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What Portland Homeowners Need to Know About Rodent & Wildlife Infestations

What Portland Homeowners Need to Know About Rodent & Wildlife Infestations

While internet sensations like Pizza Rat and Rocket Raccoon may paint a friendly picture of rats, raccoons, and other wildlife, I’d still wager that you don’t want these creatures destroying your property.

For instance, you probably wouldn’t enjoy waking up to scratching noises in the ceiling, a bat flying through your bedroom, or glass bottles shattering as these “friendly” critters rummage through your garbage. Unfortunately, here in the Pacific Northwest, these are all very common scenarios.

In today’s blog post, we’ll outline what Portland homeowners need to know about rodent and wildlife infestations. You’ll learn the more serious damage these creatures can cause, what to look for, and how to (safely and properly) handle an infestation.

Have questions along the way? Give us a call at (503) 222-5566. We’re here to help!

Rodents and Wildlife Can Cause Serious Damage to Your Home

Dealing with a rodent or wildlife infestation in your home is more than a nuisance; it’s a safety issue. These creatures are frequently the cause of fire hazards, foundation issues, diseases, and bugs.

We recently shared about the costly structural damage rodents and other pests inflict on homes throughout the PNW. Below we’re sharing a recap of some of the most common issues caused by rodents and wildlife.

 

Rats, Mice, & Bats Cause Insulation and Electrical Damage

Rats, mice, and bats all love to make their home in your insulation. Can you blame them? It’s the perfect warm, quiet, and cozy spot to sleep. When these critters tear through and chew holes in your insulation, the result is a weakened structure and a home that isn’t properly protected from the elements.

These creatures will also chew through anything that’s in their way, including electrical wires. Electrical fires accounted for 9% of all fires from 2011-2015. Often, rodents and pests are the cause of these electrical home fires.
 

Possums and Raccoons Leave Holes Everywhere

A dug up lawn or garden may not endanger your family, but it is frustrating. Raccoons will dig holes to hide food or other treasures, and opossums like to look under your yard for bugs to eat.

More seriously, raccoons are avid explorers and will stop at nothing to get into your house or attic if it looks interesting. They may even suddenly crash through your ceiling one day! These critters are often the cause of siding damage, broken glass, and holes in your roof or under your house.
 

Rats and Raccoons Steal and Destroy Your Property


Racoons are sneaky little bandits. If you have something they want, they’re going to take it (or try to, anyway). Take the rogue raccoon who broke into a liquor store in Tennessee, stealing spirits and causing a lot of damage. These creatures are mischievous!

Rats and mice are also known for sneaking into your home and stealing food or other tiny objects, gnawing on whatever they want along the way.
 

All Rodents & Wildlife Bring Bugs and Disease

In addition to all the above, keep in mind that all these rodents and wildlife carry various diseases and bugs. Raccoons and bats are common carriers of rabies and rats can transmit diseases like salmonella and hepatitis. Not to mention these creatures often also have parasites, fleas, and ticks and can be dangerous to your pets.

The Best Way to Prevent a Rodent or Wildlife Infestation

There are simple steps you can take to prevent rodents and wildlife from taking over your home. However, keep in mind that no matter how careful you are, a critter may still decide that your house looks interesting and is worth exploring. In these cases, it’s best to:

  • Keep up with home repairs – Don’t let holes, leaks, or other damage go untreated. Sealing up these spaces and keeping your home in good shape will help prevent rodents and wildlife from viewing your home as a good nesting spot and getting inside.
  • Maintain your yard – Cut back trees, keep ivy trimmed, add tree guards to your trees. All these can prevent critters from crawling up and onto your roof.
  • Store food properly – Unsealed food, food left on counters, or pet food sitting in the open is very attractive to rodents and wildlife.
  • Secure your garbage cans – Make sure your garbage cans are always closed. Don’t leave trash sitting out in bags. Keep the area around your garbage cans clean and clear.

Signs That Your Property Has a Rodent or Wildlife Problem

Aside from actually seeing a rat or opossum scurrying around your house and property, how do you know if you’re dealing with a one-off situation or are on the verge of an infestation?

Generally, if you begin to notice these critters on a recurring basis, it’s a good sign you have a problem. However, there are other specific things to watch out for, including:

  • Animal noises and droppings – Do you frequently hear scurrying or scratching noises in your walls or ceiling? You may also notice urine stains on your ceiling, floors, and walls, or find animal droppings in your pantry, attic, or living spaces.
  • Signs of internal or external damage – Around your house, look for holes in your siding, fences, and lawn. Garbage strewn about or broken glass is another sign. Inside, keep an eye out for teeth marks, frayed wires, or wood chips.
  • A foul smell – Creatures living in your home will soon start to stink up the place. This can come from their urine and droppings, old food they’re storing, or from those that have died in your walls or attic.

Never Try Removing these Animals on Your Own– It’s Dangerous

One of the most important things Portland homeowners need to know about a rodent or wildlife infestation is this: trying to trap and remove these creatures on your own can be very dangerous.

Raccoons can be aggressive. Rats may bite when provoked. Bats may attack if they feel threatened.

If we can leave you with one piece of advice today, it’s to never handle bats, raccoons, or other wildlife on your own. There’s simply too much risk involved. If you’re dealing with a rodent or wildlife issue, it’s best to work with an experienced Portland exterminator.

Always Clean Up after a Wildlife or Rodent Infestation

Did you know that simply removing the animals from your home is not enough? There are a series of steps that need to happen in order to repair damages and prevent a future infestation.

For example, rats and bats can leave behind feces and urine in your home, contaminating your insulation with dangerous viruses and parasites. Plus, the scent of a previous infestation can also attract other species. This needs to be removed and cleaned up to keep your home and family safe.

How We Can Help You Handle a Rodent or Wildlife Infestation

Whether you’re facing a full infestation or dealing with a just couple stubborn raccoons, we can help.

Here at EcoCare, we take a proven and eco-friendly approach to rodent and wildlife control and extermination, not only removing the infestation, but preventing future issues as well. We even partner with a sister construction company to perform larger, more technical cleanup and repairs.

Have questions about working with us? Visit our FAQ page to learn more. Or contact us. We’d be happy to hear from you, answer your questions, and help you take care of your rodent or wildlife issue.

Things to Consider When Eliminating Rats

How To Eliminate Rats in Your Portland Home

Portland-area residents have been dealing with rats ever since the late 1800s when the Brown Rat first arrived in the PNW from Southeast Asia. Today, rats are incredibly common throughout the city. In fact, Portland was recently ranked number 17 in Orkin’s annual list of most rat-infested cities in the US!

Even though Portland has more or less learned to live in harmony with its population of Rodentia, no one wants to actually “live” with them. The good news is, keeping rats out of your home is easier than you think. Plus, we’re here to help you along the way.

In today’s blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know in order to successfully eliminate rats from your Portland area home.

 

Need the Help of an Experienced Portland Rat Exterminator?
Call (503) 222-5566

Understanding the Portland Rat

When it comes to keeping rats out of your home, having some background information about these critters is helpful.

Mouse vs. Rat EcoCare Pest Control Portland

The Difference Between a Rat vs. Mouse

People often get these two rodents confused, but there are some simple ways to tell them apart:

Rat Mouse
Size Large (13-18 inches) Small (1-3 inches)
Tail Thick and shorter than its body Thin and same length or longer than its body
Ears Small, relative to the head Large, relative to the head
Nose Large and wide Narrow and sharp

Can you tell the difference between a rat and mouse? Take this quiz to test your ability!

Common Rats in the PNW

The Norway Rat is one of the most common rat species here in the Pacific Northwest. Despite its name, the Norway Rat likely came from Asia. This type of rat is also sometimes called a House Rat, Sewer Rat, Wharf Rat, or Brown Rat.

A Norway Rat is typically brown or gray in color, has shaggy and coarse hair and a dark and scaly tail.

Roof Rats can also be found in the area. These rats are smaller than Norway Rats and are generally black in color. They also have smooth fur and fairly large and hairless ears.

What Do Rats Eat?

Rats don’t tend to be picky about their food choices. They are omnivorous and will munch on pretty much anything.

Even so, according to one study, some of a rat’s favorite foods include scrambled eggs and macaroni and cheese. Beets, on the other hand, are their least favorite food.

Are Rats Dangerous?

One question we hear a lot from our customers is, “Can a rat hurt me?” The answer is yes. Whether by biting you or spreading disease in your home, rats can be hazardous to your health.

Rats carry and can transmit several diseases, including:

  • Salmonella
  • Hepatitis
  • Tularemia
  • Plague
  • Parasites

These diseases can be spread through their urine, feces, saliva, and hair.

Rats can be unpredictable and may bite a human if confronted or provoked. Sadly, children are often the easy victims of rat bites. Thankfully, rat attacks aren’t very common here in the Portland area. As an example, between 2010 and 2012, Oregon registered just 17 rodent bites, and none of them were near Portland.

 

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Warnings Signs of a Rat Infestation

Rats reproduce at an incredible rate. If you notice rats in your home, it’s important to take care of this issue as soon as possible. A handful of rats running around your home could turn into a massive infestation in no time at all.

Be on the lookout for these tell-tale signs of a rat problem in your home:

  • Rat Droppings – Even a single Norway Rat can leave up to 30 droppings a day.
  • Damaged Food Containers – As we mentioned, rats love food. They’ll stop at nothing to get to the tasty treats you have in your house. Watch for gnawed up cardboard food boxes, plastic bags, or other food containers.
  • Sounds of Movement in Your Walls – At night (when rats are most active) you might start hearing rustling in your walls, floorboards, and ceiling.
  • Dark Marks on Your Walls – Norway Rats often rub their oily fur along surfaces, leaving dark marks on your walls.
  • Distracted Pets – Your dog or cat may become very interested in an otherwise uninteresting area of your home when they hear, smell, or see a rat.

How to Prevent Rats in Your Home

The best method for getting rid of rats is prevention. Here are the most effective steps you can take to keep rodents out of your home.

Stay on Top of Home Repairs

Keeping your home in top shape is important. Don’t let holes in your interior and exterior walls or flooring go untreated. Sealing up these spaces will prevent a rat from squeezing through. Plus, any hole at least one-quarter of an inch wide can be made larger by strong rat teeth.

Keep Rats Off Your Roof

Once a rat can access your roof, they’ll probably soon find a way (or make their own way) into your house. Don’t make it easy for them to get up there!

Pay special attention to your landscaping. Rats are great climbers and will often scurry up trees, branches, and ivy to get into your home. Ensure there aren’t any tree branches or bushes extending near or over your roof.

Cut back ivy along your house, and trim branches at least 4 feet from utility wires. Additionally, you may want to consider tree guards around the base of your tree trunks.

 

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Maintain the Area Around Your Home

Beyond the structure of your home, keep your surrounding property clean and tidy. This means ensuring the lid stays on your trash can, not leaving animal food sitting out, and eliminating large areas of standing water around your home.

Store Food Properly

Inside your home, you should rat-proof your pantry and kitchen. First, make sure you use sealed containers for all your food items. Keep food containers off the floor and away from walls.

Get rid of old, spoiled foods and don’t let food sit out for long. Avoid letting dishes pile up in the sink, and always wipe down your counters at the end of the day. Use lids on your trash can.

Remember, hunger is the best contraceptive for rats. If they aren’t able to get enough food, the less likely they’ll be to reproduce or stick around your home.

What to Do If You Have a Rat Infestation

Getting rid of a rat problem once it’s started can be very difficult. There are several options you can try, but depending on the seriousness of your rat problem, these may or may not be effective. It’s always better to call an experienced Portland area exterminator for help.

 

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Rat Snap Trap

This is a large wooden or plastic trap using some sort of bait. When the rat takes the bait, a metal bar will snap down on the rat and kill it. This is a good way to get rid of some rats but can be ineffective if you don’t place the trap in the right spot. And don’t get your finger caught in these traps as they have been known to break fingers!

Live Trap

A live trap lures a rat inside an enclosed area where it can’t escape. This method does not kill the rat, so you have to humanely kill the animal or release it away from your home after you’ve caught it. Keep in mind that handling a rat– especially when it’s alive– is dangerous.

Bait Stations

Bait stations do not trap the rat. Instead, they use a poisonous bait to attract the rat. The active ingredient in the bait is only around ¼ of 1% so it has a delayed reaction of two to five days before the rat dies. This way, the other rats don’t associate the bait with dying and causing them to stay away.

Trying to eliminate a rat infestation on your own–especially if using poison– is dangerous to you and your family! Children and pets can accidentally come into contact with the poison. Plus, poisoned rats will often die in the walls of your house, causing your whole space to stink.

 

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Get Rid of Rats in Your Home

If you’re facing a rat problem in your home, we can help! We’ve been helping Portland and Vancouver area homeowners eliminate rats for over 15 years and understand how to approach this issue effectively.

When you call us to help solve your rat problem, you can expect…

  1. A thorough rat inspection of your home and infestation analysis. We’ll explain our findings and recommend the most effective treatment plan.
  2. Expert rat-proofing. We’ll seal off and prevent any more rats from getting into your home.
  3. Eco-friendly and efficient extermination methods. Our team uses powerful rat traps to effectively and humanely move these rodents from your home. Our methods are safe for people and pets!

Ready to eliminate rats in your Portland or Vancouver home? Contact us today. We would love to help you.