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Rat Removal and Rat-Proofing

Rat hole with a pipe passing through it in the basement of a house in Chattanooga Tennessee

Rats are among the first animals recognized as pests and suspected of carrying diseases. They also were the reason the pest and animal control industry came into being. The first exterminators were known as "rat catchers" and made their livings doing just that, and very little else. It was only later on that control of insects and other animals besides rats became part of a pest control operator's job description.

There were good reasons why people hated rats enough to support an entire industry devoted to eradicating them. Aside from eating and contaminating seeds intended for planting, feed intended for livestock, and stored foods intended for human consumption, good scholarship suggests that humans were aware that rats were somehow associated with disease transmission as early as 1350 B.C.

Scientific proof of the connection between rats and the transmission of bubonic plague would have to wait until 1894, when Alexandre Yersin discovered the bacterium that causes plague, which is now called Yersinia pestis in his honor. He and other scientists also identified the transmission cycle of plague, which involves rats acting as reservoirs for the bacteria, and fleas transmitting it to humans and other animals.

Rats are still one of the most important public health pests and are known to transmit many diseases. Their health risks, as well as the damage they cause (including gnawing on wiring, which can cause fires), are why you definitely don't want rats in or around your home or commercial building. Keeping rats out of your home or business protects both your health and your property.

Pest Rat Species in Tennessee

Chart showing the differences between roof rats and Norway rats, which are also described in the text of this page

Tennessee and all of the Southeastern United States have the dubious honor of having not one, but two species of rats to contend with: roof rats (Rattus rattus), and Norway or brown rats (Rattus norvegicus). Both of these rat species are notorious disease vectors, but their habits and biology are somewhat different. Either specie can be found anywhere, but Norway rats are more common in urban areas, and roof rats in rural areas. The two species are never found infesting the same area, but occasionally may infest different parts of the same building.

Roof Rats

Roof rats are smaller and more slender than Norway rats. They have big ears, pointy noses, and tails that are longer than their heads and bodies combined. In nature, they live in trees (which is why they're sometimes called "tree rats"), and they are blessed with excellent agility, balance, and climbing ability.

As one would expect, roof rats are almost always found in attics, lofts, elevator motor rooms, church steeples and bell towers, on top of drop ceilings in commercial buildings, and in other upper areas of buildings. Their habits are much more similar to those of grey squirrels than those of their closer cousins the Norway rats. They have an exquisite sense of balance and often run along utility wires to get into homes and buildings.

Norway Rats

Norway rats are bigger and heavier than roof rats. They have blunt noses, small ears, and tails that are shorter than the combined length of their heads plus their bodies. They are burrowing rodents by nature and their front paws are adapted to digging, which they do quite well. They're also excellent swimmers. Their balance and climbing abilities, however, are not as good as those of roof rats.

In nature, Norway rats live in burrows in the soil. When they get into homes and other buildings, they're usually found in basements, crawl spaces, under sheds, and in other areas closer to the ground floor. They are capable of traveling inside walls, however, and may move to the upper parts of buildings if that's where the food is or if they are forced to move due to population pressures.

Non-Chemical Rat Removal and Control

Rid-A-Critter is one of the few Metro Chattanooga rat-extermination companies that practices safe, non-toxic rat control. We never use rodenticides (rat poisons) inside buildings, and we only use them outside when they are required by law or industry standards. (For example, some food-processing facilities are required to have exterior rodent bait stations installed around them.)

We firmly believe that non-chemical rat control and rat-proofing is the only correct way to take care of a rat problem in a building, for the following reasons:

Our safe, non-chemical, exclusion-based approach to rat control relies on trapping rather than poisons, followed by sealing up your home and building so rats can't get in. It's the safer, more environmentally-responsible, and more-permanent solution to a rat problem.

Rat Control Gallery

Here are some randomly-selected pictures of rat-control work we've done in Metro Chattanooga, Tennessee and elsewhere.

Please contact us to learn more about our raccoon-removal services in the Chattanooga, Tennessee metropolitan area. We look forward to hearing from you.


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Our Chattanooga office is trapping, removing, and sealing roof rats out of the attic of a house.
by Webmaster
Apr 03, 2020 11:09:35 am.

Noises in your attic? We can help in certain case we can seal and remove animals from your home with no personal contact.
by Dean Scott
Apr 02, 2020 11:16:28 am.

Our Chattanooga office is dispatching a crew to seal Norway rats out of a Chattanooga home.
by Webmaster
Apr 01, 2020 11:30:42 am.

From our family to yours we wish you good health and safety. During this uncertain time related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we want to assure you as a approved business for essential Services. Rid-A-Critter remains open. Thanks
by Jason Arruda
Mar 27, 2020 03:07:31 pm.

We have a crew in Tennessee today sealing roof rats out of the attic of a house in Chattanooga
by Webmaster
Mar 23, 2020 10:32:51 am.

Disgusting Rat Droppings in the Attic of a House in East Brainerd, Tennessee
by Webmaster
Mar 18, 2020 10:14:41 am.

Here's Dan Humanely Removing Animals from a Glue Trap
by Webmaster
Mar 10, 2020 10:05:57 am.

This Video Shows How to Humanely Remove an Animal from a Glue Trap
by Webmaster
Mar 10, 2020 09:57:33 am.

Norway Rat Damage to the Insulation in a Crawl Space in Signal Mountain
by Webmaster
Mar 02, 2020 11:26:52 am.

Just enjoying this Georgia weather this weekend. At my parents house fishing and noticed the wildlife out here where they belong. They can become a nuisance though when they find their way inside your home. In that case give us a call.
by Jason Arruda
Mar 01, 2020 12:24:17 pm.

Serious Rat Damage to the Insulation in the Crawl Space of a House in Chattanooga
by Webmaster
Feb 28, 2020 09:47:25 am.

Well it’s North Ga today. Seeing clients in Buford, Gainesville, Blue Ridge, Blairsville and Hiawassee Ga.
by Jason Arruda
Feb 27, 2020 11:30:35 am.

Typical Roof Rat Gap into the Attic of a House in East Brainerd, Tennessee
by Webmaster
Feb 19, 2020 11:23:06 am.

Unsealed Norway Rat Hole into a House in Collegedale, Tennessee
by Webmaster
Feb 14, 2020 09:45:37 am.

Rainy days mean animals like to stay in. If you are hearing noises in your attic on this rainy day it could be more than rain.
by Dean Scott
Feb 13, 2020 09:27:56 am.

Here's How Norway Rats Got into this House in Jasper, Tennessee
by Webmaster
Feb 12, 2020 10:16:34 am.

A Norway Rat Chewed its way into this House in Chattanooga
by Webmaster
Feb 11, 2020 10:08:59 am.

This Was How Norway Rats Got into this Building in Chattanooga
by Webmaster
Feb 04, 2020 10:42:34 am.

Going to Bainbridge Ga today for quotes for exclusions. Bats, rats and gray squirrels.
by Jason Arruda
Jan 23, 2020 11:05:03 am.

Typical Roof Rat Gap into the Attic of a House in East Brainerd, Tennessee
by Webmaster
Jan 23, 2020 10:25:56 am.

Heavy Roof Rat Rub Marks in the Attic of a House in Chattanooga
by Webmaster
Jan 15, 2020 11:24:39 am.

This Gap Needs to be Sealed to Keep Rats out of a House in Collegedale, Tennessee
by Webmaster
Jan 15, 2020 11:04:01 am.

Norway Rats Barely Squeezed Through this Gap into a House in Chattanooga
by Webmaster
Jan 15, 2020 10:59:42 am.

This Was the Roof Rat Gap into the Attic of a House in Signal Mountain, Tennessee
by Webmaster
Jan 09, 2020 10:45:56 am.

Human-Assisted Rat Hole Through the Siding of a House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
by Webmaster
Jan 07, 2020 11:15:43 am.

Excited to be at the Athens pest control conference this week. Let’s talk about wildlife and what services we provide to help.
by Jason Arruda
Jan 06, 2020 11:57:03 am.

New Blog Post: Happy New Year!
by Webmaster
Dec 31, 2019 11:39:15 am.

Want to put a stop to those pesky critters getting in your home for good? We can do that!!
by Jason Arruda
Dec 30, 2019 12:14:14 pm.

Heard it all. Squirrels in my attic, scratching noises in my attic, attic noises, animals partying in my attic, then there’s the crawlspace. Rats in my crawlspace, opossum in my crawlspace and there’s something dead in my crawlspace/attic.
by Jason Arruda
Dec 30, 2019 12:07:59 pm.

It's Pretty Obvious How Rats Got into this Brick House in Chattanooga
by Webmaster
Dec 27, 2019 11:02:26 am.

New Blog Post: Merry Christmas!
by Webmaster
Dec 24, 2019 11:07:00 am.

Pile of Rat Droppings on a Water Heater in Chattanooga
by Webmaster
Dec 23, 2019 10:04:46 am.

The Chattanooga, Tennessee office of Rid-A-Critter provides non-chemical rat-control and rat-exclusion in the Chattanooga, Tennessee Metro Area, including the counties of Hamilton, Marion, and Sequatchie, Tennesee and the cities and towns of Collegedale, Dunlap, East Brainerd, East Ridge, Harrison, Jasper, Lakeview, Middle Valley, Red Bank, Signal Mountain, Soddy-Daisy, and their surrounding areas.

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