Do I have a rat infestation?
This is one of the first questions homeowners ask themselves after they spot a rat. Whether or not you have an infestation depends on a number of factors. If there’s just been a heavy rain and you haven’t spotted a rat before, it may be a single intruder. If you notice symptoms of an infestation and multiple signs, there may be more than one. Rats also breed very quickly. A pair of rats can produce as many as 2,000 descendants in a single year. They are also much more clever than your average mouse. The best way to determine if you have a problem? Call an exterminator from Anteater Exterminating Inc..
Signs of a rat problem.
There are some simple ways to identify whether you have a rat or a mouse problem. Rats have behaviors that mice don’t and leave some key clue differences behind.
- What do rat droppings look like? These are much larger than mouse droppings and may be 1/2 to a 3/4 inches in length. They will be brown or dark colored and elongated like a grain of rice. Unlike mice droppings, Norway rat feces ends may be rounded or blunt instead of pointed. Roof rats feces averages 1/2 inch and has pointed ends.
- Look for oily rub marks. Wild rats are oily and greasy. They travel on familiar routes, and that makes it easy to identify areas they frequently rub against. A rubbed area is grayed and stained with dirt and grease. This happens on walls, boards, and even items.
- You find live or dead rats. The most obvious symptom is visual proof. Rats are easy to distinguish from mice. They are much larger and have longer tails and more pointed faces. If you see a live rat or find fresh dead ones (not mummified), your home is likely infested.
- Scratching and scuffling noises. One of the biggest problem rat species in Arizona is the black rat. They are great at climbing, earning them the nickname “roof rat.” If you hear scuffling noises in the rafters look upwards. You may spot a rat running from one location to the next.
- What do rats use to make nests? Rats nest nearly anywhere. Indoor rats like attics, eaves, and lofts. They will collect soft materials to make a nest out of. Pillow fluff, thread, cloth, toilet paper, and cardboard are all fair game.
Where do roof rats nest?
- Attics and ceilings
- Storage sheds
- Beneath outdoor wall awnings
- Trees (Including palm trees)
- Roof line voids
- Areas of dense vegetation
How do I rat-proof my house?
The first step to take is to follow our mouse proofing instructions. There are additional steps required to prevent roof rats though.
- Trim away any outdoor vines on walls. If you have a wall or rockery outdoors with vines growing on it, remove them. This removes the cover that rats use for nesting. Without the dense foliage, a wall or rockery makes a much less appealing nesting site.
- Trim tree branches that are near or touching the roof. Rats want easy access to the areas they frequent most. If your roof helps them get indoors to a food supply or safe space, they will use it. A nearby tree or bush that is tall enough to reach the roof provides a perfect pathway for foraging.
What diseases do rats carry?
While rats are known for spreading the plague, they carry a wide range of other diseases as well. Even their feces carries dangerous pathogens, so do not clean up rat feces and urine without proper protection. Wear a respirator if you work in a dusty or enclosed environment. This can prevent airborne pathogens from entering the lungs.
Diseases transmitted by a flea.
- Murine Typhus – Much like the plague, this disease is carried by the fleas that live on rats. It is more common in summer months. It is caused by the Rickettsia bacteria. Symptoms include rashes and neurological signs like seizures, confusion, and stupor. It also includes fever-like symptoms like a headache, nausea, and muscle pain.
Diseases transmitted by a bite.
- Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome – The hantavirus is transmitted by contact with droppings, saliva, or urine. That means you can get it just by cleaning up after an infestation. It can be deadly. Symptoms are similar to that of the flu including dizziness, headaches, fevers, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
Diseases transmitted by excrement.
- Leptospirosis – AKA Weil’s disease, this bacteria is carried by rats. They may not show any signs and humans that come into contact with rat feces or urine may become infected. Symptoms vary. The disease may be fatal in some cases while other show very few signs of contraction. Symptoms include vomiting, rash, fever, muscle aches, and headache.
- Eosinophilic Meningitis – This is caused by a rat lungworm, and can be spread by direct contact with an afflicted rat. It causes a brain infection and an increase in the count of white blood cells.
Why do I need professional rat control and extermination?
Rats are prolific breeders. You don’t want an infestation to get out of hand. They spread many diseases by waste products. Because rats leave trails of urine to follow, these contaminants are tracked all over a home. Our exterminators can stop your rat infestation and restore your home. Don’t wait until you get sick. Call us today.