited area they will leave a card with instructions on how to dispose of unused bait.
You can get more information at:
If you would like to discuss any issue or get advice on a particular pest control problem please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone us on 01329 236100.