Description: The body is about 7in to 10in long and tail adds an extra 6in to 8in in length. They are stocky rats weighing about 7oz to 18oz. They are brown to black in color with coarse hairs. They are able to fit through 1/2in hole.
Habits: Nocturnal and become cautious about changes to their environment. Outdoors, they prefer to nest in burrows, railroad track beds, near stream or river banks and next to buildings. Indoors, they prefer to nest in the lower levels and crawlspaces of buildings. These rats have the ability to cause significant structure damage. Food preferences include meats, fish, and cereals.
Treatment: Proper treatment includes sanitation, elimination of shelter areas, and rodent-proofing. Stored foods should be at least a foot off the floor. Rodent abatements, installation of door sweeps and the placement of bait stations is essential in controlling or eliminating these rodents. With rats being cautious of new objects in their environment, leaving bait stations in the same place helps them to become more accepting of this change.
Fact: Leptospirosis, a bacterial disease, is spread by rats through eating foods and drinking water contaminated with infected rat urine.