Nobody likes to think about the possibility of a rat infestation in their home. Unfortunately, as long as there is even a small amount of food and water around, rats can set up shop. It’s critical to learn how to protect your home and property from these sneaky pests. Let’s explore some of the most critical information to know about rats so you can nip infestations in the bud.

Is It a Rat or a Mouse? 

The biggest difference between rats and mice is their size. Rats are much larger than mice on average. You can also tell the two apart by paying attention to other physical features. Rats have sharp claws and generally have a defined head with large ears. Mice have smaller bodies and smaller claws, and more sparse hair. 

Aside from their physical characteristics, you can also tell rat and mouse fecal matter apart by its size. Rat droppings tend to be larger, while mouse droppings are about the same size as a grain of rice.

Here are some of the common rodents you may see in Houston: 

  • Deer Mouse 
  • House Mouse 
  • Norway Rat 
  • Roof Rat 

Each of these rodents can range from five to sixteen inches in length, including their tail. Their colors vary from gray-white, brown, and black.

Rats and mice both present problems to your home and your family. They can cause structural damage, spread disease, or even bite. Rats are more aggressive and are more likely to bite, but each rodent poses health and safety risks. You should eradicate them as quickly as possible.

How Do Rats Enter My Home? 

Rats are very intelligent and can enter homes and buildings in various ways. These pests can sneak in through openings as small as a dime, like cracks or holes in walls or foundations.  Rats can make their way into your home through floor drains, letter drops, gaps under doors, or even by hitching a ride in a large package.

Rats can dig holes under shallow house foundations. They can also come through gaps or unsealed areas in the foundation or wall for utility pipes or wires. Rats can even enter a home through open windows, doors, sidewalk grates, or vents. 

Dangers Caused By Rats 

wire damage caused by rats

Rats can cause a lot of damage to building materials, creating several health and safety threats. As they chew their way in, they create holes that allow rainwater to enter your home. Rats can also chew through and cause damage to wiring and plumbing. They can also destroy items you have in storage such as furniture, valuables, and food packages.

Like mosquitos, rats are carriers and spreaders of disease. Rats carry harmful bacteria such as Hantavirus or Salmonella, along with parasitic worms. They also are potential carriers for other parasites like fleas, ticks, and mites which can be harmful to your family’s animals. 

Rats can also bite if you come in contact with them. Rat droppings and fur can cause respiratory irritation, and their urine can soak into insulation and furniture. Their presence can also lead to annoying noises in walls, the attic, and other parts of your home. 

How to Keep Rats Out 

Here are some actions you can take to protect your Houston home from rats:

  • Consider replacing wooden basement floors with poured concrete. 
  • Cover the edges of doors, windows, and screens with sheet metal or hardware cloth. 
  • Keep a clean yard and house, free of trash 
  • Place storage racks, firewood, and stored items at a height of 18 inches above the floor. 
  • Regularly trim grass and vegetation around your home. 
  • Remove any potential food sources. 
  • Repair any plumbing leaks to cut off their water source. 
  • Seal all possible entry points. 
  • Prevent access to food by storing food in sealed air-tight containers. 
  • Use locks to ensure doors remain closed.

Keep Rats Out of Your Houston Home 

captured rat

The most effective way to prevent Houston rodent infestations is to call a professional pest control company. At Stampede Pest Control, we ensure the safety of your home with reliable and prompt pest control solutions. We guarantee our services and apply treatments safely, with families and pets in mind.

Give yourself and your family the safety and peace of mind you deserve today. Call Stampede Pest Control for your free quote now!