Size: The Norway Rat is among the larger rodents. They may grow to lengths of 10 to 12 inches and usually don't exceed a weight of 1 pound.
Color: Varies between gray, black and brown.
Norway rats, found throughout the U.S., have a heavier body, smaller eyes and ears, and a shorter tail. Rats are more prevalent in urban and rural areas, and are found in homes less often than mice because of their larger size.
Few people really like rats or mice, and no one wants them in their house. Rodents live everywhere outside and could enter at any time, but fortunately, this does not occur often. Usually, most home invasions occur in the fall, not because of cooler weather, but because the seeds and plants on which rodents feed outside are gone. Rats and mice must then seek new food sources. Unfortunately, one of these sources may be your home. Rats are excellent climbers and are capable of gaining entry through holes around soffit vents and around cables entering the building, through holes in gable vent screens, and through turbine and box vents on roofs. Many garage doors on homes allow enough space for rats to fit underneath, as well.
Outside, rats live in fields, wooded areas, vacant lots, farms, and just about anywhere people have buildings. Rats are seldom a problem in homes except in urban and rural areas. This is due in large part to their size, since rats need a hole about the size of a quarter in order to gain entry into a building. Rats however, may find harborage in many areas around the home - especially in stacked firewood, stones and bricks, and piles of leaves or other debris.
Tips for Control
The best way to avoid invasions of rats is to (1) provide as little harborage as possible that might attract rodents, and (2) seal as many holes and cracks in the outside of the home as possible through which rats might enter. The following recommendations should be followed to help prevent rats from seeking the food and shelter provided by your home:
- Keep firewood stored as far from the home as possible and store it off the ground. During the winter, store only enough wood next to the house to burn every couple of days.
- If possible, remove any piles of debris, stones, bricks, etc. If these are near the foundation of the home they serve as harborages to attract rodents. Once there, it is any easy step for rodents to enter the building itself.
- Seal any hole or crack larger than one-fourth of an inch. A good rule of thumb is that if a pencil can fit into it, a mouse could too. Large holes or cracks should be stuffed with steel wool or wire mesh before sealing with caulk or foam, otherwise rodents could chew through to enter.
- Install a good thick weather stripping on the bottom of all doors to prevent rodents from entering. The garage door may prove difficult to seal completely, so the door from the garage to the house must be sealed tightly.
- Call Your The Bugs Stop Here Inc. service professional for more information on rat control.