Rats (Muridae)

Family Name
Muridae is the largest rodent family, comprising over 700 types of rat, mice and gerbils.

General Characteristics
Brown or grey in colouring with a tail that can be as long as their bodies. Omnivorous, they often live in and around buildings.

Pest Control
A thorough site survey is recommended as baiting alone is rarely fully effective. The source of the infestation and location must be found and it should be thoroughly cleaned. All possible food sources, including garbage, should be removed or stored in sealed containers.

Another key point is to seal off all likely access points. These include downpipes and holes in external walling.

The most effective way of eliminating rats is use of poison bait or rodenticide. To ensure these are deployed safely, it is recommended that an expert pest control professional is employed. They will be able to place the bait in the positions it is most likely to be eaten and will make sure secure bait stations are used to avoid accidental ingestion by domestic pets or humans.

To see the best practice and guidance for rodent control and the safe use of rodenticides, check out the CRRU UK code of best practice – Click Here


Species Characteristics
Click on the names to see their specific characteristics.


Norway Rat - Rattus Norvegicus

Norway RatRattus Norvegicus
Often known as the Norway rat but also the common, sewer or brown rat. Body length 220 to 260mm with tail 160 to 200mm. They can breed throughout the year, producing litters of an average 6 young after a gestation period of just 21 days. A female will usually produce a litter 5 times a year.a

Black Rat - Rattus Rattus

Black RatRattus Rattus
Smaller and slimmer than the Norway rat, they tend to be between 160 and 240mm in length. Their breeding and gestation periods are similar to those of the Norway rat.


Areas where they are found
Rats have adapted very well to our modern urban environment and will live anywhere they can find food and shelter. They are natural burrowers and will dig under sheds, paving or decking or into soil or compost heaps.

They are frequently found in buildings in wall cavities and roof spaces, for example, or burrowed in piles of rubbish. They are also often found near water or in drains or sewers.

Significance as a pest
Rats have been found to be carriers of over 45 different diseases harmful to man including spirochaetes which leads to Weil’s disease, salmonella, e coli and dysentery.

They are capable of causing damage to buildings, wiring and drains and can eat or spoil both stored food and field crops.

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