Have a rat problem? Learn all about these animals, including the many different species of mice you may find near your home or business and your options to eradicate and prevent them.

Quick Facts

  • Rats can swim (some can tread water for three days)
  • Rat teeth never stop growing
  • A rat can fall 50 feet without injury
  • Rats can spread over 35 diseases
  • The tails on rats help regulate body temperature
  • Antarctica is the only continent without rats
  • Their sense of smell is so keen that some species are used to detect landmines
  • Rats can chew through glass, cinder block, wires, and even lead
  • Worldwide, there are over 52. There are a few different species of rats in the United States. The four most common rat species found in North America are the Norway rat, roof rat, woodrat, and marsh rice rat.

    Also known as the “brown rat,” the Norway rat is one of the most prolific rat species. It is found on every continent except Antarctica and is the most dominant rat in Europe and North America. They thrive in urban environments. Despite its name, the Norway rat is believed to originate from China.

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    What You Need To Know About The Norway Rat

    • What do Norway rats look like?

      • Black or brown coloring

      • Gray or brown belly fur

      • 15-20 inches long (head to tail)

      • Short ears

    • What do house mice eat?

      • Just about anything

      • Plants, insects, eggs, and even small animals (e.g., birds)

    • Where do house mice live?

      • Located throughout the U.S.(Northeast, Midwest, and Southwest regions)

    What You Need To Know About Norway Rat Infestations

    • What are the signs of a Norway rat infestation?

      • Sightings at dusk or right before dawn (main feeding periods)

      • Chewed up wires, books, papers, insulation, and cardboard (nesting material)

      • Gnawing marks

      • Rodent runways (dark worn paths along walls, piping, and ledges)

      • Pattering (tapping) noises

      • Dropping (¼ inch and pointed at both ends)

      • Urine odors

    • Why do Norway rats invade my home or business?

      • Availability of food, water, shelter, and nesting materials

    • How do I get rid of Norway rats?

      • Locate and seal their entry points with caulk

      • Clean up food crumbs and keep food stored away

      • Place pet food in sealed containers

      • Cut back shrubberies and branches away from the house

      • Set Kness rat traps alongside walls

    Tips To Prevent Norway Rat Infestations

      • Use Kness rat traps

      • Practice sanitary habits with food storage and cleaning around the house

    Known as the black rat, ship rat, or house rat, this particular species can be found worldwide as it is a passive traveler (hitching rides on ships and transports). The roof rat prefers forested areas, making dens in trees and places off the ground. When interacting with human environments, they will make homes on the upper floors and roofs of structures.

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    What You Need To Know About The Roof Rat

    • What do roof rats look like?

      • Black to brownish color

      • Light gray underside

      • 5-7 inches long

      • Long ears

    • What do roof rats eat?

      • Seeds, flowers, insects, leaves, fruit, and even small animals (e.g., birds)

      • Are very fond of pet food

    • Where do roof rats live?

      • Their range commonly extends to coastal areas of the U.S.

      • Thrives in more tropical regions

    What You Need To Know About Roof Rat Infestations

    • What are the signs of a roof rat infestation?

      • Sightings at dusk or right before dawn (main feeding periods)

      • Chewed up wires, books, papers, insulation, and cardboard (nesting material)

      • Gnawing marks

      • Rodent runways (dark worn paths along walls, piping, and ledges)

      • Pattering (tapping) noises

      • Dropping (¼ inch and pointed at both ends)

      • Urine odors

    • Why do deer mice invade my home or business?

      • Availability of food, water, shelter, and nesting materials

    • How do I get rid of deer mice?

      • Locate and seal their entry points with caulk

      • Clean up food crumbs and keep food stored away

      • Cut back shrubberies and branches away from the house

      • Set Kness rat traps alongside walls

      • Store items in plastic containers rather than cardboard boxes

    Tips To Prevent Roof Rat Infestations

      • Use Kness rat traps

      • Practice sanitary habits with food storage and cleaning around the house

    The woodrat can be quite a nuisance; this species is a nest builder and a collector of objects. More specifically, they like shiny objects (e.g., coins, silverware) and will drop what they’re carrying to take a new item that they want. This behavior is also why they’re called a packrat.

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    What You Need To Know About Woodrat

    • What do woodrats look like?

      • Grayish-brown color

      • Long tail

      • Large ears

      • Big black eyes

    • What do western harvest mice eat?

      • Seeds, nuts, berries, insects, and small animals (e.g., birds)

    • Where do western harvest mice live?

      • Commonly lives in the western part of North America

      • The range extends from arctic Canada to New Mexico

    What You Need To Know About Woodrat Infestations

    • What are the signs of a western woodrat infestation?

      • Sightings at dusk or right before dawn (main feeding periods)

      • Chewed up wires, books, papers, insulation, and cardboard (nesting material)

      • Gnawing marks

      • Rodent runways (dark worn paths along walls, piping, and ledges)

      • Pattering (tapping) noises

      • Dropping (¼ inch and pointed at both ends)

      • Urine odors

    • Why do western harvest mice invade my home or business?

      • Availability of food, water, shelter, and nesting materials

    • How do I get rid of western harvest mice?

      • Locate and seal their entry points with caulk

      • Clean up food crumbs and keep food stored away

      • Place pet food in sealed containers

      • Cut back shrubberies and branches away from the house

      • Set Kness rat traps alongside walls

      • Store items in plastic containers rather than cardboard boxes

    Tips To Prevent Woodrat Infestations

      • Use Kness rat traps

      • Practice sanitary habits with food storage and cleaning around the house

    This nocturnally active rat thrives in marsh and swamp environments. They make nests out of grass. Marsh rice rats are very adept swimmers and will often seek out water to hide away from predators.

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    What You Need To Know About The Marsh Rice Rat

    • What does the marsh rice rat look like?

      • Gray to grayish-brown coloring

      • The head is a lighter color than the rest of the body

      • Off-white underbelly

      • Length can be up to 12 inches

    • Where does the marsh rice rat live?

      • Plants (marsh grasses), fungus, rice, insects, snails, fish, and small crustaceans

    • Where does marsh rice rat live?

      • Found along the Gulf Coast, from Florida to Texas

    What You Need To Know About Marsh Rice Rat Infestations

    • What are the signs of a marsh rice rat infestation?

      • Sightings at dusk or right before dawn (main feeding periods)

      • Chewed up wires, books, papers, insulation, and cardboard (nesting material)

      • Gnawing marks

      • Rodent runways (dark worn paths along walls, piping, and ledges)

      • Pattering (tapping) noises

      • Dropping (¼ inch and pointed at both ends)

      • Urine odors

    • Why do marsh rice rats invade my home or business?

      • Availability of food, water, shelter, and nesting materials

    • How do I get rid of marsh rice rats?

      • Locate and seal their entry points with caulk

      • Clean up food crumbs and keep food stored away

      • Cut back shrubberies and branches away from the house

      • Set Kness rat traps alongside walls

      • Store items in plastic containers rather than cardboard boxes

    Tips To Prevent Marsh Rice Rat Infestations

      • Use Kness rat traps

      • Practice sanitary habits with food storage and cleaning around the house

    To take care of your rat problems, Kness has a full line of control solutions for you to utilize.

    Available from Kness

    Stick-All® Rat Glue Trap Product Stick-All® Rat Glue Trap

    It's a sticky solution to a sticky problem. The Stick-All Glue Trap is pre-scented to attract multiple rats, snakes, mice and insects.

    View Stick-All® Rat Glue Traps

    Available from Kness

    Big Snap-E® Rat Trap Products Big Snap-E® Rat Trap

    The Big Snap-E® is truly a better rat trap. Escape proof and you never touch another rat.

    View Big Snap-E® Rat Trap