The most common rat in this area is called the Brown Rat. As their name suggests, they are brown and their underbellies are usually slightly lighter. Their bodies are 15-19cm (6-8 inches) long, and can reach 25-30cm (10-12inches) if you include their tails. They can weigh up to 450g (1lb).
It is likely that you will see the animal itself before noticing the smaller signs of an infestation. Their droppings are cylindrical, 6-8mm in length, and will vary in colour depending on the rats diet and environment. Typical damage rats cause includes the gnawing of wood, plastic etc. Rats need to chew to keep their teeth worn down, as they are constantly growing. They have a gap in their bottom teeth which allows them to eject unwanted material. Because of this, often where a rat has been gnawing, there will be a pile of spoil. Externally, a good indication of rats are rat runs (worn paths that the rats use to travel on), and holes about 2-3 inches in diameter. They will be found in compost bins and heaps, around drainage systems (manholes etc) in lawns and borders, and around the perimeter of the building.
Rats can pose a significant risk to health. They are most commonly associated with Leptospirosis (Weils disease) and can also carry Salmonellosis and Typhoid.
If you think you have rats in your property, Arun District Council is able to help. We offer a prompt and professional treatment, and can offer advice on future prevention. All services are chargeable, and the charge will cover you until the treatment is complete, with no hidden extras. Please call Arun Direct on 01903 737755 to arrange an appointment. Please note, the fee will be payable at the time of booking, so please have your card details ready. All payments are non-refundable.
We will attend your premises on the agreed date. Our Pest Control Officer will survey your property, and lay rodenticides as appropriate. We will offer advice on prevention of re-infestation, and other contributory factors. After the first visit, a date will be agreed with you for us to return to check on how the treatment is proceeding. During this time, we will move or replenish rodenticides as necessary. We will continue to visit until the treatment is complete. On the last visit the officer will remove all baits that are accessible. It is very difficult to guarantee that the rats will not return, however, should they do so within one calendar month of your last visit, we will call back free of charge to re-treat. If the problem reoccurs more than one month after the final visit, this will usually be dealt with as a new treatment and a further charge will apply. We are committed to safe and responsible use of rodenticides, in line with the Wildlife Aware Campaign.
The brown rat is one of the larger ‘muroids’; a super family of rodents that include hamsters and gerbils. Rats have 3-6 litters every year, each containing 7-8 young (pups). They are omnivores, which means they will eat anything. They prefer cereal based foods, can eat up to 30g a day and drink approximately 60ml. Rats are burrowing animals, preferring to live underground. There often appears to be a social hierarchy within these burrows. They are neophobic, which means they have a shyness of new objects. If they are startled or fleeing from an intruder, they often display pre encounter defensive behaviour – running back to the safety of their burrow. Rats are unable to vomit, which means they tend to try a small amount before feeding to see if there are any adverse effects. Rats are extremely adaptable; they can run, climb, dig, swim, adapt their diet to their environment, fight and breed prolifically, although population sizes are limited to the availability of food, water and harbourage.
Rats do not grow to be the size of cats or small dogs. The average cat weighs 9-11lbs, and certainly can not fit through a hole 2-3 inches in diameter. ‘Sewer Rats’ are just brown rats that live in sewers. These don’t get as big as cats, either. There are only 2 species of rat in this country; the brown rat (rattus norvegicus) and the black rat (rattus rattus). Black rats have never been seen in Arun. Contrary to popular belief, rats will not ‘go for the throat’ if they are cornered. They are much more likely to retreat back to a place of safety.