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2 Types of Rats in Pennsylvania (With Pictures)

wild norway brown rat

Rats are pests that can invade your home, steal your food, and make a large mess. They can also transmit disease to humans and pets, and they can be difficult to get rid of once they get settled. If you live in Pennsylvania and are worried about what species of rat might invade your home, you have come to the right place. Here is a list of the rats that are common in this area, along with facts and tips that might help you keep them out of your home.

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The 2 Types of Rats in Pennsylvania

1. Norway Rat

norway rat sitting on a wooden pallet
Image Credit: Holger Kirk, Shutterstock
Size: 7–9 inches, with a 6–8-inch-long tail

Many people also like to call the Norway rat a sewer rat or a street rat. It has a brown body that can grow up to 9 inches long, and the tail can add another 8 inches. You will find these rats throughout the United States, especially in New York City sewers, where the population is out of control. Though they are not native to America, they have been here since colonial times and likely arrived on a shipping vessel from China. Today, you will find them all across the country, even in rural areas like Colorado, so they are no strangers to people who live in Pennsylvania. Besides being a nuisance, Norway rats can also spread dangerous diseases.

How Can I Get Rid of the Norway rat?

Unfortunately, the Norway rat is extremely difficult to eliminate, and it reproduces extremely quickly, so we recommend calling a professional exterminator as soon as you learn that one is living in your house. Norway rats are afraid of new things, so it will be hard to catch them in a trap unless it was already there when they arrived.

2. Roof Rat

Roof Rat
Image By: Christine McCall, Pixabay
Size: 6–8 inches, with a 7–10-inch tail

The roof rat is another species that you might find in Pennsylvania. Unlike Norway rats, which enjoy living on the ground level or even lower, the root rat enjoys spending time in trees, where it forages for fruit and berries. It has a dark gray color, which is why many people call them black rats. Though you will find them more frequently as you move south, you can often find them in Pennsylvania. These rats can cause many problems for the homeowner, as they often make their home in the attic, and they will damage your property by chewing through your wires, which can cause a fire. They will also eat through your insulation, drywall, and other materials, leaving the contaminated droppings behind.

How Can I Get Rid of the Roof Rat?

Fortunately, the roof rat isn’t as cautious about its surroundings as the Norway rat, so catching it in a trap is easier. However, these rats can still be difficult to get rid of, so we recommend calling a professional for help if your first few tries don’t seem to work. Most experts recommend setting up several snap traps in areas they visit.

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Tips and Tricks for Keeping Rats Out of Your Home

  • Inspect your home carefully every season, but especially just before it gets cold. Look for small holes that rats can use as entryways into your house. A rat can fit through any hole larger than a quarter, so take care of any holes that you find immediately by plugging them up.
  • Keep your garbage can lids tightly sealed to prevent rats and other pests like squirrels from getting inside. Once the rat finds food that it likes, it will return to get more.
  • Feed your pets inside the house. Dog and cat food can smell especially fragrant, and rats will eat it, so if you allow your pets to eat outside, you might inadvertently attract rats to your property.
  • If you let your cats or dogs play outside, it’s important to scoop any poop that appears, as the rats can smell it and may come closer to your property to check it out.
  • Keep trees and branches trimmed and away from your home so roof rats can’t use them as a way to get into your home.
  • Don’t keep any wood piles on your property, especially if they were already there for a while. The Norway rat is attracted to them and might take up residence and become a permanent threat.
  • Continually inspect your yard, picking up any items that might lead to clutter.
  • Store your dry goods in airtight containers so the rats can’t reach them. It will also make it harder for the rats to smell food in the house.

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The two rats that you can find in Pennsylvania are the Norway rat and the Roof rat. The Norway rat is the same kind that you find in many areas, including New York City sewers. These large rats will eat almost anything and are extremely difficult to remove, with most experts suggesting that you call in professional exterminators before they get out of control. The Norway rat is afraid of new things and will likely avoid any traps or bait that you put down. The roof rat is easier to catch, but many experts still recommend calling the exterminator if your first few traps don’t eliminate them.

Featured Image Credit: Holger Kirk, Shutterstock


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