There’s a good reason why rats make frequent appearances in horror movies. These Bluffton SC winter pests are unattractive, destructive and disease-ridden, and their presence can turn your property into a living nightmare.

Rats will eat just about anything, making them notorious dumpster divers. This can pose a risk for multi-family buildings and other large properties where residents and guests dispose of their trash in community dumpsters.

The unknown is always more frightening. Our Bluffton, SC winter pest experts are here to demystify the topic of rats with helpful information, including what to do if you suspect an infestation.

Types of Rats

Any rat found in Bluffton, SC is likely to be one of two different species:

Norway Rat

Norway rats are stocky in build, weighing an average of one pound, with coarse fur of brownish or reddish-gray coloring. They were unintended passengers on the boats that brought settlers to North America from Europe, and they’re sometimes referred to as wharf rats because they can still be found around the docks.

The Norway rat can be found in all of the lower 48 states. They generally live within close proximity of people, and they can make their home just about anywhere that has convenient sources of food, water and shelter.

Ironically, Norway rats favor a wholesome, nutritional diet, but they’re also opportunistic and will eat anything that’s available if necessary. Food disposed of in garbage is often nutritionally balanced enough for their needs.

Roof Rat

Like Norway rats, roof rats came to North America on sailing ships, but they’re not as widespread or well-known as their “big brothers.” Roof rats are alternately called ship rats and found primarily in the lower half of the East Coast up into the Gulf States.

There are some pronounced differences in appearance between Norway and roof rats:

– Roof rats are sleek and graceful, weighing less than a pound, as opposed to the bulkier Norway rats.

– The belly fur on roof rats is all one color, either white, buff or gray; while Norway rats have a mixture of white and gray.

– The muzzles on roof rats are more sharply pointed than the blunt muzzles of Norway rats.

– The most distinct difference between the two species may be the roof rat’s large ears, which can be pulled over its eyes. By contrast, the ears of the Norway rat can’t reach that far.

Regarding their diet, roof rats will also eat anything when necessary, but that’s where the similarity ends. Roof rats prefer a diet of fruit and nuts, much like tree squirrels, and they’ve been known to subsist on pet food, which can cause a problem where domestic animals are kept.

Dangers of Rats in Bluffton, SC

Rats pose a risk to both people and buildings. They are constantly gnawing to keep the size of their teeth under control, so they can cause serious damage to doors, walls, floors, window sills and even electrical wires and water pipes.

Even more concerning is the health threat from rats. They are known to carry a laundry list of diseases, including trichinosis, salmonella, ratbite fever and leptospirosis. Roof rats have a long history as carriers of plague. Illnesses are often transmitted by rat droppings and urine rather than actual rat bites.

Fighting Bluffton, SC Winter Pests? Trust Island Pest Control

Rats are virtually impossible to eliminate on your own. They’re extremely intelligent, so they often evade traps and other DIY controls, and rats can become vicious when cornered. Our professionally-trained team at Island Pest Control has extensive experience in removing rats and “rodent-proofing” your building to prevent future infestations.

Don’t let rats and other Bluffton, SC winter pests give you a fright. Contact us to schedule a free 58-point inspection and learn more about our safe and effective pest control programs.