Preferred foods are cereal products, although rats are omnivorous they will eat almost anything that humans eat. Most damage caused by rats is through gnawing and ripping open packets of food. They also spoil and contaminate food with urine, droppings and hairs. Up to 5% of food produced worldwide is lost as a result of rodent activity. Unlike mice, rats require water every day.


Rats are mainly active at night, but may be seen during the day searching for food, water or shelter.


Rats can transmit many diseases to humans, including Salmonellosis (food poisoning) and Weils disease, usually from the urine of infected rats.


Rats may also cause considerable damage to buildings, foundations and other structures due to gnawing and burrowing.

Brown Rat
Brown Rat

The common rat (or Brown Rat) typically has brownish fur on its back and is grey underneath, but colour can vary from white through to black. The adult body length is 200-270mm, plus a tail length of 150-200mm. Rats have an excellent sense of smell and taste. They have an acute sense of hearing, frequently using ultrasound to communicate, and are particularly sensitive to any sudden noise.


Common rats live in any situation that provides food, water and shelter. In homes, they will live in roof spaces, wall cavities or under floorboards. In

gardens, they will burrow into compost heaps and grassy banks or under sheds.


Rats are often found living in sewer systems; they are agile climbers and excellent swimmers.


Rats are adaptable, highly mobile and breed rapidly to produce large rat infestations. This combination can make rat control a difficult task for the untrained individual.








Brown Rat (Rattus Norvegicus)

What you can do to help   

Householders can assist in preventing rat infestation by taking a number of

simple precautions:

  • Keep your home in good repair; rats only need a gap of 15mm to gain entry.
  • Remove potential nesting sites by keeping yards and gardens clean and tidy,and by cutting back overgrown areas.
  • Ensure that drain inspection covers are in place and are in good repair.
  • Seal gaps around heating and water pipes.
  • Check ventilation bricks and slots are not broken or have holes large enough for a rat to climb through.
  • Do not leave household waste where rats can get access to it, close dustbin lids and composters.
  • Do not feed wild birds to excess – you may be feeding rats as well.