Expert Contributor - Scott Dideon

It is crazy, but the answer is … No!

This is probably the most common misconception that we have when we are first called out to service our clients. Most  people seem to understand that mice and rats are different in at least their size, but it is important to note that the  species of every rodent is significant in their behavior and how to finally get control of them.

Compare Norway Rat to Roof Rat

In the Puget Sound area, we have two different rat species, the Norway Rat (species name is Rattus norvegicus) and the  Roof Rat (species name is Rattus rattus). Up until about 20 years ago the more common rat would have been the  Norway Rat. But over the past two decades the roof rat population has exploded in the Seattle area and they continue  to spread further out into smaller communities and greenspaces. Below is a breakdown of the differences between  these two rodents:

Rat Body Shape and Behavior 

Norway Rats are large, love burrowing and typically feed off human garbage. They are big, mean and will fight with each  other and other animals. They have small, squinted eyes, blunt noses, and small ears, making it easier for them to  burrow in the soil and defend themselves when fighting. Norway rats are the typical “city rat”.

While Roof Rats can get almost as big as a Norway rat, they are usually a little smaller. They love climbing vegetation  while using their long tail and prefer to feed off natural foods like seeds, nuts, and fruits. They reproduce quickly and  are not aggressive, often foraging for food in the neighborhood as family units. Their eyes and ears are big allowing  them to be more alert to natural predators while running along a fence line or climbing trees.

Rat Damage to a Home 

Even though Norway Rats are larger and aggressive, surprisingly they do not do that much damage to a crawlspace if  they find a way in. Norway rats tend to stay isolated in the sewer systems or outside in the yard near chicken coops and  garbage. If they get inside a crawlspace they just stay on the ground or on the vapor barrier.

In about two years roof rats can completely destroy a crawlspace because they will naturally climb up into the insulation  under the flooring and nest in it. As sections of insulation are contaminated and fall down, the roof rats just move over  to a new area and create another nest. Because they naturally love to climb, they will also easily move into the attic  insulation and walls causing more damage to the home.

Rat Treatment Strategies 

With Norway Rats our focus is on treating the burrows where they live, closing up the holes, and using rodent bait  stations to keep the population down. When foundation gaps are used by the rats then we focus on trenching,  screening, and using concrete because of their aggressive burrowing.

In order to protect the home from Roof Rats we want to be sure to address any hidden entry points that they could use  to access the crawlspaces and attics. Often this can require removing contaminated insulation and debris and then  sealing up entry points to prevent them from coming back in. Rodent bait stations around a home are a critical part of  managing the rodents because over time they eventually get creative and find or create a new way in.

Regardless of the pest issues that you might have, at Green City Pest Control our goal is to develop a plan to resolve any  issues and protect your home through understanding the behavior and biology of the individual rodents.

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You can contact our office at 425-413-9700
to ask any questions about how to prevent these little critters