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Home > Blog > How To Identify Rats in San Antonio: A Guide for Homeowners

How To Identify Rats in San Antonio: A Guide for Homeowners

Aug 10, 2021

If you have a rodent infestation, you’ll know it. Rodents are bad houseguests and eat indiscriminately. They will chew the wiring and insulation in your walls, pillage your garbage, and attack your bird feeders. 

Wild rats live about one year. Their short lifespan is due to predatory animals, scarcity of food sources, and human pest control measures. Although rats don’t live very long, they can cause many problems for you and your home.

You can differentiate rats from mice from their size, droppings, and bite marks. Rats are often several inches larger than mice, so their bite marks and droppings follow suit. Keep reading to learn how to identify different rat species that are common in San Antonio and how to address them.

Common Types of Rats in San Antonio

Norway Rat (Brown Rat)

As the name suggests, the Norway Rat originates from Norway. It likes to eat garbage and can live in burrows in the ground. They typically infest the ground level of your property.

  • Color: Sandy or gray hair with darker patches on its back. Yellow or white patch on the underbelly.
  • Size: About 16 inches long, including the tail.
  • Appearance: Larger and bulkier than other rats.
  • Tail: Scaly and hairless. In proportion to the body, the tail is shorter than that of other rats.
  • Droppings: ¾ inches long. They are also capsule-shaped with rounded ends. 

Roof Rat (Black Rat/Ship Rat)

A black rat in an attic.

The black rat tends to nest in roofs and the upper portions of buildings. 

  • Color: Brown with black, smooth hair. Their underside is gray, white, or black
  • Size: 16 inches long, including the tail.
  • Appearance: Long and thin body, large ears and eyes
  • Tail: Hairless, 6-8 inches long. Their tails are longer than their bodies.
  • Droppings: ½ inch with pointed ends.

Woodrat (Pack Rat)

An adult woodrat nursing a baby woodrat in dirt.
  • Color: Ranges from gray to dark brown. The underbelly is a lighter color.
  • Size:  Around 10 inches.
  • Appearance: Large eyes, large hairless ears, and white feet.
  • Tail: Slender and covered in dense hair.
  • Droppings: Wood rats use their feces to stick debris together when building nests. These piles, called middens, are present during a woodrat infestation.

Marsh Rice Rat

Close-up profile of a marsh rat on cement.

Marsh rice rats are semi-aquatic and have a water-repellent coat.

  • Color: Gray-brown.
  • Size: Up to 12 inches, tail included.
  • Appearance: Slender body with small cheek pouches.
  • Tail: Dark brown with a pale underside
  • Droppings: Capsule-shaped.

Signs That You Have a Rat Problem

Rats are nocturnal and won’t often come out in the daytime, so you may not see them. You will have to deduce what kind of infestation you have on your property based on the clues they leave behind. 

Rats eat a lot and produce about 50 droppings a day. You can often find their droppings in cabinets or behind boxes or shelving. Along with the smell of droppings, you may also smell the musky odor of the rats themselves.

Other sure signs of a rat problem are bite marks and holes on baseboards, doors, or electrical wiring. They also leave grease smears on walls as they move through your home.

How Do Rats Enter Your San Antonio Home?

When inspecting your home for the rats’ points of entry, consider even the smallest hole. Rats can squeeze through gaps as small as ¾ of an inch. 

Rats make their way into your home through many different points of entry:

  • Eaves gaps
  • Pipe entry holes
  • Crawl spaces
  • AC chases
  • Fascia boards
  • Under loose siding or ridge gaps
  • Roof joints

Rat-Proofing Your Home

Close-up of a rat caught in a cage.

When protecting your home from rat infestations, make sure to cover every possible entry point. Here are some materials you can use.

  • Lath screen
  • Cement
  • Hardware cloth
  • Metal sheeting for large holes

Getting Rid of Rats

Many see snap and glue traps as inhumane, as they don’t guarantee instant death. Additionally, the stress hormones produced by trapped rats can attract even more animals. 

The best way to get rid of rats is to have a professional San Antonio, TX pest control company get rid of them and help you secure your home from new rats. Killing rats is a losing battle if you leave the points of entry open. If they can find a way in, more rats will replace the old ones.

Whatever type of rat problem you may have in your home, we can handle it. For dependable and prompt rat control, call Romney Pest Control right away!

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