Biology and behaviour

Rats are classed as a Public Health Risk as they can carry and pass on potentially fatal diseases such as Weil's Disease, they can also carry food poisoning bacteria such as salmonella. Rats will invade gardens, sheds, compost heaps or even domestic or commercial properties in search of food or shelter. Household waste may also encourage rats as this can provide food and shelter. Rats can breed very quickly and can produce up to 4/5 litters a year with up to 8/10 young per litter, this makes it very easy for an infestation to build up very quickly unnoticed.


  • Brownish-grey in colour                 
  • Small ears
  • Life span 6-18 months
  • Size including tail 25cm-45cm
  • Rats have very poor eyesight but excellent hearing and sense of smell
  • The most common species is the brown rat (rattus norvegicus) also known as the 'common rat' or the 'sewer rat'

Signs to look for

  • Rats scurrying around
  • Smear marks or hairs around holes where they constantly use the same run
  • Chewing of wires or cables 
  • Smell from their urine
  • Holes or runs in soft ground or grassed areas
  • Damage to food
  • Damage to stock
  • Droppings black 6-10mm long


There are many precautions you can take to reduce the chances of getting a rat infestation.

  • Avoid build-up of rubbish which could attract, and act as shelter for rats.
  • Make sure that where pipework goes through walls that it is well sealed around the edges, any gaps could encourage rats to get in to the property.
  • When feeding the birds, make sure that all food is on a bird table, bird feeders or off the ground so rats can't get to it. Clear away any spillages.
  • Food businesses should get rid of food waste in sealed containers.
  • Make sure doors fit snugly within their frames, avoiding any gaps at the bottom.
  • Compost heaps are highly attractive to rats as they are a source of both food and shelter.

For further information, download our leaflet for advice on how to avoid rat infestations in your garden

Book a pest control appointment

We offer a free treatment for rats both indoors and outside for domestic properties, and investigate any reports of rats on public, private or commercial land.

Book a pest control appointment

If the rats are under floorboards or in roof spaces you will need to provide us with access to the area as we do not lift floorboards, cut holes in ceilings or lift roof tiles. 

Access must be made before the officer arrives at your property or no treatment will be carried out.


Need to cancel your appointment?

Due to high demand, at busy times a waiting list of 4-6 weeks could be in place for an appointment. Wasted appointments add to the waiting time for other customers, therefore we ask that you please call us to cancel any unwanted appointments. By not cancelling, your booking remains in place and the pest controller will still be scheduled to visit. This will waste not only the pest controllers time, but it also takes away an appointment slot that day that could have been used by another customer and could help cut down the waiting list for all. To cancel a booking, call 08085 834 333. 

Customer Services

Open 9am–5pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays). If you do need to call us, please try to avoid our busiest times of lunchtime and early afternoon. Many queries relating to Council Tax, benefits or bin and bulky waste collections can be dealt with directly by logging into My Account.

Telephone: 08085 834333