Rats are a common year-round problem for Long Island homeowners, and there are a couple of common types of rats you could potentially find in your own home. Here’s everything you need to know about identifying and preventing Norway rats and roof rats.
The Norway rat is an invasive species that came to North America from Europe in the 17th century on ships. It has since spread around the world on commercial ships as well as being introduced by humans into new regions.
One theory suggests the Norway rat was also brought over on ships during World War II when Long Island’s remote bayside communities were used as training bases for American soldiers preparing for combat overseas.
Besides being known as a water rat, they are also called cellar rat, brown rat and sewer rat.
What Do Norway Rats Look Like?
Norway rats are brown or grayish, medium-sized rodents with long whiskers and long, coarse hair. Their tails are scaly and colored black to dark brown, with a white tip. They have small ears and eyes and weigh between 8 and 10 ounces (225–280 grams).
Where Do Norway Rats Live?
Norway rats are adept at foraging for food, so they tend to live in places where there is sustenance nearby. They are often found near water sources and garbage dumps, since these sites can provide them with the resources they need. Norway rats also like areas with high human activity, as they can find shelter and food in places where humans leave behind garbage or other food sources.
What Do Norway Rats Eat?
When it comes to dietary preferences, Norway rats will eat most anything. They tend to prefer cereal grains, meats and fish, nuts, and fruits, but will eat what’s convenient.
How Do Norway Rats Get Inside Long Island Homes?
Once temperatures drop in the fall and winter and food and water becomes more scarce outside, Norway rats will seek entry points to your home. Believe it or not, their bodies can fit through holes the size of a quarter, so if there are any structural vulnerabilities in your home, such as a large crack in the foundation, it’s possible they’ll work their way inside. Inside Long Island homes, Norway rats nest in basements, piles of debris, or undisturbed stored items, such as boxes of holiday decorations you don’t touch often!
Roof Rats come from South America but have adapted well to living in colder climates like Long Island’s winters. They are smaller than Norway rats and have a longer tail, with a “dewlap” or loose skin at the throat similar to that of an opossum.
What Do Roof Rats Look Like?
Roof rats are small, brown rats that have a long, muscular tail and large ears. They can be distinguished from Norway rats by their smaller size and thinner coats.
Where Do Roof Rats Live?
Roof rats live in attics, basements and wall voids of buildings. They are good climbers and jumpers, so they can reach areas of your home that other rodents cannot.
Roof Rats build nests out of fabric scraps or insulation materials that are found inside your attic space; these nests will appear as small mounds near doors leading into an enclosed room such as an attic where the rat lives during the day time hours (when you’re sleeping at night).
What Do Roof Rats Eat?
Roof rats eat seeds, nuts, grains and fruits; they also eat garbage left on porches or garbage cans outside homes during the night when most people are sleeping (or trying to). The pests also chew electrical wires which causes fires!
How Do Roof Rats Get Inside Long Island Homes?
Roof Rats prefer to live outdoors but will sometimes seek shelter indoors during rainy weather if their nests become flooded with water.
Roof rats generally make their homes in trees or shrubs near buildings, but will often enter through holes made by squirrels or other animals looking for food. Roof rats can climb walls and may be found in attics, walls and crawl spaces.
They can be quite aggressive when they feel threatened; they will defend themselves even if only cornered away from their nest area!
Prevent Rats in Your Long Island Home
If you suspect Norway rats or roof rats may have found their way into your Long Island home, give us a call at (631/516) 864-6900 and ask for a free inspection!