Features and Characteristics
Brown rats are usually brown or dark grey in color, while their bellies are lighter colored. They can reach relatively large sizes for a rat, often getting up to twice the size of a black rat. Their body length ranges from 15 to 28 cm, with added length from their tails. They weigh in at around 140 to 500 g on average, although they are known to get much larger sometimes.
This species of rat also has particularly sensitive hearing and smell, making them experts at tracking down food left out for too long. As nocturnal rodents, they will often make a grab for food at night when you and I are fast asleep.
In addition to their acute senses, they are also great swimmers and climbers, making the sewers a perfect home for them. As a true omnivore, the brown rat will eat almost anything. They will adapt to eat whatever is around them, which many times happens to be food left out in a dirty kitchen, or food washed down the sink into the sewers.
However, they will also adapt to eat whatever food is around their habitat. For example, rats living near a hatchery may hunt fingerling fish, while others living on the banks of a river may dive for mollusks. Extreme versatility makes them especially persistent pests.
The brown rat can also breed throughout the entire year in the right conditions, with females capable of producing up to 5 liters per year. Gestation periods last 21 days, and litters will typically number 7 babies at a time, though they can often be as many as 14. A yearly mortality rate of 95% is expected among this species of rat, although they can live up to 3 years if they get lucky.
How Did They Come In?
Any small hole the size of a quarter is big enough to let brown rats inside your home. They will typically go after the holes on the ground level which are easiest to access, but in some cases, they may gain entry on upper levels if given the chance. As nocturnal rodents, they will probably gain entry into a house at night when you’re least likely to notice their movement.
If you’re suspicious of a brown rat infestation in your home, watch out for droppings, gnawing marks on wooden surfaces, or claw marks around the house. Should you find any of these, you can be sure that a rodent of some kind has gained entry into your home.
And remember, if you find only a single brown rat in your home, that does not necessarily mean you don’t have an infestation on your hands. Because they can breed so rapidly, one or two rats may quickly turn into hundreds. They can hide in hard-to-see spots like in the attic, crawl spaces, basement, under your kitchen, or behind appliances.
Because so many of the brown rats live in the sewers, they may also possibly gain entry into your home through pipes and drainage systems. This is far less common, but if there’s a certain pipe that opens directly into your home, maybe a drain without a cover on it, then it is possible a brown rat could enter through there.
Regardless of how they entered your home, as soon as you see signs of an infestation, it’s best to call a professional pest control service right away to come to get rid of the rats. While you could try to handle it yourself by using rat traps or poison, a pest control service will be much more effective.
Why Do You See Them at Home and Are They Dangerous?
The Brown rat has adapted to live wherever humans live, and they get much of their food from humans. Under the right circumstances, an entire rat population can be sustained just from leftover food and liter.
As such, they want inside our homes to get to our food. This is especially true in messy or cluttered homes, where there are plenty of places for them to nest and plenty of food left out for them to eat. Besides this, they want a warm, safe place to nest, away from predators and cold weather. That makes human houses the perfect space for them to live in, where they can nest in the walls, floor, ceiling, or cupboards safely and warmly.
Keeping food and trash properly stored in sealed containers is the best way to prevent a rat infestation. The more food that is left out and accessible for them to find, the higher your chances of a pest infestation are going to be.
You should also keep your home as free of clutter as possible, as brown rats live and love to nest in dirty and cluttered spaces. Make sure you pick up the rubbish around your home, don’t leave things sitting out, and clean regularly. Also, be mindful of any openings there might be in your house for a rat to come in through.
As far as danger, brown rats are not usually dangerous to humans. They will not physically attack a human unless backed into a corner. Thinking of health and safety, they can often carry diseases that are deadly to humans, such as Salmonella or Hantavirus. If you find brown rats in your home, make sure not to touch them for your own peace of mind, as these diseases can easily be transmitted.
Having rats in London enter your home or business through your drains is common. Dealing with the problem quickly and efficiently is your best defense. Contacting AccuRat will ensure you, your family or your customers don’t get sick, and the damage is limited to your property only. Calling in a specialist to perform a CCTV drain survey is your best bet to find the entry points and have them sealed up properly.