Some people may think that rats are cute, harmless little furry creatures that scurry around from time to time.
Some may even think they would make a great pet. Patriot Pest & Termite Control would like to thoroughly warn you of the dangers of pack rats found in Northern Arizona.
Unlike the common roof rats and Norway rats in AZ, pack rats are more susceptible to the Quad City area.
Here are 7 ways to determine if your property has fallen prey to these squatters.
First off, do not be fooled by the appearance of pack rats. Their looks deceive! They bring the risk of disease to your family and destruction to your home.
We will explore this more but first, let’s get you up to speed on how to spot a packrat infestation.
7 Signs To Identify a Pack Rat
1. You see a rat
To identify the common pack rat in AZ, you need to look for a rodent about the size of 12-16”, with a body that is 7-8” long and a tail length making up the difference. Unlike other rats, they have big ears and bushy tails.
If you see a single-pack rat, whether alive or dead, it is a good idea to investigate further, either with a rodent control specialist or if you’re brave enough.
This is because pack rat populations multiply fast. A female can produce two babies in just two months! If you spot one, there may be a family of a dozen or more nearby.
Pack rats tend to live alone unless they are mating or have had a family. In the northern region of Arizona, the pack rat prefers to make their nests in the ground or the hood of cars. They like rocky crevices as well.
They may have built a lot of nest material on your property as well. As their name suggests, they like to store various items in different locations, especially shiny objects.
They may also seek shelter in attics of homes and buildings. Keep an eye out in and around your shed, wood stacks, or other piles of debris.
If you see nests, this is also a telltale sign of a pack rat. It is best to inspect the entire property, attic to the perimeter.
2. You find fecal pellets droppings
Whether these are fresh or old, play it safe and inspect the area.
As a side note, pack rat urine, and feces poses a threat to the health of humans as it contains disease-causing bacteria.
They are also a big contributor to allergic reactions.
3. Damage to electric wires and plastic coverings
Pack rats in Arizona like to gnaw and plastic casings seem to be pleasing to their gnawing habit.
They may even gnaw right through the wiring in your home or your car.
If you’re experiencing electrical issues, a pack rat may be to blame.
4. Chewed wood on your property or in your home
Pack rats are also known as wood rats, they love vegetation and like to chew on wood. They will chew on anything because this helps to fill their continuously growing teeth.
They like green wood and twigs, as well as cabinetry and the wood structure of buildings, such as inside the walls or in the attic.
Chew marks on wood can be a sign of a pack rat infestation.
5. You hear sounds from attic vents and in the walls
Scraping and scampering sounds inside the structure of your home may tell you that you have unwelcome guests staying with you.
These predators are also quite vocal. You may hear squeaks, or if the rat is scared or in pain, they are capable of making much louder noises and hissing sounds.
6. Footprints in and around the home
You may notice new track marks in and around your home in the dirt. Inside the house pack, rats like to travel on the perimeter, under cabinets, and around the baseboards.
Take a peek to see if there are new patterns in any dust that is left in these areas.
7. Trust your pet’s instincts
If your pet has been having some odd behavior lately, it may not hurt to have a look around. Your pet is keyed into the animal world with a keen sense of smell and hearing.
Don’t be too quick to dismiss their unusual antics.
How Pack Rat Infestation Begins at Home
Pack rats are pretty sly, they only need about a quarter-size hole to gain access into your home.
They are also excellent climbers too. They can travel through water pipes, wires, and tree branches going to the roof or attic of your house.
Since they love to gnaw, they will also destroy the structure of the building to gain access.
Their diet consists of spiny cactus, yucca pods, bark, berries, pinyon nuts, seeds, and any available green vegetation.
They are also attracted to water resources which could be a birdbath, pet water bowls, or the drip from an A/C unit, etc.
They will also gnaw on the wiring systems for irrigation and A/C units, or other wiring in and around the home and cars.
Because cactus is part of their diet, any ornamental cactus on the landscape is also another attraction for pack rats.
Quick Tips for Preventative Pack Rat Population Control
- Take a look around your home to see if you may be attracting these rodents to your property.
- Next, seal up any possible entry points where a rat may be tempted to enter. Caulk is a good sealer to use.
- Use screen or mesh to block rats from entering through the chimney or roof pipes, as discussed in this article.
For other pest prevention tips, review this article on how to further prevent other Arizona rodents from entering your home.
How to Get Rid of Pack Rats
Here are some ways on how to get rid of pack rats to prevent infestation:
Sanitize your home
The most effective rat control begins with keeping your house clean and sanitized, as pests love to thrive in dirty and unsanitary environments.
Disposing trash properly and ensuring your attic, garage or backyard is well maintained to get rid of potential nests or hiding spots of these rodents.
Clear seed pods and other debris from your backyard and get rid of unnecessary boxes and objects to eliminate their possible shelter.
Eliminate pack rats food sources
Avoid leaving food unattended and store food in tightly sealed containers to lessen their access to food sources. Always ensure to immediately clean crumbs, leftovers, and soiled dishes.
Set traps and baits for rodents
Another effective rat control method is by setting up live traps, snap traps, glue traps, or baited traps. Place baits such as peanut butter or crackers to lure these rodents.
Seal all possible entry points such as broken windows, unscreen vents, holes, cracks for the effective rat removal procedure.
Contact a pest control specialist for pack rat removal
If you think that your home is infested with a rat infestation, it is best to call your local pest control to take care of the problem.
They are well equipped and trained to help you get rid of pack rat infestation safely and effectively.
Who to Call if You Need a Pack Rat Exterminator
Patriot Pest Control is the best in the Prescott area to help eliminate your pack rat and other Arizona pest problems!
They use safe and environmentally friendly pest control to protect family and pets from toxic chemicals, as well as other creatures in the environment.
Patriot Pest and Termite Control are qualified licensed and insured preventative pest control professionals with over 25 years of experience.
Give us a call to protect your home from disease-carrying rodents today.