The most common rats in Texas are Norway and Roof rats. These durable rodents can survive situations that normally kill other animals. Being flushed down the toilet or falling from three-story buildings is no obstacle. 

The prevalence of the Norway and Roof rats make them a problem regarding the contamination of food preparation surfaces, food items, dishes, and other areas that need to be kept clean. As rats crawl over these surfaces, they spread dangerous diseases like leptospirosis and hantavirus. Keep reading to learn more about these pests, and what to do about them.

Norway Rat 

brown rat isolated on white background

Norway rats, also called brown rats, are common rats that make their homes just about anywhere. They’ll nest in forests, fields, sewers, and buildings but prefer burrowing in the ground. These rodents can survive on a wide range of food and can eat just about anything. 

You can distinguish Norway rats by their short and dense fur that covers their bodies. Most are gray or brown, but they may also be black. 

Norway rats usually measure about 16 inches long, including the tail. They weigh between half a pound and a full pound. 

Roof Rat 

A black rat isolated against a white background

Roof rats, also called black rats, look similar to Norway rats, making it hard to tell the two species apart. The easiest way to tell the difference is from the rats’ size. Roof rats weigh about half what a Norway rat does. As a result, they look much thinner. Also, roof rats have shorter ears than Norway rats and a tail that is longer than its body. 

Roof rats prefer warmer climates which is why they are so common in Texas. These rats often live and nest in shrubs, trees, and dense vegetation. Inside homes, they prefer to climb to high-up places like attics, roofs, and cabinets. 

Finally, despite being called black rats, roof rats are often brown with a white underside.

Signs of Rats in Austin, TX

  • Rat burrows: Rats burrow to get into homes, so look for holes in the ground outside. 
  • Rat excrement: Rat droppings are about ½ to ¾ inches long and look like thin pellets. You’ll most likely see them in cabinets, drawers, and under sinks. They prefer to travel through hidden places, so they aren’t spotted. 
  • Rat gnaw marks: Rats gnaw through many different substances and leave behind jagged marks where their teeth have chewed away at items. Check electrical wiring, baseboards, wooden doors, food packaging, and other household items. 
  • Rat grease smears: Rats prefer to travel along walls. As they move, they leave greasy smears from their coats. 

Secondary Pests from Rats

Because of their feeding and nesting habits, rats often have other parasites that they can bring into your home. If you have rats, you may also get an infestation of fleas, mites, ticks, and other parasites in your home. These insects can carry Lyme disease and Colorado tick fever, which the rodents can pass on to the people and pets who live in the house. 

Rat Prevention Tips

A rat in a metal live trap

Rodent infestations can be challenging to get rid of. Once rats have set up shop in your house, they aren’t keen on leaving. Therefore, you’ll want to keep rats away from your home in the first place. 

Some preventive measures to keep pests away include:

  • Sealing holes and gaps on or near your foundation, utility pipes, and conduits
  • Getting rid of debris and clutter in your home and yard
  • Placing wire mesh at the bottom of your downspout
  • Immediately cleaning up spills and crumbs
  • Keeping tight-fitting lids on your garbage containers
  • Eliminating potential nesting sites
  • Securing food in air-tight containers
  • Repairing leaky fixtures and pipes
  • Trimming overgrown vegetation on your property
  • Planting mint outside your home

Professional Rat Control Austin, TX

To keep your family, pets, and property safe from rats, you need to be proactive in your fight against pests. Watch for early signs of rats and take action as soon as you suspect rats have been in your home. 

If you want to effectively deter rats from your home, contact the Austin professional pest control experts at Stampede Pest Control. We work to keep wildlife from homes in the city of Austin and eradicate common pests. We use the highest-quality pesticides that are safe for your and your loved ones.

Reach out to us today to learn more about our dependable and effective pest control plans!