Rats have historically been a problem in human living environments. They are a source of disease, they cause property damage and rat infestation affects the image of your community. Good sanitation practices are the best ways to control rat populations. Rats need food, water and shelter. Eliminating one or more of these vital factors will result in a reduction in the rodent population.
What can you do?
Do you have a rat problem? Rats are generally active in the evening and at night but may be seen during the day when infestations are heavy. Look for these telltale signs…
- Look for burrows (holes) near sidewalks, bushes and plants, along your house’s foundation and in the basement. An active burrow is free of cobwebs and debris. Watch for signs of freshly disturbed soil at the base of structural foundations and along sidewalks and driveways.
- Look for gnawing marks (chewing) around doors, windows, plumbing, electrical outlets and doorways. The incisor teeth of rats grow at a rate of 4 to 6 inches a year so they must gnaw every day to keep their teeth at the proper length. Norway rats will gnaw through blacktop to burrow beneath foundations and alleyways.
- Look for dark colored fresh rat droppings in hidden areas along walls.
- Look for runways where rats go back and forth leaving dark, greasy track marks along baseboards and worn down paths in the grass. Indoors, Norway rats prefer continual body contact with at least one vertical surface such as a wall near ground or floor level.
What must you do?
Use a durable trashcan with a tight-fitting lid. It’s the law. Do not put out trash in plastic bags! Rats will chew through them and feast on your leftovers!
- Remove leftover pet food (cats, dogs and birds) and animal waste (feces) every day from the back of your yard. Animal waste contains undigested pet food that rats will eat!
- Remove old furniture, vehicles and appliances from your property. Don’t give rats a home!
- Mow tall grass and weeds. Don’t give them a place to hide!
- Don’t let rats inside! Rats can squeeze through cracks and holes as small as half an inch. Seal all holes and cracks in foundations, walls, floors and around windows.
- Store lumber, firewood and other materials well off the ground.
- Repair any breaks in the sewer line that connects from your home to the main sewer.
Rats in Baltimore
The most common rat in Baltimore is the Norway Rat also known as the Brown Rat. Adult Norway Rats have course brownish fur and the young ones have soft gray fur.
They have reproductive peaks in spring and fall with an average of 4 to 7 litters per year. An average litter contains 8 to 12 offspring. Young rats reach sexual maturity in 12 weeks but in good conditions they will reach maturity as early as 8 weeks.
Rats will eat nearly any type of food including pet food, garbage, food scraps and animal feces. The can climb brick or stucco, jump vertically to 3 feet and horizontally to 48 inches. They can swim as far as half a mile, and gnaw through cinderblock, wood, aluminum, and lead sheeting. Rodents’ teeth grown constantly so they need to chew and wear them down all the time.
For Rat Rubout, please call 311.