Rats have been a problem for humans for thousands of years. While many selten live in the wild, there are occasions when they have been known to get into homes. Many people confuse rats with mice, and there are many reasons for this. Even though they vary greatly in size, there are some fundamental differences in the appearance of rats. In my time in the extermination business, I have found many people think they have rats when they really have mice. Rats that are infesting a home always request proper rodent control products.
Mice are much more common than rats. If you are not sure if you have mice or rats, you probably have mice. I say this because some people confuse mice as rats, but no one confuses rats as mice! This is because the rat is so much larger, and it has a long tail.
Rats also need water to survive. There are many areas where I live where there are not any reported infestations of rats. As an exterminator, I usually only suspect rats in a home if I know there is a water source nearby. Wells can attract rats, and they are also very common in coastal cities. Places like Seattle, Washington and Norfolk, Virginia have roof rats too, as they can come over from ships in ports. Rats are much smarter than mice, and some domesticated rats have even been used as work rats.
Many people keep them as pets too. If you have them as a pet, their demeanor and attitude is much different than wild rats. If they have been domesticated for many generations, they will be much friendlier than the typical wild rat. If a wild rat invades your home, you should not assume they are anything like the pet rats you can pick up at the pet store. Wild rats will travel throughout your home once they get inside. They often enter through the crawl space or the basement, but they can get into your home or business in other ways too.
Rats carry a wide variety of diseases. This is one of the main reasons you do not want them to get into your home. Despite the fears of many people, it is extremely unlikely rats will transmit rabies into humans. There are not any reported cases of this happening in the United States. There are a few reported cases of this happening in other parts of the world, but it is not likely in the United States.
They carry many other diseases too. They can often carry respiratory diseases. They do not carry fleas very often, but they can carry lice or ticks into the home. Many studies have shown that the diseases rats carry depend on where they are located. Many studies only take rats from one area, so statistics about rats may not represent the population living in your area.
Rats are one of the worst infestations you can have in your home, but you must have a water source in the area to get them in your home. Once they enter the crawl space, basement, or attic, you need to take aggressive action to exterminate them before they multiply and become a bigger problem.