House Rats 101: Identifying and Dealing with Rodent Infestations

January 29, 2024 5:29 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

pest control for house rats

Rats are one of the most common pests that can invade our homes, posing a threat to our health and property. However, not all rat species are the same. Different rat species may require different methods of identification and elimination. This blog post will provide you with a comprehensive guide to identifying and dealing with rodent infestations. Whether you are dealing with Norway rats, roof rats, or any other rat species, understanding their behavior and habits will help you take effective measures to eliminate them from your home.

Identifying Rat Infestations

Recognizing the signs of a rat infestation is crucial in taking prompt action. Here are some key indicators to look for when identifying rat infestations:


One of the most evident signs of rat activity is the presence of their droppings. Rat droppings are typically dark brown or black, with pointed ends, and are commonly found near food sources, nesting areas, or along their established routes.

Gnawing Marks

Rats have constantly growing incisors, so they need to gnaw on various objects to keep them at a manageable length. Look for bite marks on wooden surfaces, wires, pipes, or food containers. Fresh gnaw marks may appear light in color and become darker with time.

Nesting Sites

Rats create nests in hidden areas to raise their young. Look for nests in attics, basements, under floorboards, or in dark corners. They construct nests using shredded paper, fabric, insulation material, or other soft materials they find in your home.

Tracks and Runways

Rats follow the same path repeatedly when searching for food, creating well-defined tracks and runways. Look for greasy marks along walls, floorboards, or dust-free pathways with footprints or tail marks.

Different Rat Species

Understanding the behavior and habits of different rat species can help you identify which type of infestation you may be dealing with. Below are two common rat species found in many homes:

Norway Rats (Rattus norvegicus)

Norway rats, also known as brown rats, are large in size, measuring around 7-9 inches (18-23 cm) in length, excluding their tails. They have a stocky build, blunt noses, and small ears compared to their body size. Norway rats tend to burrow in the ground, commonly found in basements, sewers, or crawl spaces.

Roof Rats (Rattus rattus)

Roof rats, also known as black rats, are smaller in size than Norway rats, measuring around 6-8 inches (16-20 cm) in length, excluding their tails. They have slender bodies, pointed snouts, large ears, and long tails. Roof rats are agile climbers who live in higher areas such as attics, rafters, or trees.

Dealing with Rat Infestations


Preventing a rat infestation is always better than dealing with one. Take the following preventive measures to keep rats away:

  • Seal Entry Points: Inspect your home for any cracks, holes, or gaps that rats can use to enter. Seal these entry points with caulk, metal mesh, or other suitable materials.
  • Maintain Cleanliness: Keep your home and surroundings clean by regularly removing food leftovers, storing food in airtight containers, and promptly disposing of garbage.
  • Trim Vegetation: Trim tree branches and shrubs away from your house, reducing access points to your roof and attics.


If you suspect a rat infestation, traps can be an effective method of control. Different types of traps include snap, glue, live, and electronic traps. Place the traps near areas with signs of rat activity, using attractants such as food or nesting materials. Check the traps regularly and dispose of captured rats safely.


If trapping alone doesn’t solve the problem, rodenticides may be necessary. Be cautious when using rodenticides, as they can pose a risk to children, pets, and non-target animals. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and consult a professional pest control service.

Professional Pest Control

When dealing with a persistent or extensive rat infestation, it is recommended to seek the assistance of a professional pest control service. Trained technicians have the knowledge, experience, and tools to effectively identify and eliminate rat infestations while ensuring the safety and well-being of your home.

Contact Us Today

Rats are formidable pests that can damage our properties and compromise our health. By identifying the signs of rat infestations and understanding the behavior of different rat species, we can take appropriate measures to eliminate these unwanted guests from our homes. Remember, prevention is key, and regular maintenance can help deter any future infestations. However, if you find yourself overwhelmed by a rat problem, do not hesitate to contact a professional pest control service like us at Pied Piper Pest Control. With our years of experience and commitment to customer satisfaction, we will ensure your home is free from rats and other pests.

Remember, for all your pest control needs, contact Pied Piper Pest Control, Alaska’s premier pest control and pest removal service since 1965! As a locally owned and operated small business, we prioritize our clients’ needs and comforts, providing effective solutions to all types of infestations. Contact us to learn more about our services and schedule an appointment. Don’t let rodents take over your home – take action today!

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This post was written by Ken Perry

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