Rats are Large Rodents that resemble Mice. They have a pointed nose and a long mostly bald tail. There are two common Rats. The first being a Roof Rat, also named a Tree Rat or Black Rat. Scientific name Rattus Rattus. The second which is the most common here in Rhode Island is the Wharf Rat, also named Norway Rat or Water Rat. Scientific name Ratus Norvegicus.
Rats look like a larger version of Mice. Norway Rats range in color from brown to grey. They have a long narrow and inquisitive nose and a long baldish tail. They will burrow in the soil and sometimes enter structures in search of food. Rat Burrows will have a baseball size opening with a lot of excavated soil.
Rats will Bite to defend themselves or if they are cornered. Rats have long teeth and bites can be quite painful. If the skin is broken it should be cleaned out thoroughly.
Rats can cause several Diseases such as Leptospirosis from Rat Urine and the Dust from Feces. Rat Bite Fever from bites and scratches. Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis caused from saliva and urine. Rats are also carriers of Parasites like Fleas and Mites.
Signs of a Rat Infestation are Rat Droppings 3/4” long with rounded ends. Water Rats make a chattering noise they make with their teeth. Footprints can be left in soil or dusty areas. Dirty black marks called Rub Marks which are dirt and oils left behind on surfaces and openings.
Rats will enter a building in search of food and shelter. Rat Burrows are typically up against a solid surface like a wall. If there is an opening close they will find it and chew it larger if need be. If a Pregnant Rat ends up inside it can have Rodent Litter of over 10 offspring.
Rats spend most of their time outside so you should find and Eliminate the Burrow. Be very careful with Rat Traps and Bait. You do not want to harm non target pests. Snap traps work well if you can place them safely by the entrance point they use either to your house or their burrow. Find and seal off the openings.