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Answering Your Perplexing Nuisance Rodent Questions

Frequently Asked Rodent Questions Of Virginia Rat Removal

The Best In Local Rat, Mice, And Rodent Removal Services For The Areas Of Henrico, Glen Allen, Richmond, Midlothian, And  Charlottesville, Virginia

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Call Now: (804) 256-8272

Frequently Asked Questions at Virginia Rat Removal

Frequently Asked Rodent Questions Of Virginia Rat Removal

Answering Your Perplexing Nuisance Rodent Questions

The Best In Local Rat, Mice, And Rodent Removal Services For The Areas Of Henrico, Glen Allen, Richmond, Midlothian, And  Charlottesville, Virginia

Licensed and Insured

Call Now: (804) 256-8272

Frequently Asked Rodent Questions Answered By Professionals

Virginia Rat Removal often gets calls from people asking for advice regarding their nuisance mouse, rat, or squirrel problems. Over time we have found that we get frequently asked rodent questions. That being the case, we felt it necessary to put together a list of Frequently Asked Rodent Questions and other aspects of Virginia nuisance rodents. Hopefully, you’ll find the 20+ answered questions useful. Also, if you don’t find an answer to your question feel free to fill out our contact form and shoot us your question. We will get back to you!

But, we suggest if you do have a mouse, rat, or squirrel issue, it’s always a smart move to have a home inspection to prevent any serious rodent issues from occurring in your home or business. It’s best to be proactive regarding mice, rats, and squirrels entering your buildings, whether a home, garage, or business since our Frequently Asked Rodent Questions may not address your needs.

Visit our Home Page for additional information on our Rodent Control Services.

Now On To Our Most Frequently Asked Rodent Questions

Are rats and other rodents dangerous?

Discovering a rat in your home can be alarming and stressful. They not only cause damage to homes but carry diseases that can seriously harm you and your family.

Like rats, mice and other rodents can carry a wide array of dangerous diseases. Rodents can contaminate food and various surfaces in your home with their feces and urine, putting you at risk of contracting these diseases. Some of the infections carried by rats in particular (such as hantavirus) are lethal in many cases. If you encounter rodents in your home, you should contact a Pest Control Professional for help.

If this area of our Frequently Asked Rodent Questions did not help please give us a call at (804) 256-8272.

What species of rats live in Virginia.

Virginia is home to two species of rats, the Norway rat and the Roof rat. Norway rats are also known as Brown rats, while Roof rats are also known as Black rats.

What are some signs of a rat infestation?
Some telltale signs of the existence of a rodent problem include hearing scurrying in the attic or walls, finding droppings in your kitchen or basement, and finding gnaw marks near or on food storage containers?

If this area of our Frequently Asked Rodent Questions did not help please give us a call at (804) 256-8272.

How are rats getting into my home or business?

A. Roof and Norway rats both have different ways of getting into houses and both are equally destructive. Roof rats prefer to find shelter in attics, rooftops, and crawl spaces above ground. Norway rats live at ground level and tend to burrow into homes and yards.

If you get rid of your rat problem but never seal their entry point you will continue to have rodent problems. Look for damage for the specific species of rat you have invading your home or business. Roof rats will chew through walls, insulation, pipes, and wires. Start near the top of your house and trace the damage back to their entry point so you can seal the entry point to keep other rats from getting in.

Norway rats leave behind damage to foundations, sidewalks, other structures, and patios. Begin your search for their entry point by looking in your basement or ground floor along walls to find where they may have burrowed into your home.

If this area of our Frequently Asked Rodent Questions did not help please give us a call at (804) 256-8272.

How do I rodent-proof my home?
  1. Remove Food Sources — Seal your food in airtight containers and make sure there are no open or flimsy boxes that rats could chew through.
  2. Seal Your Home — Find any cracks or crevices that rats or other pests could squeeze through and seal them.
  3. Clean Regularly — Nothing attracts pests more than leftover food. Clean all areas that will frequently have food. Keep your prep, eating, and storage space crumb-free
  4. Repellents – Some people have found repellents as an effective method to keep rats away before they make themselves at home.

If this area of our Frequently Asked Rodent Questions did not help please give us a call at (804) 256-8272.

Are rats and mice the same?

Many people confuse rats and mice, assuming that they’re two names for the same creature. However, rats and mice are different pests and sometimes require different approaches to solve the problem.

How do I know if I have rats or mice?
Some people will mistakenly identify mice in their home as rats, or vice versa. However, rats and mice are different creatures, each of which poses a particular set of risks.

The easiest way to tell mice and rats apart is by their size. Mice are generally quite small, measuring just 3 to 4 inches long with an accompanying 3-to-4-inch tail. Meanwhile, rats can be much larger. Some rats have bodies that measure up to 11 inches long in addition to a 9-inch tail. Rats can also weigh ten times as much as mice (or even more, in some cases). You can also tell whether you’re dealing with a rat or mouse invasion based on the droppings that you find. Mice droppings are like tiny grains of rice (sometimes even smaller), while rat droppings are much bigger. Rat feces are also rounded on the edges, as opposed to mouse droppings (which generally have pointy ends).

If this area of our Frequently Asked Rodent Questions did not help please give us a call at (804) 256-8272.

How do I eliminate a mice infestation?
Generally speaking, the best way to get rid of mice is through the use of traps. These can take a number of different forms, including the traditional mouse trap (which kills the mouse when triggered) as well as various types of humane live traps. It’s important to set traps in out-of-the-way places where they won’t be triggered by pets or small children. In order to keep mice from coming back, you’ll need to ensure that your home is adequately sealed. This involves filling gaps around pipes, installing new weather stripping, and so on. If you see a large number of mice, it’s a good idea to contact a local mouse control professional.

If this area of our Frequently Asked Rodent Questions did not help please give us a call at (804) 256-8272.

How do I eliminate rats?
Traps are generally recommended over poison bait by most people when it comes to dealing with rats. If you opt for bait, a rat can ingest it and then die in a hard-to-reach place (such as inside of a wall, in your attic, etc.). This can lead to a strong smell as the rat decomposes. Because a rat infestation can quickly get out of hand, working with a local rat control professional is often the best approach.

If this area of our Frequently Asked Rodent Questions did not help please give us a call at (804) 256-8272.

How do I get rid of rats in walls?

Any rodent activity within your home can be expensive if left untreated. If you suspect current rodent activity, contact us right away for a tailored solution to your rodent problem. You can take preventive measures by inspecting your home’s interior and exterior for any cracks or openings that rodents may be able to use as entry points. Rats can fit through 1/2-inch openings, while mice only need 1/4-inch to gain access to your home from outside.

If this area of our Frequently Asked Rodent Questions did not help please give us a call at (804) 256-8272.

How can I get rid of roof rats?

The key to roof rat control is to identify how they are entering a building, how they are moving within the building, and eliminating sources of food, water, and shelter. Roof rats move easily in three dimensions which greatly complicates efforts to control them. Roof rat control is an inspection-heavy process, and a variety of management techniques must be employed to control an active infestation.

Where do roof rats live or hide during the day?

Rodents are secretive and spend the daylight hours in nests and harborages that decrease the likelihood of being seen. Roof rats prefer to nest or hide among dense vegetation and heavy ground cover, in cavities, around trash and wood piles, and indoors in attics, ceilings, and structural voids.

What are some common characteristics and traits of rats?
Rats are social creatures. They like to be with other rats and tend to form very tight family bonds. Inevitably, a hierarchy develops in rat populations, consisting of one dominant rat and several subordinates. Although this is typically found amongst male rats, female rats display hierarchies as well.

Rat populations can be found in rural, suburban, and urban areas such as Henrico, Glen Allen, Richmond, Midlothian, and Charlottesville Virginia, especially if there’s a water source nearby. Rats need a water source in order to survive. They are excellent swimmers and can tread water for up to three days, holding their breath for a long time. This is how rats can survive being flushed down toilets or come back up through them to access your home.

Rats are outstanding climbers and will climb trees and get into your home via the roof. They have great memories, so once they map out a room they will remember all of the routes for a long time. However, rats do have poor eyesight, so they have to use their whiskers to get around. They use their tails for balancing purposes and to regulate their body temperatures. They can also communicate with other rats via their tails.

What do rats eat?
All rats are omnivores and opportunists. They have very sharp teeth that are constantly growing so they have to chew on hard or rough objects to control the growth. They like to chew on just about anything. But what do rats like to eat? Rats will eat pretty much anything that they come across – including carcasses.

City rats, wild rats, and non-urban rats all tend to eat different things. In the wild, rats will eat things like fruit, plants, and seeds, and are more likely to be vegetarians. However, city rats like to eat garbage and meat. They will consume pet food and any human food that they come across. That’s why it is important to make sure food sources and trash bins are secured. If you have outdoor pets, their pet food needs to be stored securely and indoors if possible.

How long do rats live?
One of the most common questions we get is: how long do rats live? Of course, this is not an easy question to answer and there is not just one answer that is applicable to all rat species.

The lifespan of a rat depends largely on whether it lives in the wild or in captivity. Rats that are kept healthy as a family pet can live up to 4 years. Rats in the wild only live 1-2 years – sometimes less.

Where do rats nest?

When looking for a nesting site, rats are looking for several key things:

  • Warmth – Rats are looking for someplace cozy that will keep them and their babies warm. They also want to stay dry during rainy and cold seasons, which is why they tend to come indoors during the fall and winter months.
  • Easy access to food – Rats are always looking for food and they want it to be close to the nest. Rats have terrible eyesight and don’t want to wander too far (although they will if the pickings are sparse).
  • Nest-building materials – Rats will use newspapers, garbage, paper towels, old sheets, insulation, grass, vegetation, leaves, and just about anything else they can use to create a soft, warm, dry place to sleep, give birth and raise their young.

As for where rats like to nest in particular, it depends on the species.

  • Norway rats (Brown rats) will create tunnels in lawns and fields. The actual nest is usually at the center and will consist of soft materials, vegetation, sticks, leaves, and other materials the rats scavenge. There will be a main entrance and exit, but there might be some dirt-covered “bolt-holes” that allow the rat to quickly escape if threatened.
  • Roof rats (Black rats) are usually found in elevated places and in the wild will live on cliffs and among rocks. Near urban areas, they can end up in your attic. Roof rats will climb trees and get onto the roof of structures, using any damaged tiles, as well as their sharp teeth, to get inside wall spaces and attics. They will use soft materials to make the actual nest for themselves and their young which can include chewed paper, insulation, and other materials found around the home.

Rats become active at night, particularly around dusk and near dawn. Norway rats that have created burrows in your yard can use plastic drainpipes to get into the basements and look for food. Black rats that have nested in the walls or attics will run between the walls, using their remarkable climbing abilities to get around and look for food.

What are the risks of rats?

It turns out there are a few risks that come with a rat infestation. It’s these that make the need for contacting a professional rat control expert so critical when rats are found around the home. Here are some of the risks of allowing rats to stay on your property or within your home.

Health Risks

You may have heard that rats were to blame for the Black Plague that devastated Europe in the Dark Ages. It was actually the fleas and parasites on the rats that caused the disease, but the fact that rats are prone to parasites like fleas and ticks means that they can bring those and underlying diseases closer to you and your family. Rats are also associated with hantaviruses and Leptospirosis.

Fire Hazards

Yes, rats can create fires. Their tendency to chew, combined with their ability to get into walls and other spaces means that they can become a danger when they come in contact with electrical wires. The insulation around electrical wires is often a very tempting treat for rats.

Once the insulation has been stripped from the wires, they pose a serious electrical hazard. This can end up causing something as relatively simple as the malfunction of an electrical device or something more serious. The exposed wires can create an electrical short that can set drywall and wood on fire. There have been cases where fires, and even explosions, have been traced back to shorts in wires that were chewed on by rats.

How do rats get into homes?
Rats will get inside using any crack or crevice. Norway rats have been known to climb up sewer pipes and into toilets. They can even chew their way through the wall. Black rats are known to use sewers for transportation and get inside when they need to, and if all else fails, to climb to your roof and enter through your attic.

So, as for how to get rid of rats once they are inside? It is usually best to contact a rat control professional. It can also be tough to find and reach rat nests within walls and crevices in attics or basements. Getting rid of rats once they have established a nest inside is difficult, but there are things you can do to prevent rats from invading at all.

Virginia Professional Wildlife Removal Services, LLC know how to eliminate rats, mice, and other rodents. We have been the leading expert in rat, mouse, and rodent control in Henrico, Glen Allen, Richmond, Midlothian, and Charlottesville, Virginia, for over 13-years. If you think that you have a rodent problem, contact us to discuss your rat control and prevention options.

We’ll work with you to find the right solution to remove and keep rats, mice, squirrels, and other rodents away from your property for good.

Is a mouse a baby rat?
No. A mouse and a rat are two different animals. They may look and behave similarly, but a mouse will not grow up to be a rat. Usually, rats and mice will not inhabit the same area due to the rats’ dominance over the mice. The most common rodents in Henrico, Glen Allen, Richmond, Midlothian, and Charlottesville, Virginia, are house mice and Norway rats; both are considered ‘true’ public health pests.
Why do the rats dig holes (burrows)?
Rats, particularly Norway rats, will dig regularly, and they use these burrows as homes. They dig out an area underground, creating space to live, feed, breed, etc. These burrows are rarely underground tunnels that surface elsewhere on the property, although they may have an escape hole. Multiple openings usually mean that there are two or more separate burrows and subsequently colonies or populations.
If there is one rat, doesn't that mean there are more around that I don't see?
The number of rats on a property is hard to establish. Norway rats sometimes travel alone from place to place; this behavior is referred to as nomadic. However, when a colony is established, estimates can be based on counting the number of burrows. Each burrow may house between 1-5+ rats, but keep in mind that this does not account for any rats that may be living in the area surrounding your property.
Does a vacant house attract rats?
No. Rats need a continuous source of food. If there is no food source, then the rats will move on. Typically, there is no source of food in abandoned houses. High grass and overgrown vegetation do not cause rats. These areas may be home to wildlife in general. Items such as junk vehicles, woodpiles, discarded furniture, and appliances do not cause rat problems, although they may use it as harborage if there is food nearby.
What should I do about rats in my vegetable garden/overgrown field?
In many cases, these rats can be Hispid Cotton rats or white-footed mice although Norway rats can also exist here.
What should I do when I see rats eating out of my dog's food bowl?
Most rodents love dog food. No matter where the rats are coming from (e.g., your neighbor’s yard, your yard, adjacent areas), the rats are there because they have found food. You should immediately remove any excess food that is sitting out. Only feed your dog a sufficient amount of food which they will eat in 30 minutes or less, and then remove what is not eaten. This gives your dog enough time to eat without making it available to the rats. Be sure to store the bag of food in a sealable container. It is important to continue proper dog feeding and food storage even after the rats are gone.
If I have a rat problem, can I just place rat poison around my house?
Generally speaking, the answer is no. You must read and follow the instructions on the package. You can only place bait where Norway rats or house mice can eat it. If outside the house, this usually means either a tamper-resistant bait box or in a locked, securable area like a crawlspace area of the house. You should always read and follow the instructions on the label. Remember, THE LABEL IS THE LAW.

Other control methods include snap traps and glue boards. Snap traps should only be used inside the home unless they can be secured such that only your target pest is likely to get to the trap.

What do I do when the bait is being eaten off the snap trap, but the rodent is not being caught?
Position the snap trap so that the baited end of each trap is placed perpendicular to the wall. Rodents generally travel with their bodies against a wall for protection. The use of 3 or more snap traps is recommended in problem areas. It may be necessary to bait a rat trap without setting the trap and allow the bait to be eaten a couple of times. Then set the trap with more bait. Rats tend to shy away from new objects, so this method gets them accustomed to the trap. Mice are more inquisitive than rats, so pre-baiting is less likely to be needed.
How can I keep rodents out of my house?
First, survey your residence to identify all openings a ¼” or larger, generally within 2 feet of the foundation, which need to be rodent-proofed. This is large enough for a mouse to get in. Although it is difficult to mouse-proof a house, any rodent-proofing measures taken are helpful. If you can find the interior entry point used by mice (i.e., a hole in the wall behind the stove, a gap around the kitchen sink drain pipe at its wall junction), then seal the opening as soon as possible. A wood or metal plate can be used to plug the hole(s) temporarily.

Secondly, ensure that all garbage, food products (EXTERIOR-gardens, grass or birdseed, dog food; INTERIOR-general drygoods), etc., are properly disposed of or stored and that all areas, inside and out, are kept clean. As stated above, if there are no food sources, rats and mice will likely seek other areas.

What if my dog eats the poison or a dead rat which was eaten the poison?
The bait is purposely placed in a tamper-proof bait box to prevent this. If a current anti-coagulant poison is used, the amount of poison one rat must eat to suffer a lethal dose is minimal. Thus, a dog would have to eat numerous dead (poisoned) rats to be affected. In case of accidental ingestion (i.e., the poison being eaten by the family pet or person), seek medical attention at once. Many types of bait actually contain a bittering agent, which is meant to prevent this from happening. We recommend that rodenticides only be used by Pest Control Professionals trained in the use of these materials.


Call Virginia Rat Removal For Expert Mouse, Rat, and Squirrel Control Services, In Addition To Clean-Up, Sanitation and Rodent Damage Repairs In The Following City Regions

Henrico, VA   Glen Allen, VA   Richmond, VA   Midlothian, VA   Charlottesville, VA