There are two major species of rats in Houston, the Norway rat and the black rat or roof rat.
These two kinds of rats have different habits and will respond to different rodent control strategies and treatments, but any kind of rat inside your home can spread disease and should be a cause for concern.
When Norway rats infest homes, they will usually make nests in basements, crawlspaces, or other less-frequently used area of the house. Keeping garbage cans well sealed and keeping the area around your house clean can be helpful in reducing the chances of rats coming into your home. Norway rats breed quickly, so if you see a rat or see gnawed wood, droppings, or other evidence of the presence of rats in your home calling in professional rodent control is highly recommended.
The black rat, or roof rat, has dark, soft, smooth fur with a sharply pointed face and large ears. These rats can grow up to a foot in length, including the tail. As the name roof rat suggests, they are very good climbers and can often be seen in Houston walking along tree branches and power lines.
The black rat is probably the most famous transmitted of infectious disease in human history. It was this species of rat that was responsible for the spread of the bubonic plague in Europe in the late middle ages, a disease which killed as much as 60% of the population of the continent in a few short years. Fortunately, plague is less of a problem in Houston, but these rats still spread many dangerous diseases and should be treated as a serious threat to health if they are in your home.
If you have rats in your home, sealing off their points of entry is an important part of getting rid of them. This can be complicated with black rats, because they are excellent climbers and so their point of entry may be at any level on the house, from the roof to the basement. Having a pest control professional go over your home and identify possible points of entry is an important part of getting rid of these rats.