Rats are very destructive pests that can spread disease, contaminate food, and cause costly structural damage.  Rats can be found in all areas of the county.  The Vector Control Program provides outdoor rodent inspections, rat control starter kits and instructions on how to properly implement rat control techniques free of charge to all County residents.

Got rats? Read our Steps to Keep Rats Out of Your Home and watch a quick video on how to keep those unwelcome pests and other critters out of your house. 

To request a free rat inspection, call (858) 694-2888 or email vector@sdcounty.ca.gov.

Rat Facts

For some people, rats can make good pets. If they are unwanted however, rats can be pests. They pollute food, spread disease, and cause damage by gnawing. Rats are most active at night. If they are seen during the day, there is a good chance there are more around your home. Rats eat all types of food, including human and pet food.


Types of Rats

Roof Rats: Roof rats are the most common type of rat in San Diego County. They like to climb, rather then burrow, and they live above ground. They are gray or brown in color.


Norway Rats: Norway rats are not commonly found in homes in San Diego County. They prefer to burrow outside and are bigger than roof rats. They come in a wide range of colors.


Wood Rats: Wood rats build nests out of sticks and debris. They are not found in homes, but some do nest in outbuildings. They are gray or brown in color.



Rat Diseases

Rats carry and spread diseases that can harm humans and other animals:

  • Plague: People can be infected with plague from fleas that feed on infected rats, or from being bitten by an infected rat.
  • Food poisoning: Eating food that has been polluted with rat urine or droppings can cause food poisoning.
  • Rat-bite fever: A bite from an infected rat can cause rat-bite fever.
  • Parasites: Some rats can carry tapeworms.

Signs of Rat Activity

The most common signs of a rat infestation in your home are:

  • Stripped bark from plants and trees

  • Piles of cut snail shells hidden under plants or piles of wood
  • Sounds in the attic, floor, and walls
  • Rat droppings in garages, storage buildings or other sheltered areas
  • Rub marks caused by greasy rat fur
  • Damaged food containers
  • Damaged food
  • Signs of gnawing
Steps to Keep Rats Out of Your Home
Rat Droppings


For More Information On 
 Rats Or Other Vectors Contact: 
(858) 694-2888  

 Vector Control Program