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Most Common Rats in Columbia, MD

Aug 16, 2022

Rats are a common problem in most places, including Maryland. There are a lot of questions surrounding them, though.

What are the common rats, and why are they a problem? How do I tell if I have them? Read on for the answers to your questions.

What Are Rats?

Rat is the name we use to describe many different species of rodents. They all have short hair, long snouts, and large front teeth. These two front teeth never stop growing. They use them to gnaw their way to food, water, and shelter.

Unfortunately, they can cause damage to properties and pose a threat to our health.

Common Rats in Columbia, MD

There are a few common rats in Columbia, Maryland. These are the Norway Rat and the Roof rat.

Norway Rat


The Norway rat, known as the brown rat, common rat, sewer rat, and city rat, is a large rat that weighs around one pound fully grown. They are medium brown and can get up to a foot and a half long. Their tail is shorter than their body, and they typically have a lighter underside than the rest of their fur.

Norway rats forage for their food and will eat just about anything. In urban areas, they eat our discarded food. If they’re in our homes, they find food in our cabinets. They eat plants and any protein sources they can get their hands on in the wild.

Roof Rat

Close-up of a black rat

Roof rats are also commonly called black rats or ship rats. They are smaller than Norway rats and darker in color. They weigh half a pound when fully grown and have tails longer than their bodies.

Roof rats enjoy eating seeds, nuts, and fruits. For protein, they eat insects and even snails. They hoard food. When they don’t have access to their preferred foods, they will eat just about anything like the Norway Rats.

Why Are Rats a Problem?

Rats can cause issues like structural damage to buildings and health risks to us and our pets.

Structural Damage

Rats chew a lot due to their ever-growing incisors. They may chew on things like plastic, drywall, and fabric.

This chewing may lead to them damaging your attic roofs, beams, and rafters. They can also chew on electrical wires. This causes damage and leads to the potential of an electrical fire.

Their urine and droppings can also cause damage to your property.

Health Risks

Rats are linked to the spread of several serious diseases. These include Leptospirosis, Hantavirus, and Rat-bite fever.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that needs antibiotic treatment. Hantaviruses are spread by rodents. They have a high mortality rate and come with symptoms like fatigue and muscle aches. Rat-bite fever is a bacterial disease that can be very serious or even fatal. You may experience a rash and muscle swelling when you are infected.

When Are Rats Present in Maryland?

close up of two brown rats peeping through the sewer entrance

Unfortunately, rats are present year-round. These nuisances are most active at night. They tend to hide for shelter, especially during cold days. They are present in areas with food and water access and a good location for breeding.

Signs That You Have Rats in Your Columbia, MD Property

There are a few signs to look out for if you think you may have rats. Rat droppings are typically ovular and long. You may notice nesting materials or gnaw markings. There may be the sound of munching, movement, and squeaking from inside your crawl spaces. If there are baby rats on your property, there are adult rats.

Helpful Rat Prevention Tips

While rats are difficult pests to deal with and eradicate, a bit of prevention will greatly help you prevent infestation.

You should keep food in sealed containers and practice waste management. Use trash cans with tightly-fitting lids. Immediately clean any food or drink messes. If you let them sit, they will draw rats to your property. Keep all pet food inside. If rats deem the outside of your house a food source, they’ll start coming in.

Ensure any holes in the walls or foundation of your house are repaired, along with any exclusions you may need to be done to ensure rats can’t get in.

Dependable Rat Prevention and Extermination

Phenom Pest Protection understands the importance for every home and business to be pest free. Rats not only compromise health and sanitation but also cause structural damage.

Our licensed pest control experts will conduct a comprehensive property assessment service. We aid in the effective termination of any invaders.

Call us now for a free quote and get rid of your rat problem today!


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