- Where they are found
- Spread of disease
- Structural damage
- Control of rats
- Signs of a rat problem
- Cost of treatment
The brown rat weighs between 350 and 500 grams and is typically between 200 and 270 mm long. Its fur can be various colours from almost black through to white, however they are most commonly grey/brown. The tail is shorter than the combined length of the head and body. The ears and eyes are small relative to the length of the body.
The brown rat is widely distributed throughout both rural and urban areas and will rapidly colonise areas that offer both shelter and food. Rats are particularly prevalent within the sewer systems of urban areas, and it is thought that a large proportion of the overland rat population originates from the sewers.
Rats are active burrowers, digging holes which extend far into the ground, sometimes in a complicated tunnel system with numerous openings. The burrows are multifunctional, serving as a place to rear young, to rest during the daytime (rats are typically nocturnal) and to escape from predators.
It is often the presence of holes in the ground (rodent workings) that provide the first indications that there is an active rodent infestation within an area.
Rats are associated with the transmission of several diseases, Weil’s disease and salmonellosis in particular. Disease transmission occurs largely due to the close association between rats and human settlements. It is important to realise that in the absence of direct contact between humans and rats disease transmission is unlikely to occur. Therefore an active rodent infestation in a garden poses little risk to human health.
Gnawing is part of the natural behaviour of rats, and may lead to significant damage to electrical cables, wooden fittings and lead pipes. Furthermore as a result of their burrowing rats may undermine foundations and cause damage to drainage systems.
It is widely believed that the rat population is increasing although there is no evidence to substantiate this. However it is important to realise that urban areas provide an ideal environment for rats providing both shelter and food.
Therefore it is extremely important to ensure that all refuse is disposed of carefully. This particularly applies to foodstuffs although a pile of discarded timber or an unwanted piece of furniture can provide shelter for a colony of rats.
The eradication of an active rodent infestation is not difficult to achieve using widely available second generation rodenticides.
Contact us if you see any rat activity in the borough - please record the exact location of where you spotted the rats.
Rats are nocturnal and usually hide from humans, so the typical signs of a rat problem in the home are:
- Scratching noises - in walls or under the floor as rats scurry around
- Droppings - rats leave dark, tapered droppings about 10-14mm long
- Distinctive smell - rats leave an ammonia-like smell that will be particularly strong in enclosed areas such as under cupboards
- Damage - rats have teeth that grow continuously and gnaw on wood and plastic to keep them trim. Rats can even cause fires by chewing through cables
- Ripped food packaging - rats will tear open food which may leave teeth marks
- Nests - rats build nests in warm, hidden places using shredded material such as newspaper and fabrics. Nests will often contain young rats
- Burrows - In gardens, rats will dig burrows especially in compost heaps or under sheds. They will also build nests under garden decking
A full list of charges can be found in our Pest Control Charges page.
We are here to help and advise so if you are unsure about a pest problem or wish to arrange a treatment, please contact us. Unfortunately, we are unable to arrange a course of treatment via email.
All information in regards to the treatment will be kept confidential.
- Monday - Friday 9am to 5pm
- Tel 020 8489 1335
Pest Control Team
Level 1 North - River Park House
225 High Road
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