Rats in Washington State: Types, Facts, and Tips for Homeowners

No make a difference exactly where you are in the world, rodents are a widespread sight for a lot of property owners. Washington is property to several rat species that typically cause troubles by gnawing by way of electrical cables or spreading illnesses like salmonella.

Not all the rats in Washington are carefully related to rats though—although they’re even now classed as rats too. Recognizing them and understanding their behavior will assist you hold your home safe from these unwelcome invaders. To support you determine the rats close to your residence, here’s a record of the four most frequent rat species discovered in Washington and some useful guidelines on defending your property.

The 4 Types of Rats in Washington

1. Bushy-Tailed Woodrats

bushy tailed woodrat sniffing
Image Credit: M. Leonard Photography, Shutterstock
Scientific Name: Neotoma cinerea
Other Names: Packrats
Appearance: Brown and black fur, round ears, and bushy tail

The bushy-tailed woodrat receives its identify from its bushy tail and how it usually tends to make its residence in woodlands. They choose rocky terrain with cliffs, caves, and outcrops they can nest in but are also at house in grasslands and deserts.

Out of all of the rat species in Washington, the bushy-tailed woodrat is the most very likely to be identified all year spherical. Their bushy tail and thick fur give them a considerably greater tolerance to colder weather conditions than other rat species. They are not as closely associated to the acquainted rat species as you may feel from the identify however.

Regarded by their big, round ears and their furred tail, this species has brown and black fur. They’re adept climbers and will use their claws and tails to support them balance on tree limbs.

2. Kangaroo Rats

Scientific Name: Dipodomys ordii
Other Names: Ord’s Kangaroo Rat
Appearance: Golden brown fur, white belly, bushy-tipped tail.

Ord’s Kangaroo rat—the species of kangaroo rat discovered in Washington—aren’t, technically, connected to other rat species. They are deemed to be rats due to their size and look which is why we have incorporated them on this listing.

In contrast to numerous of the other rats in Washington, the kangaroo rat is solitary except for the duration of the breeding time. You are also not likely to see them if you stay in a wetter portion of Washington due to their preference for dry climates. House owners in the drier areas of Japanese Washington are the most probably to discover kangaroo rats close to their properties.

The kangaroo rat is also an adept jumper. They have an further toe on their back ft which allows them to propel on their own higher distances.

3. Norway Rats

brown rat eating sunflower seeds
Image Credit: Gerhard, Pixabay
Scientific Name: Rattus norvegicus
Other Names: Brown rat or sewer rat.
Appearance: Brown fur, gray belly, and scaly tails.

1 of the most common rats you’ll uncover in Washington is the Norway rat. In spite of their name, Norway rats are thought to have originated in Siberia and China. They are thought to have been launched by early explorers.

With the familiar brown fur and scaly tails we recognize from stereotypical rat species, Norway rats are acknowledged for their close relationship with people. They are prevalent across the USA—not just in Washington—as each pests and pets.

This rat species is most probably to turn out to be a problem for the duration of fall and winter when food is tougher to come by. You can locate them close to your trash cans, compost pile, in your backyard garden, burrowing into your house’s foundation, or in your woodpile. They take in every thing they can get their paws on and favor to create their residences close to h2o.

4. Roof Rats

roof rat peeking from a wood
Image Credit: Joshua J. Cotten, Unsplash
Scientific Name: Rattus rattus
Other Names: Black rats, ship rats, house rats, fruit rats.
Appearance: Black fur, scaly tail, and slender body shape.

The most prolific rat species throughout the entire world is the roof rat or black rat. Even though they are outnumbered by the Norway rat in the Usa, they are even now a typical sight through Washington. They’re easy to miscalculation for Norway rats as well owing to their similar scaly tail. Even so, roof rats are normally darker in shade and skinnier.

Originating in India, roof rats earned their title because of to their climbing potential. They’ll climb trees, overgrown shrubs, and electrical power traces to get to the roof of your home and sneak their way in. You can also locate them in orchards which is where their identify “fruit rat” arrived from.

Are Rats Dangerous?

The good news is, rodents aren’t usually aggressive. However, not getting attacked by the rats in your attic doesn’t mean rats really do not pose a risk to you and your household. Even if you do not appear throughout the rat hiding in your house, your health can nevertheless be impacted by their existence.

Rats and other rodents can carry a good deal of disagreeable ailments that can affect you and your family customers. They can unfold these conditions by way of their urine, excrement, saliva, and even by means of ticks, mites, fleas, and mosquitoes that bite them. Ingesting contaminated food and drinking water can distribute these ailments as well.

It is not just the illnesses they have that make rats a difficulty, even though it is frequently the largest problem. Rats also trigger troubles by harming house. They’ll chew by means of electrical cables and raise the chance of electrical fires.

Gnawing by means of walls and nesting in insulation may be significantly less of a hearth danger, but it is nonetheless a trouble to repair. They can result in injury to your automobile also if they handle to get in and construct a nest in the motor.

rat on the ground
Image Credit: ivabalk, Pixabay

What Are the Signs of a Rodent Infestation?

Rodents are mostly nocturnal which makes them amazingly hard to spot, especially if you’re asleep when they’ve received the run of the house. While they may be difficult to observe throughout the day however, rats are not the most delicate animals possibly. They depart a lot of indications of their presence that can alert you to an infestation:

  • Holes in walls or floors
  • Ripped up cardboard, insulation, or newspaper
  • Rat droppings
  • Scratching noises at night

If you have animals, you may also discover them behaving oddly. Cats and canine will the two be ready to odor the presence of rodents and hear them shifting close to at evening, even if you cannot.

How to Keep Rodents Out of Your Home

Rats can be a nuisance to offer with, specifically when they are currently in your home. However, there are methods to safeguard your home from an infestation.

Electronic Deterrents

sound repeller in the garden
Image Credit; Vladimir Shulikovskiy, Shutterstock

1 way of deterring rodents is by utilizing digital deterrents. These devices are designed to use ultrasonic appears that rodents, and other pests, are naturally deterred by. They are unobtrusive and harmless, which will save you from employing traps or leaving poison out that could have an effect on your pets.

Remove Trash

person disposing garbage
Image Credit: lovelyday12, Shutterstock

One thing that lures a whole lot of rodents into areas is the existence of trash, specifically leftover food or even compost piles. Vacant bins and other large pieces of trash can also be utilised by rodents as nest components and shelter.

To keep your garden as unfriendly to rats as attainable, you need to have to keep it cost-free from trash piles they can nest in. This also includes your basement, closet, and storage cabinets. If rodents do get into your property, possessing fewer locations for the rats to disguise will make the space significantly less welcoming for them.

Secure Entry Points

woman putting weatherstrip on the door
Image Credit: JulieK2, Shutterstock

Rats can squeeze their way into a selection of bizarre and superb places which tends to make sealing off all the feasible entrances to your residence essential if you want to keep away from an infestation. It can be tough to seal off every prospective entrance rats can use, but it’s value the work. Avoiding entry is typically 1 of the very best methods to steer clear of uninvited guests.

Make certain you seal any cracks in the basis of your house or the partitions. You’ll also want to make sure utilities like air ducts, pipes, and wires are sealed also, especially spots in which they enter the property.

Trim Vegetation

gas and battery powered lawn mower in the garden
Image Credit: Sergey and Marina Pyataev, Shutterstock

A lot of the rat species found in Washington can climb. Low-hanging tree branches in excess of your roof or dense vegetation and shrubs climbing up the exterior wall of your house are the best way for them to sneak their way in.

Dense vegetation and long grass also give plenty of coverage for rats to develop their nest in. Although they may not be in your property, they’ll still be too close for ease and comfort.

Frequently trimming grass, shrubs, and tree branches away from your property are all techniques to prevent rats from accessing your house. Tending to your backyard also contains harvesting fruit and veggies from fruit trees, or cleaning up fallen fruit as before long as achievable.

Use Sealed Food and Waste Bins

Preservatives in a bottle
Image Credit: jarmoluk, Pixabay

Straightforward-to-access foods is always a winner when it will come to in which rodents select to make their residences. Although there are generally rats around where ever you are, even if they really do not interfere with your working day-to-working day lifestyle, the existence of open foodstuff and waste bins will make them more intrigued in an location.

Keep foodstuff in sealed plastic or steel containers and make positive your trash cans have weighty, tight-fitting lids to prevent rats from getting into them.


The presence of rats is unavoidable even in Washington. Even though there is no getting rid of them from the wilderness outside the house your home, you can preserve them out of your home. Norway rats, roof rats, bushy-tailed woodrats, and kangaroo rats are all discovered in Washington condition.

Understanding the varieties of rats in Washington and their behavior will help you just take steps to stop an infestation. Keeping rats out of your residence allows you to avoid ailments they carry and hurt from gnawing and nesting.



Highlighted Picture Credit rating: Joshua J. Cotten, Unsplash