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The Most Common Rat Species In Home Infestations

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Rats have numerous subspecies that have different appearances and behaviors, with some rats being completely wild, and others being commensal. In this article, we’re going to go over the most common rat species in home infestations and cover the effects that they have on a building and its inhabitants.

Norway rats

Norway rats, also known as the brown rats, are the most common rat species in home infestations. They are quite large, measuring as many as 20 inches in length when you include the tail, and they are capable of spreading a large number of diseases. They are found throughout the US, with heavy populations being located in the southeastern and western states. In the home, they usually infest the lower levels, and they are capable of reproducing very quickly, with one female giving birth to as many as six litters per year.

Roof rats

The roof rat is also known as the black rat or the ship rat, and it is slightly shorter than the brown rat, at 16 inches, tail included. This species is more of a bother for farmers, since they are known to attack agricultural crops, but they will also enter the home when the weather gets too cold. They will usually set up in the higher levels of the home, such as the attic, and they are also capable of carrying a variety of pathogens.


Woodrats or packrats, are the rarest of the three species in home infestations. They live in the deserts of the western US, with some subspecies living in the forests of the east coast. These rats are particularly interesting because they are known for “trading” nesting materials and food amongst each other, which indicate a higher level of intelligence. They also spread several diseases, and they can infest all levels of a building.

Dealing with a rat infestation

Inside the home, all the rat species behave pretty similarly. There are differences in which areas of the home that they infest, and in some of the diseases that they carry, but these differences do not have radical implications for the control process. However, with any rat species, your best hope of tackling the infestation is to hire a professional pest control team who will remove the rats quickly, safely and effectively. Contact us today if you have a rat infestation and you would like to set up a pest control appointment.

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