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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.


Reviews and Affiliations

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Found the entry point for rats getting into a garage. Vines caused spaces in the siding transitions which allowed room for the rodents to exploit. Call Ridacritter!
by Jake A.
Mar 01, 2021 04:58:24 pm.

Rats, mice and squirrels today. Wildlife repairs with trapping. Animal exclusion needed call us for a free quote.
by Jason Arruda
Feb 25, 2021 10:58:52 am.

Rainy all over Georgia it seems like. Hard for us to keep dry when we’re determined to evict the animals and seal to keep them out. In Albany Ga now for a couple quotes and then to Zebulon Ga for another quote for squirrels removal. Be safe
by Jason Arruda
Feb 18, 2021 11:10:35 am.

Keep a look out for your downspouts, squirrels love to chew into them if you have covers on the bottom. It’s baby season, so don’t hesitate to call Ridacritter today!
by Jake A.
Feb 03, 2021 03:13:57 pm.

Headed over to Albany Georgia for a quote to exclude squirrels.
by Jason Arruda
Feb 02, 2021 11:44:36 am.

Give Ridacritter a call for any of your nuisance animal needs. From Bats, to Bees, Squirrels, to Rats, Ridacritter solves all of your problems. Call for an exclusion today!
by Jake A.
Jan 30, 2021 10:25:50 am.

Very busy right now. Lots of squirrels and rats in the Birmingham and surrounding areas. Looks like bats are flying already as I’ve got several bat jobs to look at this week. Had a customer yesterday with squirrels and bats.
by Chris Scott
Jan 26, 2021 08:07:01 am.

The weather makes for a slow day, but the calls tell us the rodents are still as busy as ever!
by Amber A.
Jan 07, 2021 05:44:51 pm.

In Auburn Alabama quoting exclusions for gray squirrels today.
by Jason Arruda
Jan 07, 2021 11:01:30 am.

Lots of squirrel and rat calls today. From Birmingham to Anniston.
by Chris Scott
Jan 07, 2021 09:46:52 am.

In Alpharetta, Ga this morning providing a clearance letter to a customer so their buyers can rest assured they’re purchasing a Critter Free home. Did I mention our Warranty is 100% transferable??
by Tim McDavid
Jan 05, 2021 09:29:57 am.

Lots of squirrel calls today. It appears gray and flying squirrels are attempting to take over every attic in the Birmingham and surrounding areas.
by Chris Scott
Jan 04, 2021 05:58:27 pm.

New Blog Post: Happy New Year!
by Webmaster
Dec 31, 2020 10:41:11 am.

New Blog Post: Merry Christmas!
by Webmaster
Dec 24, 2020 11:23:46 am.

Finishing up on a exclusion in Cordele Ga and headed to Valdosta Ga for some trap checking. Good times. Happy Monday.
by Jason Arruda
Dec 07, 2020 10:46:24 am.

Headed down south today to Albany Ga to give a quote for a bat exclusion. Animals in the attic scratching and bats are keeping the customers up at night. Time for us to step in.
by Jason Arruda
Sep 10, 2020 09:42:30 am.

It's Pretty Obvious How Norway Rats Got into this House in Chattanooga
by Webmaster
Jul 15, 2020 11:04:50 am.

We have technicians working at a house in Chattanooga installing new door sweeps to keep Norway Rats out of a house. Doors often need to be adjusted and door sweeps replaced as a house settles over time.
by Webmaster
Jul 14, 2020 10:36:42 am.

Ambitious Roof Rats Chewed their Way into this House in Dunlap, Tennessee
by Webmaster
Jul 09, 2020 10:45:24 am.

Here's How Norway Rats Got Through a Brick Wall into a House in Chattanooga
by Webmaster
Jul 09, 2020 10:36:07 am.

Well-Used Roof Rat Gap into the Attic of a House in Dunlap, Tennessee
by Webmaster
Jul 01, 2020 10:55:00 am.

This was How Roof Rats Got into the Attic of a House in Chattanooga
by Webmaster
Jun 29, 2020 10:47:34 am.

Jason's Crew Cleaning Up After Rats at a Seed Laboratory
by Webmaster
Jun 26, 2020 10:54:10 am.

Jason and Justin Deodorizing an Attic After Animal Removal
by Webmaster
Jun 24, 2020 10:10:29 am.

The Roof Rats Gnawed through the Flashing to Get into this House in Chattanooga
by Webmaster
Jun 22, 2020 10:21:57 am.

Technicians from our Chattanooga office are already getting ready to head out to a roof rat-removal job in the attic of a house in Red Bank, Tennessee.
by Webmaster
Jun 19, 2020 05:18:22 am.

Picture of Roof Rat Damage to Electrical Wires in an Attic in Harrison, Tennessee
by Webmaster
Jun 17, 2020 04:03:12 am.

Heavy Roof Rat Stains on the Outside of a House in Red Bank, Tennessee
by Webmaster
Jun 17, 2020 03:52:33 am.

We'll be heading out to a house in Tennessee to seal roof rats out of the attic. They were getting in through a gap in the soffit right under the peak of the house.
by Webmaster
Jun 17, 2020 03:48:17 am.

Here's a Roof Rat Hole into the Attic of a House in East Ridge, Tennessee
by Webmaster
Jun 15, 2020 11:35:44 am.

Well-Established Roof Rat Damage to a Gable Vent in Chattanooga
by Webmaster
Jun 12, 2020 09:32:21 am.

We have a rat-removal team on their way to trap and remove rats from a house in Signal Mountain, Tennessee. The rats are getting in through a gap around the air-conditioning pipes.
by Webmaster
Jun 10, 2020 10:17:18 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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