Brown rats, or Norway rats (Rattus norgevicus) are predominantly nocturnal, although some can be spotted during the day in highly populated areas. They are considered to be the most successful mammal after humans and in fact can be found everywhere that humans live. They are the only species found in sewers in the UK, they are great swimmers but poor climbers, unlike the Black rat. Their diet is extremely broad, and they will eat almost anything that is edible, with a food preference for grain.
They eat more meat than the Black rat, and if they get the opportunity, they will eat carrion and will prey on other animals. They frequently infest public tips, slaughterhouses, domestic dwellings, warehouses, shops, supermarkets, in fact anywhere there is an easy meal and potential nesting sites.
Salmonella – carried by all rodents. This can cause mild to severe gastric illness.
Trichinosis – Pork roundworm. Initially the worm lodges in the intestines, but the larvae may invade the muscles to form cysts that are often resistant to drug treatment.
Rat Bite Fever – Murine Typhus spread by lice on the animal, they die of it, but not before they have passed it on.
Weil’s Disease – Leptospiral Jaundice (Leptospirosis). Symptoms are initially flu like, with a severe persistent headache; if someone exhibiting these symptoms has been in an area where there are rats, then they should seek immediate medical advice as this potentially fatal condition can cause damage to the liver and kidneys and needs early treatment.
Poor sanitation and the presence of rubbish help rats to survive in residential areas. Good sanitation will effectively limit the number of rats that can survive in and around any building This involves proper storage and handling of food materials and refuse, and elimination of rodent shelter (harbourage).
Outside dog pens must be properly maintained to reduce potential rat problems. Good sanitary practices will not eliminate rats under all conditions, but will make the environment less suitable for them to thrive.
Rat-Proof Construction.The most successful and permanent form of rat control is to make their access to structures impossible. Ideally, all places where food is stored, processed or used should be rodent-proof. Food containers should have tight fitting lids.
Seal any openings larger than 1/4 inch to exclude both rats and mice. Openings where utility conduits enter buildings should be sealed tightly with metal or concrete. Equip floor drains and sewer pipes with tight fitting grates having openings less than 1/4 inch in diameter. Doors, windows and screens should fit tightly. It may be necessary to cover edges with sheet metal to prevent gnawing.