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Rats are a type of rodent that are associated with the Muroidea superfamily.  Rats seek shelter in residential dwellings as a place of warmth during the winter season. Although there are genetic differences between the two, rats are commonly mistaken for mice. Some differences of mice and rats include head size, ear size, and eye size. Rats also have longer tails than mice.

Both mice and rats, however, are categorized under the Genus rattus.

There are different types of rats to be aware of that pose a risk to your health, your home, and your family.

Common Types of Rats

Norway (Brown)

The Norway rat is also known as the Brown rat and measures 15-20 inches long. The Norway rat is associated with the rattus norvegicus category and are located in the Northeast, Midwest, and Southwest regions of the United States. They feast on anything they can capture, including small birds, eggs, plants, and small invertebrates.

The Norway rat poses the risk of Leptospirosis, which is a bacterial infection that results in red eyes, vomiting, bleeding, chills, and other side effects. The Norway rat is also a carrier of the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, which is a disease with symptoms ranging from muscle pain and headaches to fever.

Ship (Black or Roof)

The Ship rat is also known as the black rat or roof rat.  It appears black or light-to-dark brown in color with a light bottom. The Ship rat belongs to the rattus rattus specie and measure 5-7 inches long with tails potentially 8 inches long. Ship rats eat seeds, fruit, stems, leaves, insects, birds, small animals, and pet (dog and cat) food.

Ship rats are carriers of Leptospirosis, also known as Weil’s disease. Weil’s disease is a severe form of leptospirosis, which can result in jaundice, kidney failure, and death. Ship rats are also carriers of the following bacterial infections: typhus toxoplasmosis, and trichinosis.

While Ship rats are adaptable to cold weather climates, its preferred environment is costal areas.

Wood Rat (Packrat)

Wood rats live in Western North America regions, including Arizona and New Mexico, as well as Canada. Wood rats consume small mammals, seeds, nuts, leaves, berries, twigs, insects, and birds.

Humans are at risk of contracting bacterial infections Arenavirus, typhoid, hantavirus, hantavirus, or the bubonic plague from Wood rats.

Marsh Rice Rat

The Marsh Rice rat has a gray and brown coat.  Marsh Rice rats can measure to approximately 12 inches long. Its diet consists of green vegetation, fungus, rice, marsh grass, insects, snails, fish, and crabs. Marsh Rice rats live along the Florida Keys and Gulf Coast, across Eastern United States, and Texas.

Marsh Rice rats are agents of the Bayou virus, Lyme disease, and Bartonella bacteria


There are several methods to prevent rats from entering your home.  Pay close attention to your neighborhood; if you live in a neighborhood where rat activity is frequent, contact Foundation Pest Control for services.

Since rats can maneuver through holes or openings at least a quarter size, it is extremely important to properly seal all openings and holes in your home. Sealing should be done with steel wool, hardware cloth, cement, or plaster.

Maintain regular cleaning and sanitization practices in your home.

Remove any attractions for rats from the area surrounding your home. Pieces of debris including wood piles, old leaves, old cars, old appliances and sources of vegetation should be stores at least one foot away from your home and at least 18 inches above ground. Garbage bins should remain covered. Ripened fruit and produce should be picked promptly, so that nothing is on the ground available to the rats. Pet food should not be left outside for long periods of time, unless it is in a rodent resilient container.

Finally, trees, shrubs and limbs trimmed at least four feet away from your home.

Following these precautions exclusively will not guarantee that rats will not enter your home or the surrounding area of your home. The best course of action that prevents and destroys rat existence is contacting Foundation Pest Control.


Rats pose a dangerous threat to human life, as well as a threat to your home and property. All rats are transporters of at least one bacterial infection that have the potential to become fatal.  Communities of rats can also destroy the physical foundation and appearance of a residential dwelling. The presence of rats is not an issue to be taken light heartedly.  If you suspect rats are in your home, contact Foundation Pest Control as soon as possible.

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