Britain is home to two kinds of rat:
- The ship rat, also known as the black rat, which is rare in the UK and is not described further in this page.
- The common rat, also known as the brown rat or sewer rat, is the most abundant and widespread species and is found throughout the United Kingdom . All that it needs to thrive is shelter food and water.
The adult common rat weighs 100-500 grams (3½-18 ounces). Excluding the tail, they are about 240 mm long (9½ inches) and have brown fur on their back with grey fur underneath. Their tails are shorter than the head and body together.
In comparison, the house mouse weighs only 30 grams (1 ounce) and are about 4 inches long (excluding tail). They have large ears in relation to their body with small feet and a tail which is longer than their body.
Signs of Infestation
Signs to look out for are damage caused by gnawing, holes, smears and droppings. Packaging will often show tooth marks, the size of which will indicate whether it is a rat or a mouse. Holes made by the rats in doors and walls, and the entrances to nests, are about 80mm ( 3 inches) in diameter, and nests may be made in wall and floor cavities.
Having established the best route from one place to another, rats tend to use this route or "run" frequently. This run becomes soiled with the grease and other dirt on the rat's fur and will be very apparent in even moderate infestations. Foot prints are sometimes apparent on soft or dusty surfaces. The amount of rat droppings present is a good indication of the size of the infestation and how long they have been there.
Removal of food, water and harbourage will deny rats their three main requirements for survival.
Last updated Thursday, 6th December 2018