rat outside oklahoma home in the grass

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What do rats look like?

The two most common species of rats living in Tulsa homes are the roof rat and Norway rat; both have their own unique look and habits.

rat on a white background


Roof Rats

Roof rats are dark brown or black in color with a contrasting lighter colored underbelly. The bodies of adult roof rats grow to between 6-8 inches in length; their long scaly tails add another 6-8 inches to their total length. Roof rats have a pointed nose, large ears and large eyes. The light build of the roof rats makes it extremely easy for them to climb trees and gain access onto the roof and into the upper levels of buildings.

Norway Rats

Norway rats have heavier, more stout bodies and are a bit larger than the roof rat. Norway rats grow to between 7 and 9 ½ inches in length; with their tail adding another 6 to 8 inches to their total body length. Norway rats have a rounded nose, slightly bulging black eyes, small ears, and a bi-colored tail. Their fur is scruffy looking and is brown sprinkled with black hairs throughout it; the fur on their belly is lighter in color and is generally gray or white in color.

Do rats cause damage?

Yes, rats in homes cause extensive damage inside of homes and commercial properties.  Like other types of rodents, rats have large powerful incisors that allow them to easily chew through personal items and the structural elements of a building. In order to keep their teeth from overgrowing they have to constantly chew.  Inside of homes and facilities they gnaw on electrical wires, pipes, flooring, drywall, insulation, and cables.  They also damage personal belongings such as books, clothing, and linens as well as larger furniture pieces.  In addition to gnawing, Norway rats burrow underneath of and cause serious and expensive damages to cement slabs and foundations.

Are rats dangerous?

Yes, rats are dangerous to have invading your home or business. Through their urine, feces, and saliva they carry and transmit a wide variety of diseases and bacteria, in addition to parasites (mites, ticks, fleas) that they carry on their bodies and into your property.  Diseases that rats are known to spread to people include:

  • Salmonella
  • Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCMV)
  • Murine Typhus
  • Leptospirosis
  • Rat bite fever (transmitted after being bitten or scratched by a rat)

Why do I have a rat problem?

Rats over time, like mice, have come to partially rely on people for their survival. They take advantage of any small space that they can squeeze through in order to gain access to food, water, and safe warm shelter. Rats feed on a wide variety of food, and can eat most of the same things that people do. They’re also attracted to food we leave out for wildlife; properties with bird feeders typically attract rats. They are especially problematic for property owners in the fall and winter months, but will take advantage of any property that is offering them easy access to food any time of the year.

How do I get rid of rats?

Montgomery Exterminating offers effective rodent control solutions for residential and commercial properties in Tulsa and surrounding communities. If you’re concerned about rats or other rodents, please contact us today to discuss your home pest control or commercial exterminator needs. 


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Read the latest blog posts for more information about pests in Oklahoma.