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Rats In Clark County Grow More Plentiful Year By Year

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Rattus rattus is the scientific name.

Everyone in Las Vegas just calls them roof rats.

And that’s everyone, because they are in every zip code, from the toniest to the poorest.

And if you’ve noticed more of them, it’s because there are more of them.

George Botta has been fighting rodents and other things you don’t want in your house for 40 years at Las Vegas Pest Control. Every year, he says, he gets more and more calls about rats.

“If you’re near a golf course, if you’re near a wash, where these nice new homes are being built, the population is definitely up there,” he said.

Botta said rats are drawn to places where there is easy access to water, lots of vegetation, palm trees, fruit trees, and pet waste.

He said rats will eat dog feces if they get hungry enough. 

Botta also warned against vines climbing the side of the house because that gives a roof rat access to his favorite place to be. He also suggested making sure tree limbs don't touch or come near the roof of the house because a rat can jump from the tree to the house.

He said if a rat finds a hole in the eaves of a home the size of a nickel or quarter he or she can squeeze through. 

Rats will also come into a home through an unsecured doggy door.

Chris Bramley with the Clark County’s Vector Control, which works to keep pests out of county properties, said he frequently gets calls from people who find rats in their kitchen and the rats usually make their way in through a doggy dog.

“The thing he does when he gets into your house is find something to eat and something to drink,” he said.

He said rats will also look to nest. 

Botta said the best way to get rid of them is to use an old-fashioned snap trap baited with peanut butter. And he suggests reusing the trap because it will attract more rats. 

He says the glue traps or glue boards as they are called don't work as well because the rat will actually chew its leg off to get out of it.

Botta said rats are intelligent, methodical animals that follow a precise routine. He said putting a trap along one of their regular routes will eventually get them.

Some cities have turned to birth control as a way to control the rat population, but Bramley is not sure that would work here.

“Rats are so prolific that I don’t think that unless there was some major program that was put together that it would be effective,” he said.

The best plan is to make sure your yard doesn't attract them and that your house is secure against them getting in.

Botta said it can take days to get rats out of a home. 


George Botta, Las Vegas Pest Control; Chris Bramley, Clark County Vector Control

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.