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Types Of Rats: What Infest Texas Homes

In this article, we will cover different types of rats in Texas, such as Norway rats, roof rats, Polynesian rats, and wood rats. Learn to identify each of the types of rats based on their size, color, and other interesting peculiarities. We will discuss why it is important for homeowners to learn the exact type of rat living in their household, the way to treat rat infestation, and when it is time to call an expert. We will tell where exactly the most common types of rats in Texas can be found, and how long the rats live in different conditions and environments. After reading this article you will be able to identify the type of rat and what to do.

How to Identify Different Types of Rats in Texas

In order to identify the different types of rats, you need to know which rats are most common in Texas. While there are over 70 types of rats, generally there are just a few varieties that typically give home and commercial property owners big problems. Let us take a look at rats and how to identify the most common types of rats based on appearance and behavior. Below we will consider the peculiarities of Norway rats, roof rats, wood rats, as well as Polynesian rats that are the most common types of rats you will find in Texas.

Norway Rats

Norway rats are also called brown rats as they usually have brown fur and a white belly fur. They have small ears and blunt noses. They have scaly, hairless and bi-colored tails that are smaller in length than their body.

Norway rats’ bodies grow to about 9.5 inches in length, and their tails add another 6-8 inches.

Norway or brown rats have poor vision and rely on their long whiskers to find their way. Their droppings are about a half-inch long and have rounded ends.

The Norway rat is the most common rat among all of the types of rats in Texas, and they usually pose the greatest challenge to remove from properties.

Roof rats

Roof rats are also known as black rats in Texas. They have pointed noses, large ears, large dark-colored eyes, long tails, and black or brown fur coats. Roof rats’ eyes and ears are larger than those of Norway rats and they have gray highlights running throughout their fur and have a lighter-colored underbelly.

They generally have long, slim-built bodies that grow about 8 inches in length. Their tails add another 6-8 inches to their total body length. Roof rat droppings are shorter than those of a Norway rat – around a centimeter in length with pointed ends.

Polynesian rats

Polynesian rat, or long-haired rat, has brown fur with a lighter belly.

A Polynesian rat’s size is smaller than Norway rats. This is the smallest rat out of all types of rats in Texas.

A Polynesian rat’s tail can be longer or shorter than their bodies. These types of rats have large round ears, a pointed snout, and comparatively small feet.

Its thin, long body can reach up to 6 inches in length from the nose to the base of the tail. It can be distinguished by a dark upper edge of the hindfoot near the ankle while the rest of its foot is pale.


Woodrats are the largest of Texas types of rats that can grow over a foot in length, including the tail, and can weigh over a pound.

They are most easily identified by having long bushy tails covered with a visible layer of fur. Woodrats have mostly grey fur on their back and tawny brown on their sides.

It is less common to find woodrats in your home in Texas. However, when they do infest a home or business, they are generally the least harmful of all the types of rats in Texas.

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Importance of Identifying the Type of Rats in an Infestation

It is important to identify the type of rats that are living or infesting in a home in order to find out the best method to eradicate and prevent them from coming back.

There are various methods of prevention and control, but when there is an infestation, serious measures must be taken. These measures include baiting and poisoning outside in protective boxes, destroying rats’ habitats, maintaining a hygienic environment, and rodent-proofing your home.

All types of rats in Texas, including both Norway rats and roof rats, carry diseases like salmonella, leptospirosis, and bubonic plague that are harmful to both people and pets. These diseases can spread if a person or animal was bitten by a rat directly, or by fleas or ticks infected by a rat.

Rodent Control

Roof and Norway types of rats cause extensive damage to the structure of a home or garage, mainly because of their gnawing habits. Rats’ front teeth grow continuously and therefore rats need to gnaw constantly. Rats can do a lot of damage when they build a nest inside a home. They can also cause a serious fire hazard as they gnaw through electrical wiring as well.

These types of rats are able to cause structural damage to wood, drywall, and other elements of the home. Rat urine and droppings are also unsafe for people’s health.

For these reasons, if you have any of these types of rats inside your home, it is extremely important to get rid of them once and for all.

Unfortunately, if you spot one rat, there are likely more which is why many homeowners are frustrated with setting traps on their own. Not to mention that many DIY and store-bought rat traps are potentially hazardous to young children or pets.

For instance, rat poison is one of the most favored do-it-yourself methods to treat a rat infestation. However, rodenticide is toxic not just for rats and mice, but also for humans, pets, birds, or any other animals that come into contact with it.

Most rat poisons typically take between 3 to 10 days to kill a rat after ingesting the poison. For this, a major disadvantage of using rat poison is the risk that a rat will end up dying in a hard-to-reach location resulting in terrible odors.

If you are concerned about a rat infestation in your home and unsure which measures to take, it is time to call an expert.

Safe Pro Pest Control can help you. We are a family-owned and operated extermination company with the best trained, licensed, and experienced technicians exterminating and protecting your family and property from rats, other rodents, and pests.

For twelve years in a row, Safe Pro Pest Control has been chosen as Angie’s List award winner for pest control in Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. We specialize in both residential and commercial properties of all shapes and sizes. Safe Pro Pest Control offers sniper-precise solutions that destroy, exterminate and defend your property from just about all the types of rats you may encounter living in North Texas.

You can book your Free Inspection with zero cost and zero obligation. We take the time to thoroughly inspect your property and home and provide you with a detailed solution for getting rid of pests and protecting your home from future infestations.

Our services include a lifetime warranty providing you peace of mind that you are getting the best service possible. This means if you have a rat infestation in the future, it will be exterminated at no extra cost. Contact us for more details about our services.

Where the Most Common Rats Are Found in Texas

Now that you know about the most common types of rats in Texas and how to tell them apart. Let us discover where you are most likely to find the most common rats in Texas.


Norway rats

Norway rats normally live outdoors, nesting in burrows in the ground. They can sometimes head indoors looking for food or shelter when they cannot find these essentials outside. This is especially true during the winter when it is getting too cold and too hard to find their normal food.

During other seasons throughout the year, a home invasion can happen in case of a flood or other natural event that flushes Norway rats out of their natural burrows.


rodents rat in Texas

Norway rats like staying on farms as they prefer yards that have gardens, fruit trees, animal feed, trash, and other easily accessible sources of food. When Norway rats move into someone’s home or the garage, they follow their burrowing instincts and build nests in places low to the ground.

Norway rats like to settle in basements, crawl spaces, or beneath the flooring in a home with a pier-and-beam foundation. They might also burrow along the foundation of a home or other structure to build their nests. As Norway rats are not skilled climbers, these rodents do not build their nest on anything higher than the first floor of a home.


Roof rats

Unlike Norway rats, roof rats, as we can see from their name, are natural climbers and prefer to build their nests in high-up locations such as in attic rafters or eaves. Roof rats seek out locations in trees, shrubbery, attics, or crawl places.

Roof rats can easily scale a tree and jump down onto the roof. Once they have access to your roof, roof rats can chew their way into many points of vulnerability. They can easily gain access to your attic and eventually the rest of your home.

Roof rats love to hang out in abandoned homes, however, even newly built houses can be infested by roof rats. If there is new construction, demolition, or renovations of buildings or housing, there is always a higher risk of a pending rat problem. In this case, extra precautions need to be taken during the construction process to ensure that your new home is rat-proof.

Like most types of rats, roof rats can travel up to 300 feet from their nest in search of food and patrol their territory. However, they will venture much farther if the food and water are not available nearby.



Woodrats are known for their rather large nests built from twigs and their tendency to hoard items. This is where the term “pack rat” got its start.

Woodrats while searching for food will also collect other shiny items that appeal to them. Woodrats tend to keep away from people but it’s possible for them to nest in unutilized closets or sheds.

Woodrats prefer to be left alone but can become a nuisance. Homeowners and businesses that are in rural areas are prone to attract woodrats. Especially if there is a farm or uninhabited land nearby.

Many housing developments that pop up in rural areas may notice a rise in woodrat sightings as we encroach upon their area. Fortunately, woodrats will seek isolation eventually, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t find your home a nice, warm, dry, and secure place to nest.

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Rat Life Expectancy

When we consider how old rats can get, we should note that it depends greatly on the species of the rodent, living conditions, genetics, and diet.

The lifespan of a rat depends greatly on whether it lives in the wild or in captivity. The latest research suggests that rats in the wild live only one or two years.

Of course, different types of rats can have different lifespans. For example, brown rats average about a 2-year lifespan, while black rats live to about a year. Only about 5% of wild rats can live up to three years and more. In contrast, healthy pet rats can live up to four years.

To some it may seem that the lifespan of a rat is rather short, however, it is equivalent to 45 human years. In a rat’s lifespan, they manage to do a whole lot of damage and produce an enormous family to continue their legacy.


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Rats are social animals and most rat species live in nests consisting of an alpha male, several females, and then their young. Female rats often outlive the males. A female rate can have six to ten babies at one time. Young rats are sexually mature when they are 3 months old.

The lifespan of a rat may be shortened by predation. Th most common causes of death for a rat are vehicles, domestic cats and dogs, winged animals, coyotes, foxes, and snakes. The death of urban rats often occurs due to various pest control methods, such as the use of traps, baits, and other forms of rat control.

Rats can survive from one to two weeks without having anything to eat. Like squirrels, they like to store their food, so even if you cut their food source they would still have some reserve left for them for a while. Rats do not need much water and can live longer without water than they can without food.

Rats can live for up to three to ten days after eating poison, depending on the type of poison. Various rodenticides act differently and take a different amount of time to get the job done. We do not recommend using rat poison as it can lead to a rat dying somewhere in your home where it is hard to reach and remove it. As the rat starts decomposing there will be a pungent smell in your home.

While it is important to identify the type of rat in your home, it is still best to leave extermination efforts to the experts.

At SafePro, we care about your family and work with integrity to take care of your home. Nobody wants to live with a pest problem, so after a thorough inspection, we will discuss the various extermination methods that are best for the type of rat, amount of damage, and size of infestation.

We are a family-owned and operated business with trained, licensed, and experienced technicians. We specialize in residential and commercial properties of all shapes and sizes. No job is too big or too small.

We offer white-glove service from start to finish. And we focus on long-term protection and prevention, so you can live pest-free.

The GREAT NEWS IS… Safe Pro Pest Control Can Help

There is a reason Safe Pro Pest Control has been chosen eight years in a row as the Angie’s list award winner for pest control in Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

Let’s take a closer look at what makes Safe Pro Pest Control the #1 voted rat extermination eight years in a row.

When you Book Your FREE Inspection, here’s what all you get with zero-cost and zero-obligation:

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