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Rodent Control & Removal

Norway RatsName: Norway Rat Scientific Name: Rattus Norvegicus
Color: Grayish / brown to reddish brown
Average Size: Can reach from 7 – 16” in length. Larger than a Roof Rat
Preferred Diet: Cereal grains, meats, seeds, cockroaches, fruits, shrimp
Habitat: Lives throughout the US and Canada. Burrows in soil, sewers,
lower areas of homes


Roof RatsName: Roof Rat Scientific Name: Rattus Rattus
Color: Black / Brownish Gray
Average Size: Can be between 6 – 8” in length. Tail is 7 -10” longer than body
Preferred Diet: Fruits, berries, meats, seeds, vegetables, eggs
Habitat: Coastal cities and 100 miles inland. Nests are usually in attics, trees and upper portions of buildings.


Common Florida Rats: The Norway Rat and The Roof Rat

Rats are an extremely common rodent and live almost everywhere in the world. Interestingly enough, most people have a tendency to think that rats live mostly in urban locations and associate them with places such as subway stations or dirty alleyways. However, here in Florida, because of the warm climate and abundant vegetation rats can live and flourish in the wild. They live all around us yet we rarely see them because of their obscure behavior. They are very discrete animals and prefer to stay hidden. As a matter of fact, if you do see a rat scurrying around in your home, during the day, it may be because you already have an infestation and just didn’t know it. In example, if there is an infestation in your attic, and the attic has become overcrowded with rats, some rats may start to appear inside of the home due to a shortage of space in the attic. However, It’s important to know that Rats can be very dangerous to humans. So trying to remove them yourself can be very dangerous and ill advised. This is because rats can carry a number of dangerous diseases such as Salmonellosis (acute food poisoning), Rickettsia Pox, Hantavirus (via droppings), Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, tapeworms, leptospirosis, infectious jaundice, and tularemia. All of these diseases can be transmitted from either breathing in dust that is contaminated with rodent urine and droppings, coming into direct contact with urine and/or droppings, eating or drinking food that has been contaminated by rat feces or urine or by being bitten. Although rare, rats will bite humans and pets if threatened. Having a rat infestation in your home is no small matter. If you see any live or dead rats in your home you must call a professional immediately to do a complete inspection of your home, perform proper exclusion practices and do a thorough clean up of the area where the rats have been residing after the removal is complete. Do NOT attempt to ever remove rats out of an attic or wall void on your own or put any poisonous products down, doing so can be very dangerous and hazardous to your health. Call 1-800-HERON for more information or for a FREE inspection of your home.

Here are some signs to look for if you think you may have rat infestation:

  1. Actually seeing a rat in your home, dead or alive – Rats rarely make themselves noticeable and prefer to stay under the radar. They like to scour about during the night when humans are asleep in hopes to not come in contact with us. If you are seeing live rats, it probably means you have an infestation. If you have a full blown infestation, most likely in your attic, eventually there will be lack of space for the rats to coincide with each other causing some rats to be forced into the open and into your home.
  2. Rat droppings – Another sign that you have rats in your home are actually seeing their droppings. They will leave behind droppings in and on places such as your countertops, pantries, kitchen cabinets, drawers, food bins and anywhere else that food may be. You may even see droppings on the floor along walls. Rats and rodents in general, if feeding properly, have a tendency to leave behind a decent amount of feces. In a six-month period one pair of rats can eat about four pounds of food and produce some eighteen thousand fecal droppings. Which leads to the next sign of infestation….
  3. Odor – If your attic or home is infested with any rodent, there will be an odor due to the amount of the fecal matter and urine they leave behind. Breathing in air that is contaminated with rat feces and urine is extremely hazardous to your health and can cause disease in humans and pets. Never attempt to go into an attic that you think may be infested with rats.
  4. Grease Marks – Rats aren’t the cleanest critters. Actually, their pretty dirty. Their coats are loaded with dirt and natural oils which they gracefully leave behind on anything the wipe against. If they’ve been in your home, you may see grease marks smeared on your floorboards and walls. As they squeeze through openings, brush up against walls and run across surfaces their oil and dirt can be transferred.
  5. Squeeking and Noises. Rats are not quiet critters. They usually are more active at night when you’re sleeping. This is because they’re nocturnal and prefer to sleep all day and party all night. If you have an infestation, don’t be surprised if you hear squeaking, running, thuds, scuffling or other odd noises in your attic or walls. Your sleep time is their play time!
  6. Bite marks on food containers. If you have rats there will almost certainly be bite marks taken out of boxes in your pantries or other places where you keep food items. Beware of pet food bags!!! These are easy access for rats because they’re usually left on the floor. However, rats will chew into any food container such as pasta, rice, beans and most grain products. Bite marks will also probably be accompanied by droppings nearby. How nice of them.
  7. Gnaw marks on wires, piping, wood, walls, almost anything. Rats will literally gnaw on anything. Their teeth never stop growing and the only way for them to keep them in check is to constantly gnaw on items to file their teeth down. A favorite of most rats are electrical wires. Perhaps this is because of the consistency. Chewing on electrical wires can frequently cause power outages, electronic malfunctions and worse, house fires. It has been estimated that rodents cause up to 20% of unidentified house fires in the United States each year!
  8. Watch your pets for odd behavior! If your pet is acting wacky in a certain place in your home, perhaps running in circles in the hall or excitingly barking or scratching at the wall, he may not be telling you that your house is haunted, but that you may have rats in your drywall! Just think, if the scratching and squeaking in the walls is loud enough for humans to hear, imagine how it must sound to Fido!

Helpful tips and facts for homeowners:

  1. Watch your pets for odd behavior! If your pet is acting wacky in a certain place in your home, perhaps running in circles in the hall or excitingly barking or scratching at the wall, he may not be telling you that your house is haunted, but that you may have rats in your drywall! Just think, if the scratching and squeaking in the walls is loud enough for humans to hear, imagine how it must sound to Fido!
  2. The most common rats in Central Florida are the “Norway Rat” aka the brown rat or the “Roof Rat” aka the “Black Rat”. The most popular being the latter of the two.
    • Roof rats also known as “black rats” are smaller and more slender in appearance than Norway rats. Unlike Norway rats, roof rat’s tails are often longer than their heads and bodies combined. Roof rats also have a more pointed nose, longer ears and are sleek in appearance. Roof rats are the most common rat found in home infestations. They prefer to take residence in higher elevated locations such as attics, walls, false ceilings, and cabinets. Roof rats also enjoy eating fruit and may be seen around fruit trees.
    • Norway rats are larger than Roof rats and have a stockier build and longer body. They have a shorter and rounder nose, smaller bald ears that are closer to their bodies and a bald tail. They usually range in color from grayish – brown and have pale grey bellies. They generally prefer to burrow underground and live in lower lying areas such as ditches, barns, dumps, woods, old buildings, marshes, and near ponds. Norway rats are excellent swimmers and can often be found near water. Norway Rats will eat just about anything such as natural foods like seeds, grains, fruits, stems, leaves, nectar, flowers, roots, bark, wood, sap, insects, spiders, crayfish, earthworms, frogs, salamanders, fish, lizards, birds, eggs, and fungus. They are also good at catching fish with their paws.

HERON’S RAT REMOVAL PROCEDURE: We will safely remove any adult and infant squirrels off of the premises.

Did you know?

  • Rats can swim a half mile in open sea and tread water for 3 days. They can dive 100 feet underwater and leap up to 4 feet!
  • Rats eat the equivalent of 10% of their body weight daily, consuming garbage, leftover dog food, bird food and dog excrement. In times of scarcity they will eat each other.
  • Rats urinate as many as 80 times per day.
  • The white lab rat is a domesticated variety of Norway Rat.
  • Rat teeth can exert 24,000 pounds per square inch. They can chew through wood, asbestos, brick, cinder blocks, four inch thick concrete, aluminum, even a 1/2-inch thick sheet of metal.
  • To cool off, rats don’t pant like dogs, but instead lie on their backs and sweat through the pads on their feet.
  • Rats can fit through openings that are as small as 1/2 inch in diameter, making it very difficult to rat-proof a building.
  • Chicago was once home to 6 million rats. Nowadays the population is estimated at only half a million.
  • A rat can go longer without water than a camel.