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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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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.

This was the Norway Rat Entry Hole into a House in Chattanooga
by Webmaster
May 29, 2020 10:45:09 am.

Starving Norway Rats Chewed their Way into a Pet Food Storage Container
by Webmaster
May 28, 2020 10:04:30 am.

Hungry Norway Rat Chewed its Way into a House in Chattanooga
by Webmaster
May 27, 2020 10:03:48 am.

News: CDC Warns that COVID-19 Lockdowns are Making Rats and Mice More Desperate
by Webmaster
May 27, 2020 09:43:37 am.

Our Chattanooga office just sent an inspector to check out a roof rat problem in the attic of a house in Lakeview, Tennessee.
by Webmaster
May 19, 2020 10:56:10 am.

Here's a Night Vision Video of a Trap-Shy Rat in an Attic
by Webmaster
May 18, 2020 10:05:03 am.

Norway Rats Caused a Water Leak in a Crawl Space
by Webmaster
May 13, 2020 10:49:55 am.

Video of Non-Chemical Rat Control in a Crawl Space in Americus, Georgia
by Webmaster
May 13, 2020 10:41:17 am.

Video of Justin Sealing Rats and Mice Out of a Loading Dock
by Webmaster
Apr 30, 2020 10:02:16 am.

We're rat-proofing the attic of a house in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Sealing them out is the only permanent solution to a roof rat problem in the attic.
by Webmaster
Apr 14, 2020 10:53:31 am.

We're in East Ridge, Tennessee sealing rats out of the garage of a house
by Webmaster
Apr 09, 2020 10:25:57 am.

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.

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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