Rodent-like mammals have been living on the face of the earth for about 66 million years, showing up not long after the last dinosaurs went extinct. However, the rats we know of started living among humans about 15,000 years ago. When you put this timeline into context, it’s no surprise that rats have become adept at living in our homes and other structures like factories and sewer systems. As much as a domesticated rat can sometimes make for a cute and furry pet, wild rats have become one of the most dangerous household pests known to humanity. Let’s explore everything there is to know about rats in Ontario. Find out what you can do to prevent a rat infestation and how to control the rat population near you.

Common Rat Species In Ontario

In total, it’s estimated that there are more than 60 diverse rat species found worldwide. However, in Ontario, Canada, there are primarily three distinct rat species.

Brown Rats

Brown rats are also referred to as Norway rats or sewer rats. They are some of the largest rats you’ll find in Ontario and other regions of Canada. They often dig and build their burrows underground. Their diets are omnivorous, consisting of both animal and vegetable proteins. Like other rat species found in Ontario, the brown rat can also spread disease and cause structural damage to your home. 

Black Rats 

Typically, black rats are much smaller than brown rats. These critters are often found living near coastal areas, so you’ll often see them in factories or other structures near the shores of Lake Ontario. Unlike brown rats, black rats are adept at climbing. Their nests are often found in attics or lofts high above the ground. This is also why the black rat is often referred to as a roof or rooftop rat. 

Bushy-Tailed Woodrats 

Also known as a packrat, the bushy-tailed woodrat is another species of rat that is active all year-round in Ontario. Their diets are primarily vegetarian. However, they are nocturnal which means that they are mostly seen at night. Bushy-tailed woodrats are commonly called packrats because they tend to accumulate food and other small objects near their dens.

The Dangers Of A Rat Infestation

One of the main reasons why you don’t want to find yourself with a rat infestation is because this pest can cause severe damage to your home. As mentioned, rats are known for chewing through electrical wires, damaging metal, and plastic pipes, and even gnawing holes through structural beams. Chewing through electrical wiring can cause fires and short circuits.

Damaging pipes and other structures in your home can cause insulation issues, water damage, ceiling or wall collapses, and more. But what’s worse is that rats carry deadly pathogens and diseases that can spread to humans. Even if you haven’t seen a rat, you can still be exposed to harmful pathogens in rat droppings and urine. Therefore, if you do happen to find a rat nest, it’s best not to disturb it. Instead, contact a professional pest removal service to remove the nest and prevent additional damage to your home.

How To Spot Rats On Your Property

As destructive as a rat infestation may be, there are several telltale signs of rat activity you can spot before you find yourself with a severe problem. For starters, rats tend to use the same routes while they’re active. This means you can often find runways leading to and from their nests. You might also find droppings that will look like tiny brown pellets roughly the size of a grain of rice. You may also find some nesting material or loose fur along these trails.

If you’ve got a rat infestation, it’s also not uncommon to notice the presence of a strong odour caused by their urine. Other signs of rat activity include bite marks or holes in wooden structures, unusual pet activity, and scampering noises that are especially apparent during nighttime since they’re most active at night. Finding holes and bite marks on food and food packaging might also be a strong indication.

How To Control And Prevent A Rat Infestation

In terms of rat-proofing your homes, you’ll probably first want to clean up around the house and make sure all food is securely packaged and put away. Check for any pre-existing holes or crevices and try to fix those up. Usually, these are the spots that provide the rats with an entryway into your home. This also includes the outside of your home. Clear away any shrubs, weeds, or bushes that’ll help conceal them.

If there’s any garbage or trash nearby, you’ll also want to clear it up or remove it altogether. However, if rats do happen to enter your home, the best thing you could do would be to contact a reputable pest control company like Action Pest. Action Pest has been in business for at least 40 years; they’ve definitely got tons of experience under the belt. Not to mention high-tech equipment and a great team that’ll remove any unwanted pests in a quick and concealed manner. For the best pest control and removal services in Ontario, contact Action Pest today.