How to identify and control rats

A grey rat.
An adult rat's body length is 200-270mm, plus a tail length of 150-200mm.

Rats can transmit many diseases, usually off other rats. These diseases include salmonella (food poisoning) and Weil's disease.

Rats can also cause damage to buildings, foundations and other structures due to their gnawing and burrowing.

Book pest control treatment for rats

We offer domestic and commercial pest control treatment for rats. We use a chemical treatment called rodenticide.

To book treatment:

  1. Check our pest control treatment prices.
  2. Call us to arrange a call-out or to book treatment.

Call 0300 303 8871 to book a pest control treatment

What do rats look like?

The common rat typically has brownish fur on its back and is grey underneath. However, their colour can vary from white to black.

An adult rat's body length is 200-270mm, plus a tail length of 150-200mm.

They have an excellent sense of smell and taste. They have an acute sense of hearing and are sensitive to any sudden noises. However, their eyesight is very limited.

How do I know if I have rats?

Rats are particularly active at night, but they can be found during the day when they search for food, water or shelter.

Signs that you have rats include:

  • Droppings - these are capsule-shaped, black and up to 12mm long. They can leave up to 40 droppings a day.
  • Runs - rats follow the same routes when moving around. They often leave scent trails created by their urine through grass and low vegetation.
  • Smear marks and footprints - these can be seen on muddy or dusty surfaces. Smears are grey or black marks left on surfaces by repeated contact with the oils in a rat's fur.
  • Burrows - rats can build complex tunnel systems which often extend deep into the ground. Entrance holes can be found in grassy banks, under tree roots and at the edge of paving or drain cover surrounds.
  • Gnawing - rats continuously gnaw on objects to wear down their front teeth. They can even gnaw on non-food materials such as electrical cables, pipework and wooden fixtures.

How can I prevent rats on my property?

You can prevent rats from entering your property by:

  • Keeping your home in good repair. Rats only need a gap of 15mm in diameter to gain entry to your property.
  • Removing potential nesting sites. Keep your yard and garden clean and tidy, and keep on top of overgrown vegetation.
  • Sealing gaps around any heating or water pipes, both outside and inside the property.
  • Making sure ventilation slots or air bricks have a fine wire mesh. If this is worn out, replace it externally with a 3.15mm mesh.
  • Closing dustbin lids and composters. Don't leave household waste where rats can access it.
  • Using a bird feeder with a catch plate to feed wild birds.