There are two kinds of rats in th UK. Rattus Norvegicus commonly known as the Brown Rat and the Common Rat.

The Brown rat can weigh over half a kilo and whose body can measure about 23cm. The Common rat is about half the size.

Rats live in any habitat that provides food, water and shelter. In your homes, they will live in roof spaces, wall cavities or under floorboards. Your home is nice and warm, food is available and gnawing material such as joists, floor boards and electric cable is plentiful to keep their teeth under control.

With rats now in your home you need to remember they can reproduce at an alarming rate - 3 to 12 litters of between six and eight young in a year. Their family is going to grow and as it does it will push them out further into the home. With this infestation you are now more likely to have direct contact.

Rats carry many nasty diseases which they can spread to humans, normally through their urine, including; Leptospirosis or Weil's disease, Salmonella, Listeria, Toxoplasma gondii and Hantavirus.

Additionally the will cause physical damage to your home and in worst case scenarios can cause fire by shorting electrical cables and explosion by damaging gas utilities.

FACT - Property owners have a legal obligation under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 to keep premises rodent free, or, if rodents pose a threat to health or property, to report infestations to the local authority.

HOW TO PREVENT RAT INFESTATION - Eliminate any harbourage points such as sealing gaps around pipes and under sheds; rats only need a gap of 15mm to gain entry.

Remove potential nesting sites by keeping yards and gardens clean and tidy, by cutting back overgrown areas and clearing any piles of wood/debris.

Ensure that drain inspection covers are in a good state of repair.

Cover any household waste where rats can get access to it, close dustbin lids and cover compost heaps.

If you feed garden birds, do not do this to excess and use a bird table or feeder basket if possible.

If you are having problems or think you may have rats in your home get in touch right now - don't wait till it gets out of control.