When you think about mice, your stomach probably doesn’t turn over, and your skin may not crawl. You might even think about Mickey Mouse and his friends. But when you think about rats, it’s a whole different story. Harry Potter fans might see the sickening form of Peter Pettigrew, while fans of The Princess Bride might envision the ROUSes (rodents of unusual size) that stalk the woods. One thing is certain, an actual rat in your house definitely doesn’t send your mind to the enjoyable Ratatouille film.
Interestingly, you hardly ever have both a mouse problem and a rat problem, as mice tend to avoid rats. While the possibility of a mice infestation is a threat to your home and its occupants, rats are a far larger problem, and not just because of their larger size. It’s important to be able to identify whether you have a mouse infestation or a rat problem so that you can get to work on solving it.
The Rats of Plano
While there are dozens of species of rats, plenty of which reside in Texas, only Polynesian rats, roof rats, and Norway rats cause issues inside homes. While rats are much larger than mice, usually 3 to 6 inches long (not including the tail), there is another troubling difference between mice and rats: their intelligence. While mice are easily captured, tricked, or scared away, rats are much more cunning, and, therefore, much more difficult to get rid of.
Polynesian Rats feature black or brown hair, rounded ears, and pale feet that are small in relation to the body. They are usually under the 6-inch mark from nose to tail.
Roof rats can be identified by their long, thin bodies and smooth brown fur. They have a few spots of black with typically white or grey underbellies. These bigger rodents are 6 to 8 inches long from nose to tail.
Norway Rats are the biggest of the three, typically measuring 7 to 9.5 inches long. They are also brown with gray and white underbellies but usually have a bulkier body-type than the skinnier roof rat.
Unfortunately, both mice and rats are skittish around humans, so it’s usually hard to get a full view of one. The easiest way to know if you’ve got a mouse or rat infestation is by analyzing the droppings. Mice have very small droppings, like dark grains of rice. On the other hand (regardless of what kind of rat it is), rat droppings are larger, thicker, and darker. These droppings are usually the length of your pinky fingernail. Rats also produce fewer droppings than mice, so you won’t see as many around the home.
Another sure sign of a rat infestation is the oily marks they leave along your baseboards and walls. The much smaller mice species will not leave these marks as noticeably.
Three Major Issues
A rat infestation in your home is a tri-fold reason for concern. These large rodents are a danger to the structure of your home as they can chew through electrical wiring, walls, and insulation. Damage from rats can cause hundreds or even thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs in your Texas home. More concerningly, rats and their feces are well-known carriers of diseases and parasites. Since rats are more intelligent and aggressive than mice, they are far more likely to spread these health issues to you, your family, and your living areas. Finally, these issues are compounded by the reproduction rate of rats. Adult rats (which can reproduce every four months) will produce up to 20 offspring per litter, so if you get a few of these in your house, they can turn to a large family very quickly.
Due to the high intelligence of rats and their quick rate of reproduction, home remedies like snap traps and poison are often ineffective. A small rat problem is likely to get serious very quickly without professional attention. Fortunately, All-Safe Pest & Termite Control has been keeping Plano homes safe from rats for years and offers guaranteed customer satisfaction. Don’t put your health and home at risk; call the professionals before it’s too late.