In order to correctly treat any home for a rat infestation, it is crucial to identify the species of rat that has infiltrated the property.
Ehrlich Pest Control technicians have received training to correctly identity rodent species, including different species of rats.
Contact Ehrlich Pest Control at for further advice on identifying rats and other pests, or to arrange a free pest inspection.
In most regions of North America, Norway rats (also known as brown rats or sewer rats) are the most common rat species that infiltrate properties. Norway rats prefer to nest around lower floors of a building. However, if there is a larger population, or an area allows, they can live in attics, above ceilings, or upper floors.
Their nests may be found in wall voids, underneath floors, crawl spaces, and even furniture. Nests are mostly built using soft materials such as paper, cloth, leaves, grass, etc.
The Roof rat (also commonly referred to as black rat or ship rat) is appropriately named because they often live in “roof” areas of houses or structures.
They have the ability to climb and will use various methods to travel through a neighborhood – overhead utility lines or fences. Roof rats will forage in groups as large as 10 rats and will be attracted to any available food near buildings.
As is the case with Norway rats, roof rats are known to spread diseases such as Salmonella and Weil’s Disease via their urine and droppings.
You may find these rats nesting in your trees, bushes, or even in the attic of your home.
There are several ways to determine if you have a Roof rat or Norway rat on or in your property. Since both rats are typically shy in nature, it may be difficult to get a good look at them. However, their physical appearances are different.
The main characteristic used to differentiate a roof rat from a Norway rat is the length of the tail. If stretched over the back of the Norway rat, its tail will just reach the ears. In roof rats, the stretched tail will extend beyond the nose.
Roof rats also have larger ears and a pointier nose than Norway rats. However, the two species need to be compared side by side to see those two characteristics.
Roof Rats are sleek in appearance. They have pointed snouts, large prominent eyes, and are typically gray to black in color.
The Norway Rat is thicker in body size, have blunted snouts, small eyes, and are brown in color.
Another way to help you identify if you have a roof rat or brown rat is to locate their nests.
For advice on how to prevent rat infestations in your home or to set up a free pest inspection, give Ehrlich a call at (888) 976-4649.
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