There are two very different kinds of rats here in the Tampa Bay area. Hopefully this will help you identify which one you might be having a problem with and why.
There is the Roof Rat, also known as the Ship Rat, Fruit Rat, Black Rat, or Alexandrian Rat. They won't usually go beyond 100 - 300 feet from their nest. They are nocturnal and will travel the same exact route over and over, making it easier for you to trap them.
You can recognize a Roof Rat by its pointed snout and oversized ears. It is thin, with a weigh of between 6 and 12 oz and be approximately 6 1/2 up to 8 inches in length. The bald tail of this rat is longer than its head and body length combined and can be up to 10 inches.
These rats prefer to make their nest in dense ground cover or trees and in the upstairs or attics of your residential or commercial buildings. There must be a water source for these rats to survive. They feed on any food left over by people or pets, along with seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables, grains and even snails.
Reproduction is unbelievable with countless generations created each year.
Then we have the Norway Rat which is really not from Norway at all, but was first recognized there. It goes by other names as well...the Water Rat, Barn Rat, Sewer Rat, Wharf Rat, House Rat, Common Rat, just to name a few. Norway rats are typically the ones you will see and be bothered by. Once they get into your homes and commercial buildings, they are a great deal bigger problem for pest control then the Roof Rat.
Often totally black the Norway Rats have a very course fur, with a lighter belly color. They are more chunky weighing up to 24 oz. They are approximately 7 - 10 inches long, with a tail that is not as long as the head and body.
Norway rats will chew cooper, lead, wood, aluminum, even uncured concrete and cinder blocks. This rat is an outstanding climber and superior swimmer. When nesting, this rat prefers wall void, stored materials and underneath floors.
These omnivores nourish themselves on grease, meat, fish, flour, grains, cereals, vegetables and fruits or any crumbs not cleaned up after our meals and snacks. A water source is crucial.
Sexually active by 5 weeks of age, these rats will give birth to as many as 7 litters annually. The normal adult will live anywhere from 9 months to 2 years.
If you would like more information on, RESIDENTIAL and COMMERCIAL PEST CONTROL for RATS, call Safari Pest Control, LLC. We service Tampa & Plant City, FL. It's a jungle out there!