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Got rats in Skaneateles?

Rat neighbors?

Who you gonna call

Peter Eldred at Lakeside Pest Control

From high up on a sky lift inside a Skaneateles barn's rafters Peter Eldred pontificated about bats and rats. His audience was on the other side of a cell phone, his subject the Norway rat, his actual quarry seed birds.

Eldred is a nuisance wildlife control operator licensed by the Department of Environmental Conservation. He owns Lakeside Pest Control. His specialty is ejecting groundhogs and also ridding structures of mainly bats and squirrels, but the Norway rat has been getting more of his attention of late.

"People call when they come into the living quarters," Eldred said.

They are Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) not new to America (1775), they are found in each of the lower 48 states and average about one pound in weight.

"Norway rats are very difficult to catch, normally takes eight or nine days," he said.

We don't often see these residents, as they are mainly nocturnal. They stay low burrowing into the ground, in cellars, stream banks and the like. When given a choice they prefer a diet of fresh foods, although they will pretty much eat anything. Eldred said they are responsible for ruining most of the world's food supply.

How does one tell a Norway rat from say a Roof rat? According to www.pestproducts.com: the Norway rat is also called the brown rat, house rat, barn rat, sewer rat, gray rat or wharf rat, it is a slightly larger animal than the roof rat. The nose is blunt, the ears are small, close set and do not reach the eyes when pulled down. The tail is scaly, semi-naked and shorter than the head and body combined. When distinguishing the Norway rat from the Roof rat, pull the tail back over the body. The tail of the Roof rat will reach the nose. The tail of the Norway rat will not reach beyond the ears. But if you are not in the mood to handle a rat, Eldred has no problem with it.

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