During the winter months, lots of homeowners in North Carolina will see scurrying rodents around their home whether it’s in the crawlspace, garage, or inside the home. Many of these homeowners will immediately believe they have a rat infestation, but will most likely just become a mouse issue. But what happens if a home does have rats? Rats are a pest not only because of the noise they make or the large numbers, but because they can spread terrible diseases. Regardless of how big the issue is, rats are a nuisance that should be identified and treated as soon as possible.

There are two types of rats found in North Carolina: the Norway rat and the roof rat. Both species reproduce at an incredible rate and are both known to infest homes. They are both nocturnal, so scurrying or squeaking can be heard usually at dawn and dusk, but if this noise can be heard during the day, this may be a sign of a large infestation.

There are many ways to tell which type of rat is found around a home. Norway rats and roof rats are both large, measuring anywhere from 7-15 inches. Norway rats reproduce at a larger rate with 8-12 pups being born an average of 5 times per year. Roof rats reproduce at the same rate, but the female will only produce about 5-8 pups. If you think you may have rats and you are trying to find out which type, try to see what they are eating. Norway rats eat any discarded food including all types of meats while roof rats eat seeds, nuts, vegetables, and fruits. 

If rats do end up in your food supply, be wary of the diseases they can carry through their saliva, urine, and feces. They can carry “murine typhus, leptospirosis, trichinosis, salmonellosis (food poisoning), rat-bite fever, and plague (more common from roof rats than Norway rats)” (pests.org). These could be very harmful, so if you find rats around your home, it is time to call a pest control professional.

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How to get rid of Rats: Updated for 2020. (2020, January 17). Retrieved March 04, 2021, from https://www.pests.org/get-rid-of-rats/