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Rats are a huge pest problem: they eat and contaminate food, they cause damage to homes and structures, and they transmit diseases to humans and other animals. Rats will make a home anywhere they can access food and cover, including farm buildings, under houses, rubbish dumps and even sewage systems. They climb very well and can fit through a hole as small as 1/2 inch in diameter.

Norway rat rat droppings damage caused by rats gnawing
Norway rats (also called brown or sewer rats) are 13 to 18 inches long, including a 6 to 8 1/2 inch long tail. Their fur is brownish-red. Most rodents tend to be more active at night, making identifying them more difficult. Look for grimy rub marks at the base of walls (see picture) and droppings (feces): rat droppings are about 1/2 to 3/4 inch in length; mouse droppings are 1/4 inch. Look for signs of gnawing: rats have powerful front teeth and can gnaw through wood, electric cables, pipes, plastic, and metal.

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It is the policy of the State of Maine to minimize reliance on pesticides. The Maine Department of Agriculture and the Maine IPM Council encourage everyone to practice integrated pest management and to use pesticides only as a last resort. The mention of pesticides in the fact sheets linked to these pages does not imply an endorsement of any product. Be sure that any product used is currently registered and follow all label directions.