What types of rats are in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi?

Like mice, rats are rodents. They have front incisors that continuously grow. Rats can be challenging pests for both home and business owners to deal with. Rats thrive in a variety of our area locations including suburban, urban, and rural areas. Rats are dangerous pests. They contaminate food, damage structures,  and transmit diseases and parasites.

norway rat outside in a west hattiesburg mississippi yard

Norway rats

Norway rats have heavy, dense bodies that are covered in shaggy brown or gray fur. Their underbellies are lighter in color, and are usually light gray or white. Norway rats have blunt noses, small round ears, and bulging, small black eyes. Their bodies grow to about 9 ½ inches in length, and their bi-colored tails add another 6 to 8 inches to their total length.

roof rat on top of a roof of a covington louisiana home

Roof rats

Roof rats have thin, light bodies. Their bodies are covered in dark brown or black fur, with gray hairs sprinkled throughout, and their underbellies are lighter in color. Their bodies grow to between 6 and 8 inches in length, and their long, scaly tails add 6 to 8 more inches to their total body length. Roof rats have pointed noses, large ears, and large, dark-colored eyes.

How do rats gain access?

Roof rats have light bodies, which means they are great climbers. Therefore, they often gain access to homes and other buildings through roofs and attics. Roof rats typically gain access to the exterior of homes by climbing trees and using their branches as a bridge.

Norway rats have heavy bodies, and they are not great climbers. As a result, they enter homes at the ground level. They find their way inside through spaces found underneath exterior doors, through open doors, or through gaps in a home's foundation.

Where do rats hide?

Roof rats usually live and nest above ground in shrubs, trees, and dense vegetation. In buildings, they are most often found nesting and hiding out in attics, walls, false ceilings, and cabinets. Norway rats create nesting burrows outside along building foundations, beneath wood piles or piles of debris, in gardens, and in fields. In buildings, they prefer to stay in basements or on ground floors.

What are the signs of rats?

To determine if rats are nesting or breeding on your property, be on the lookout for the following signs:

■      Finding tapered rat droppings in cabinets, basements, attics, and other areas of your home.

■      Discovering grease marks on walls that their bodies leave behind as they travel throughout your home.

■      Finding insulation, cardboard, fabric, and other materials shredded throughout your home. These items are left behind after rats have gathered materials to create their nests.

■      Hearing running or thumping sounds behind walls and above ceilings.

■      Discovering gnaw marks on food packaging, walls, flooring, books, or other objects in your home.

Can I get rid of rats myself?

Rats are invasive. They can be damaging to the structure of your home, and may be dangerous for you and your family to be around. We strongly encourage you to call a professional as soon as you suspect that you may have a rat infestation. Call us at Havard Pest Control to take advantage of our 70 years of pest control experience.

Rat Prevention Tips

There are a few things you can do to try and keep rats from getting into your home:

■      Inspect the exterior of your home and seal any openings in the exterior walls or the foundation of your home.

■      Trim tree limbs, shrubs, and bushes away from the exterior walls of your home.

■      Make sure that all outdoor trash cans have tight-fitting lids on them.

■      Place garden areas, wood piles, and compost piles a distance away from the exterior of your home.

■      Remove piles of debris from your property.

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