The Norway rat is the most common rat found all across the U.S. Many people have heard of the Norway rat, but often by a different name. It is also known as the sewer rat and the brown rat. So yes the infamous sewer rat that is very disgusting and that no one ever wants to see in person is the same thing as the Norway rat, which doesn’t sound as gross – other than the fact that it’s still a rat. Since it is the most common rat and its most commonly known as the sewer rat that’s how we are going to refer to this disgusting creature. Like many other household pests the sewer rat is something to be taken seriously, if you discover there are sewer rats in your home it is best to call a local pest control service for professional help. The sewer rat carries diseases like other rats so the safest thing to do is have a professional remove them from your home.
There are a few things that homeowners will notice if sewer rats are in their home. For one they will leave droppings behind. These droppings can transmit the diseases they carry, so again it is best to call a professional for help. Urine from sewer rats is also a way to discover they are in your home, often one will find dried up urine stains, but may also find fresh urine. The traces of urine can be seen with ultraviolet lights if need be. Other signs of sewer rats are gnaw and smudge marks that can be left behind on a number of household items. Gnaw marks are usually found on boxes, corners of walls and other surfaces as sewer rats have very strong teeth and can bit through anything from a cardboard box to wires. Smudge marks are usually left on pipes, beams and rafters as the sewer rats make their way through spaces in your home smudging the dirt on their bodies onto fixtures they cross. Also if you notice any burrows made under or near your home or vegetation in your yard there may be some sewer rats on your property. If you notice any of these signs of sewer rats call your local pest control service right away.
Sometimes people may not notice the above signs; rather they will actually see a sewer rat in their home. Sewer rats are often confused with roof rats, but they actually look different. The best way to determine the difference between a sewer rat and a roof rat is by the length of their tails. The tail of the sewer rat is shorter than its body and the tail of the roof rat is longer than its body. The sewer rats are tones of brown in color with coarse fur, and their underside is lighter in color sometimes a gray to yellowish white tone. Their ears and tails are actually covered in scales, not fur. They have small ears and small eyes; even though their ears are small they have really good hearing. They also have excellent sense of smell which helps them navigate through areas, sometimes even better than using their sense of hearing, to help them. On a different note they have horrible eyesight and are colorblind, hence why their other senses are so beneficial to them. They can be plump looking and can weigh around 12 ounces. Their bodies average about 10 inches long, and then their tails are usually shorter than that, making their full length from nose to tail an average of 18 inches.
If there are sewer rats in your home you need to be extra cautious as these rats can easily contaminate your home with the diseases they carry. They are nocturnal so at night they come out to look for food and water. While looking for food and water they can be scurrying across your floors and counter tops leaving behind feces and germs. They also will invade pantries in search of food and eat through the boxes just to get to the food inside of the box. Finding food containers with holes or gnaw marks are definite signs that you may have rats in your home. These rats will eat just about anything, but they love to eat cereal. It is best to keep your cereal in a plastic container with a lid, if you leave it in the boxes the sewer rats can chew right through the cardboard contaminating your cereal. Since they do eat just about anything it is always smart to not leave any food out, that is a welcome call for them to come and get it. Bowls of fruits left on the counter are not a good idea. Even if the sewer rats were to decide not to eat it they could walk on it and contaminate it with out your knowing. Another food source they can contaminate without your knowledge is dog or cat food. If the pet food is in a bag the rats can eat right through it and contaminate the food. The safest thing to do is to keep the food in a plastic container with a lid, just like the cereal. This way you are not risking your pet’s health. Keeping food on higher shelves may sound like a good idea to keep these sewer rats away, but they will actually climb in order to find food and or shelter.
Another item sewer rats are always in search of is water, because they can not survive long with out it. They also do not like to travel far in order to get their water, so they will look for the closest place possible to find water. A good way to cut them from any water is to keep your toilet seats down this way they can not get into the toilet for water, also sewer rats are swimmers so they are not afraid of jumping into a toilet for some water. Sometimes this can be how sewer rats get into your home, by coming up through the pipes and entering through the toilets.
Having sewer rats coming in through the toilets is a scary thought! An even scarier thought is that these rats can get into a home from an opening as small as a quarter. Most rats can actually do this, which is why it is so important to make sure there are no openings into your home. If sewer rats aren’t already in your home and there is an opening somewhere then they will get in, especially if they are looking for food and water.
Most sewer rats live near people, inside a house they can be found in a cellar, basement, or attic. Outside a house they can be found in burrows under or near the house. Sewer rats can be found from the city to the suburbs to the country side, as long as it’s a location where people live sewer rats will make it a home. No matter what they always need to be within 300 feet of a food and water supply. If they get in your home they will make a nest for themselves. These nests can be found in crawl spaces, attics and basements. The location of their nest can vary, just so as long as there is a way into the home for them to get food and water. Although the most popular place for sewer rats to find shelter is by making a burrow under a house, storage shed, or building and so on. When sewer rats dig their burrow tunnels underneath the ground they like to have something above it, like a house or shed. Sewer rats can dig up to three feet straight into the ground. Again even though these rats may not always build a nest inside your house they will still try to get in for food and water. If you see any signs of burrows under your house or anywhere on your property call your local pest control service out to help you better detect for the sewer rats, and then get rid of any rats that are found.
No matter where sewer rats may be living they are always looking for a place where people are because they know if there are people near then there should be food and water close by too. So make sure to keep a clean house and don’t leave any food out, otherwise you’ll be attracting sewer rats right into your house.
Picture courtesy of www.creativecommons.org.