Rats are rodents of the Rattus genus, with the black and brown rats being the most prolific species in home infestations. The rats of this genus are known as “true rats” as compared to rodents that share many characteristics with rats but are not technically considered as such. In fact, the term “rat” refers to the larger rodents of the muroid family, with the term “mouse” referring to the smaller ones. In this article, we’re going to cover the four common species of rats that you will find in infestations in the US.
The brown rat
Also known as the Norwegian rat, this rodent has coarse fur that is usually dark grey or brown in coloration. It is a fairly large rodent, often weighing twice as much as a black rat, with a length of up to 20 inches when you include the tail. The brown rat is nocturnal, but when the population in an area exceeds a certain size, individuals may become active during the day. In terms of reproduction, a female brown rat can successfully give birth and wean over 20 rats every year.
The black rat
The black rat is the second most common rat species in the US, with a potential size of up to 15 inches. Despite the name, it is not always black in coloration, sometimes sporting a light brown coat. It is spread on all the continents, and it may also be known as the ship rat, the house rat, or the roof rat. Omnivorous with a preference for tropical climates, the black rat is not very picky when it comes to food, but it does seem to be drawn more to nuts and fruits, preferring a diet that is high in water content.
The woodrat, also known as the packrat, is a rat of the Neotoma genus, being able to reach lengths of up to 15 inches. It can be a diverse species, living in a variety of environments, from deserts to forests and rocky habitats. It is a natural nest builder, using plant material and debris to build its dwelling. In the home, it can be quite damaging, destroying electrical wires and anything else that it feels would make good nesting material.
Dealing with different types of rats
Each rat species has its own preferences and behavior, so if you can identify the species in the infestation, your control efforts will be more effective. If you would like to find out more about the different rat species in the US, or if you have a rat infestation, contact us today.