A rat exterminator is a pest control specialist who works primarily with rats. Rat exterminators may also handle other mammals such as mice, possums, raccoons, and so forth. These pest control specialists can be found working in many regions of the world. In an emergency situation where an exterminator is not available, it may be possible to receive assistance from a local government animal control agency.
Historically, rat exterminators had working dogs who were trained to find and attack rats. Today, they are more likely to use traps. Live traps will keep the rats alive, allowing the exterminator to remove them for relocation or extermination. Other rat traps will kill the rats in the process of trapping them, with the rat exterminator collecting the traps to dispose of the dead rats.
Like other exterminators, a rat exterminator can evaluate a structure to determine whether or not rats are present, and can make estimates about where in the structure the rats will be found, and how much damage they have done. The exterminator can eliminate the rats and assist a contractor or homeowner with repairing damage and taking steps to reduce the risk of future rat infestations. For example, a rat exterminator may recommend covering large holes which could be used for ingress and egress, or may suggest that materials such as grain be stored in ratproof metal containers.
Rat exterminators can also work as consultants when it comes to rat prevention. Many people would like to avoid rats in the first place, and an exterminator can inspect a structure and make various recommendations. Such an inspection is less costly than hiring an exterminator to eliminate rats later, and will save wear and tear on the structure. A rat exterminator may also be hired to inspect a structure during the escrow process if it is being sold, as the presence of rats may be a dealbreaker for some buyers.
Rats in a structure are a definite cause for concern. They can bite people and pets, causing infected abscesses or transmitting disease. They also carry insects which may carry disease, and can do significant damage to a structure which can be costly to repair. Rats chew, which can potentially lead to things ranging from electrical problems caused by damaged wiring to damage to structural supports. Rat urine and feces are also undesirable in a structure, as they can carry disease and they have an unpleasant odor.