Rats and rat control

Signs of a Rat Problem

Rats are nocturnal and usually hide from humans, so the typical signs to look out for in the home or business are: 

Scratching noises in walls, under the floor or under decking as rats scurry around looking for food

Droppings – rats leave dark, tapered droppings about 10 - 14mm long. Distinctive smell – rats leave an ammonia-like smell that will be particularly strong in enclosed areas such as under cupboards or in loft spaces 

Damage – rats' teeth grow continuously, so they gnaw on wood and plastic to keep them trim. Rats can even cause fires by chewing through cables 

Ripped food packaging – rats will tear open all types of packaging to find food which may leave teeth marks 

Nests – rats build nests in warm, hidden places using shredded material such as newspaper, plastic and fabrics. Nests will often contain young rats

Burrows - Rats will dig burrows in gardens, especially in compost heaps or under sheds. They will also build nests under garden decking 


Brown Rat

Brown Rat

(Rattus norvegicus)

Brown rats usually prefer ground living and burrowing, but sometimes they can be known to climb.



  • The brown rat is up to 40 cm in length, with a tail shorter than the head and body
  • It grows to between 350 – 500g in weight
  • It has a blunt nose, small ears and a thicker body when compared to the black rat (Rattus rattus)

Life Cycle

  • Rats have 7 – 8 young per litter, and between 3 – 6 litters a year
  • The gestation period is about 3 weeks
  • It only takes 10 – 12 weeks from birth to reach sexual maturity


  • The brown rat is the only species to occur in sewers in the UK
  • Preferred food is cereals, although they are omnivorous
  • They will eat around 30g of food a day and drink 60ml of liquid

Black Rat

Black Rat

(Rattus rattus)

Black rats are rare in the UK. Their appearance is usually confined mainly to ports.


  • The black rat is between 16 – 24cm in length, with a tail longer than the head and body
  • It grows to between 150 – 200g in weight
  • They have a pointed nose, large ears and a slender body when compared to the brown rat (Rattus norvegicus)

Life Cycle

  • Black rats produce 5 – 10 young per litter, and have between 3 – 6 litters a year
  • The gestation period is about 3 weeks
  • It only takes between 12 – 16 weeks from birth for them to reach sexual maturity


  • They often climb as they are incredibly agile
  • It is rare for them to burrow and they are rarely found outdoors in the UK
  • Their preferred food is moist fruits. Black rats will eat around 15g of food a day and drink 15ml of liquid

Rats in Your Home Or Business

Rats pose a Significant Health Risk to humans and our pets. Common diseases carried by rats include Salmonella, Weil’s disease, E.coli, cryptosporidiosis and tuberculosis. 

Rats also carry fleas, mites and ticks and can cause acute allergic reactions.


It is extremely serious if rats are getting into your home, even if they are not entering a direct living area. Any rat problem inside the home or business must be treated urgently.

Rats in the garden and other external areas can also be high risk, particularly in areas used by children or pets.

It is important to get rid of rats in the garden to reduce the risk of them trying to enter your home. Special care is needed for houses with integral garages or with dog or cat flaps, as rats can use these to get into your home. 

How to Get Rid of Rats

If not treated, a rat infestation can quickly take hold. 

Forest of Dean Pest Control recommends treatment by one of our experienced technicians for rat activity in living areas or in your garden or outbuildings

The Forest of Dean Pest Control technician will provide a highly targeted treatment to deal with any rat problem and will advise on how to keep your home free of rats in the future. 

Forest of Dean Pest Control offers a call-out service to deal with rats and other pest problems in the home. Our service is fast, effective and offers the highest level of safety for your family and pets. 

If You Have a Rat Infestation

If you would like further advice or to arrange a visit from one of our service technicians, please call me on:  

Office: 01594 528359 Mobile: 07842 822522. 

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