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The common, Norway, Sewer or Brown Rat.

The brown rats “Rattus norvegicus” is the most common of our rats in the UK , most of us have seen one at some point in our lives ,either it be in a back street of even in your garden,but non the less we can do without them invading our property .

At Pestguard we get calls all the time regarding rats that have entered a property or a dwelling home ,sometimes in kitchens , lofts , garages , even living rooms and bed rooms ,  and a lot of the time its not down to a dirty home , its probably due to either food stuffs being left out , bird seed or bird food on the floor ,rubbish not being placed in bins correctly ,or it may even be a problem with the sewer drains  in your area , a collapsed drain  can be a warren for rats , and a easy access to our homes.

Protecting your home from invading rats can be a nightmare of a task , but with due diligence and some proofing , the risks of rats gaining entry to your home can be dramatically reduced.

Don`t  entice rodents to your garden or home by placing food on the floors for birds , place on a high bird table.

Don`t   leave rubbish, or food waste  in bags on the floor , place in the bin or on top  of the bin 

Don`t    leave dog food  out in the garden shed   

It is a myth that if you have rats , you will not have mice , they both will live happily together in the same area

If you see a hole that is big enough to get your fingers into , a rat will get in , proofing  it with either wire wool or cement the hole over .

If you have a gap under your door/garage door/shed door  , that is bigger than 25 mm , a rat can get under it …………proofing  with a brush strip .

Many people ask if a rat gets into my loft , can it get anywhere  else in the house , ………simple answer is YES  it can .

Once a rat gets into your loft space /attic , it can get into the cavity walls via the loft , and can pretty go where it likes …….sometime even under your foundations or cellar if you have one.


Generally brownish grey in colour across the back and grey underneath. Colours may vary as black forms have been found.
The Brown rat has an average weight of 335g. It is 200-270 mm in length (head and body) and the length of the tail is 150-200 mm. The common rat has small ears and eyes and it’s body is of heavy build.

Life cycle

Common Rat colonies typically develop from a pair or a single pregnant female. Rodents can breed even more efficiently than rabbits and size able infestations can develop very quickly. Conditions that suit a rapid population increase are a good supply of food and water, suitable temperatures and an undisturbed cover. With these ideal conditions breeding will continue throughout the year.
Rats and mice are capable of reproducing from the young age of three months. Pair bonds are not formed and mating is carried out on an opportunistic and promiscuous basis. Mating is brief and can take place with a number of males. After mating and conception there is a relatively short period of of pregnancy (gestation) 21-24 days. The average size of the Common Rat litter is between 6 – 11.  The weaning period is 3 – 4 weeks.
Unlike most mammals rats do not have to wait until the original litter is weaned and the female has stopped giving milk before coming back into oestrus. This means that the female rat may be willing to mate and can conceive again soon after the original litter is born.
Rats have been known to live as long as two years or more in a laboratory. How ever in natural conditions it is thought that less than 5% of rats survive more than 12 months. Females tend to live longer than males.


Brown rats are omnivorous but prefer starch and protein-rich foods, such as cereals. Their diet includes meat, fish, vegetables, weeds, earthworms, crustaceans, nuts and fruit. They sometimes catch food to return to later.

How to spot for signs of a rat infestation

The most reliable way to tell if there is an infestation present is with an actual sighting of the identified pest. If Common Rats are seen frequently during the day this may indicate that a large infestation is present as rats are nocturnal by nature.
Rats produce a stale odour. This will be noticed when the infestation has been present for a while in an indoor area. The odour  can remain present for a little time after the rodents have been controlled.
Common rats can produce up to 40 droppings a day, they are on average about 12 mm in length and taper to a point at both ends. Fresh droppings are a tell tale sign of rodents present.
Rats tend to take the same path when traveling, which in turn creates a run that is visible  to the naked eye. Outdoors the trails of Common Rats can appear as continuous depressions in the grass or other vegetation. Eventually the rat runs will turn into well-worn dusty paths that lead from their burrows to their food and water supply.
Outdoor burrows are usually very easy to spot and are often situated on sloping ground, such as the banks of ditches or covered areas like tree roots. The entrance holes are generally 70-120 mm in diameter. The soil around the burrow will be trampled if it is well used and cob webs will be present if unused.

Damage to goods

Unfortunately, often the first sign of rodent activity is the discovery of partially eaten , spilled or hoarded food, damaged packaging material and other signs of gnawing. Damage is a frequent consequence of indoor rat infestations, gnawing of electric cables and wires in the loft area is a  common problem. Rats can be distinguished as their incisor teeth marks are about 3 mm wide.

Why is a rat a pest

Common Rats are generally considered a pest because of their adverse effects upon the human population.The most important of these are the ability to transmit diseases to man and his livestock and the economic damage they may cause to foodstuffs and structures. Rodents whether being seen or heard can be very distressing and causing abhorrence and fear to some. On these facts alone rodent control is justified.




Posted in: Rodents

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