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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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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.

A Detached Dryer Duct Allowed Rats into a House in Chattanooga
by Webmaster
Dec 20, 2019 09:51:39 am.

Failed DIY Rat-Proofing Attempt at a House in Jasper, Tennessee
by Webmaster
Dec 20, 2019 09:39:25 am.

Just want to say. I’m so grateful for the relationships we have with the pest control companies in Georgia and Alabama and Tennessee. Thank you all for the referrals.
by Jason Arruda
Dec 19, 2019 01:01:20 pm.

This Gap in the Roof Allowed Rats into the Attic of a Chattanooga Home
by Webmaster
Dec 19, 2019 10:23:38 am.

Well-Used Roof Rat Gap into the Attic of a House in Jasper, Tennessee
by Webmaster
Dec 16, 2019 11:35:43 am.

Huge Norway Rat Entry Hole into a House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
by Webmaster
Dec 16, 2019 11:21:27 am.

Here's Why this House in Chattanooga Needs Roof Rats Removed from its Attic
by Webmaster
Dec 11, 2019 11:36:59 am.

A Squirrel Chewed its Way Into this House in Signal Mountain, Tennessee
by Webmaster
Dec 10, 2019 11:13:38 am.

Old-School Norway Rat Burrow Outside a House in Chattanooga
by Webmaster
Dec 09, 2019 10:25:50 am.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Squirrels are busy this season as usual. I’m headed south to take a look at a commercial job in Macon for Bats. Yep bats their still hanging around with us despite the cooler temps. Have a good day.
by Jason Arruda
Dec 05, 2019 10:27:19 am.

New Blog Post: What Software Do We Use to Maintain this Site?
by Webmaster
Dec 04, 2019 06:29:03 pm.

Here's How the Rat Infestation Began in this Chattanooga, Tennessee home
by Webmaster
Dec 02, 2019 09:49:59 am.

Well-Used Roof Rat Entry Gap into a House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
by Webmaster
Nov 29, 2019 09:27:21 am.

New Blog Post: Happy Thanksgiving!
by Webmaster
Nov 27, 2019 11:45:10 am.

Quite Typical Roof Rat Gap Into the Attic of a House in Chattanooga
by Webmaster
Nov 26, 2019 11:52:10 am.

This Roof Gap Allowed Rats Into the Attic of this House in Chattanooga
by Webmaster
Nov 25, 2019 11:26:29 am.

Hidden Rat Entry Gap at a Chattanooga Rat Removal Job
by Webmaster
Nov 22, 2019 10:15:36 am.

This Gap in the Roof Allowed Rats into this House in Chattanooga
by Webmaster
Nov 21, 2019 11:26:25 am.

Heavy Rat Rub Marks in a House in Chattanooga
by Webmaster
Nov 20, 2019 09:56:46 am.

Tree Rats Got Into the Attic of this Chattanooga Home Through this Gap
by Webmaster
Nov 14, 2019 12:09:22 pm.

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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