The brown rat can gain entry to buildings by gnawing, climbing, jumping or swimming through sewers & even entering through toilets or broken drains. They will live anywhere that there is food, water & shelter. They can live in lofts, cellars, under garden sheds; compost heaps, as well as burrowing underground. They carry diseases such as Salmonella, Weil’s disease & Toxoplasmosis, which makes them a very serious pest indeed. Signs that you may have a rat infestation include:
Droppings 3-5mm in size, rod shaped
Distinct ammonia- like smell caused by the breakdown of rat urine
Smear marks on walls left by dirty fur after contact
Fresh soft droppings will be found along well travelled pathways in areas of food & near their harbourage. Tracks with footprints & tail marks can be found on dusty areas, along with urine trails. You may experience noise in walls created by gnawing & climbing, largely at night time when brown rats are at their most active. Rats are very explorative rodents whom memorize the locations of pathways, obstacles, food, water & shelter. They will detect & avoid new objects & novel food (Neophobia) & will therefore frequently avoid traps & baits for many days following their placing. The brown rat will typically grab food & carry it to a different place to eat. They prefer to eat grains, meat, fish, nuts & some fruits. They can squeeze beneath a door with as little as a half inch gap & will gnaw through wooden doors. The brown rat will seldom travel beyond 300 feet of their nest. Structural damage such as the fabric of buildings or electrical wiring can be damaged by the brown rat with the latter acting as a potentially serious fire hazard.
The brown rat is a significant health & safety issue. A rat- free premises is a legal hygiene requirement: Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) & Food Safety Act (1990) for businesses. In hospitality & food related business rat pose a serious risk to your good reputation, in addition to the real possibility of prosecutions or even closure.