Norway Rat or Brown Rat (rattus norvegicus)
The Norway rat is large, weighing in at about seven to 18 ounces. It has a blunt snout, small ears, brown fur and the underside is grey to yellowish white in colour. Its body is thick and the tail is shorter than the head and body. It is widespread throughout the UK. These rats live in the sewers and emerge where they find a weakness in the sewer system.
Black Rat or Ship Rat (rattus rattus)
The Black rat is a much smaller sleeker rat, it is capable of climbing quite readily and is usually found at roof level, for this reason,it can sometimes be referred to as the Roof Rat. As the name black rat suggests, this rat is much darker in colour, very dark brown to black. It is a much nimbler creature than the brown rat, it tends to walk on its toes rather than walking on the pads of its feet. If you see the footprints of both rats, you would easily tell the difference. It has a pointed nose, large eyes and large ears.
It prefers to eat fruit and moist foods, it is thankfully quite rare in this country. During my years in pest control, I encountered the black rat once. This was when I worked in a zoo for a pest control company, as a pest control contractor. The zoo had a display of black rats, one day the head keeper came to me and told me that some black rats had escaped from the display enclosure, and he was worried that if not caught, they could cause quite a stir if they started to breed up a population within the grounds of the zoo. There was I, referring back to my text books to refresh my memory on how to deal with black rats.
The difference between the black and brown rat goes much further than physical appearance, their habits are quite different also, the brown rat suffers from neo-phobia, a fear of new things whereas the black rat doesn’t, the brown rat prefers grains and cereals whereas the black rat prefers fruit. The brown rat lives at ground level whereas the black rat lives at roof level. After much studying and thought, I decided upon my plan of action, I asked the head keeper for some fresh fruit, I mixed this with a narcotic type of rodenticide, this meant that the rats could be saved if found after eating the poison, as the antidote for the narcotic rodenticide is just to keep the creature warm until it recovers.
I laid the bait down in the morning, making sure that I had placed it on top of some pipe work in the animal house where the rats had escaped. Just before going home, I thought that I should check that my baits were still in place and had not been disturbed. To my amazement, all of the bait had been eaten, as I was used to dealing with brown rats, I was not expecting the bait to have been touched, as brown rats can sometimes take longer to become accustomed to new things.
I reported back to the head keeper that all of my bait had been eaten, then the hunt for the narcotised rats began. Luckily we found both of the escapees, lying around on top of the pipes, they were both treated sympathetically by the head keeper, and returned to their display unit none the worse for their escapade.
House Mouse (mus domesticus)
The house mouse is small, slender and weighs up to about one ounce. It has a pointed snout, large ears, and its fur is greyish to light brown on top, lighter on the underside. It has a long tail.
Because of the high risk to humans and other animals, and potential damage to foodstuffs, electrical wiring, insulation, clothing and personal effects rodent control should be taken very seriously in the home or business. Prevention is the better than cure when dealing with rodents.