UK Environment Services | Edinburgh

Professional Pest Control

0131 623 1806


  • slide

    Getting Rid of Rats & Mice

    We have the most effective treatment programs and provide the swift and humane removal of rats & mice

Removing & Preventing Rats & Mice

Our expertise in dealing with rodent infestations will ensure that any problems that you may be experiencing with rats & mice can be dealt with in the shortest possible time.

The wide range of foods eaten by rats & mice and their ability to exploit and adapt to living/working conditions created by humans means that they thrive in and around man-made environments and it can make them challenging to remove.

We counter this adaptability by understanding how the rats & mice interact with the conditions around them and by using various different professional products and methods to achieve control quickly and efficiently. These rodent removal programs usually involve at least 4 treatment sessions but the set price in the contract agreement includes cover for any more should they be required.

We also always ensure that non-target species such as pets are protected by using enclosed bait stations that are suited to each situation and help to maximise bait uptake.

Rodent Teeth

Rats & mice are part of the 2500+ different species of rodents identified worldwide and the name Rodent derives from the Latin word 'rodere' which means 'to gnaw'. The constant requirement to gnaw allows rodents to exploit their environment but it also necessitates the continual growth of their incisor teeth throughout their life.

Rat & mice incisor teeth develop a sharp edge as they gnaw at objects, due to the way that the softer inner dentine of their incisors wears away at a faster rate than the harder outer layer of enamel. This chisel-type edge allows rats & mice to penetrate a wide range of materials & objects, including soft metals such as aluminium and lead. Norway rats in particular can exert a huge relative pressure; equivalent to half a ton per square centimetre and with up to six bites per second.

These incisor teeth project beyond the lips so that the substance or object being gnawed at; does not have to be tasted and the structure of the mouth allows for unpalatable foods or substances to be quickly spat out before being chewed. The molar teeth, which are contained within the rodents mouth are used to break down food into digestible pieces and unlike the incisors; do not grow continuously but wear down during the rodents lifetime.


Rodent Species & Habitat in Britain

Of the significant number of rodent species known to exist worldwide, only 14 are present in Britain and the vast majority of pest control work in this area concerns just four species, which are:

  • Rattus norvegicus - the Norway rat (also known as the common, sewer or brown rat)
  • Rattus rattus - the ship rat (also known as the black or roof rat)
  • Mus domesticus - the house mouse
  • Apodemus sylvaticus - the wood mouse (also known as the long tailed field mouse)

The first three rodents on this list belong to the group called 'commensal rodents' which refers to their behaviour of feeding on human food products and living in man-made dwellings. Many industry professionals however believe this term to be inaccurate, as it fails to acknowledge the harm that rodents can do and the term 'synanthropic' is often now used, instead of commensal.

All the species listed are omnivorous, which means that they will eat whatever is available and most suitable for their survival.


The Norway rat - By far the most abundant of the two rat species found in the U.K, it is largely a burrowing species that lives on land in both rural and urban areas. These burrows are often large and complex with multiple access points and the storing of food is common. Whilst they live largely outdoors, they will move indoors when the conditions necessitate & allow for it.

Being a relatively good climber, Norway rats can access buildings by climbing up trees, behind drain pipes and up rough surfaces in order to take advantage of any defects in drainage systems or gaps in external walls. Part of any survey carried out by UK Environment Services would involve identifying these vulnerable areas and ascertaining the most appropriate way to remedy that vulnerability.

Norway rats live in colonies with a hierarchical social system and the presence of these rats indoors or rat sightings during the day may indicate that a large colony or colonies are present. This occurs as the rats that are low-down the hierarchy are forced to forage further afield or at times when they are not competing against higher ranking rats from that same colony. Sightings during the day can also be an indication that a colonies nest has been disturbed and the rats are looking for a new nesting site.

The ship rat - Once the dominant rat species in Britain, ship rats are now relatively rare and are usually only seen in port & coastal areas or towns with canals that access port & coastal areas.

Ship rat bodies are usually smaller than the average Norway rat although they have longer tails and unlike Norway rats they rarely burrow underground. They live in the cavities of natural or man-made structures (both at ground level & at heights) and show a preference for areas where they can move around freely without disturbance or exposure to threats from predators. Ship rats are excellent climbers and can scale rough surfaced walls of buildings or climb trees with ease. This helps them to avoid these disturbances & threats and is the reason why most activity at heights takes place.

Whilst ship rats are often referred to as black rats, they are more often brown or grey and sometimes have a reddish tinge. Black coloured rats are not uncommon but they tend to be individual ship rats or groups of ship rats, rather than entire populations.

The house mouse - Like it's name implies, the house mouse is predominantly an indoor species that is not often seen living outdoors; especially in colder and wetter climates.

This is part due to the fact that it does not compete well against wood mice, other rodents or indeed other animals. What house mice have become very good at is living with and around humans and exploiting the environments that humans create. Like the ship rats, house mice are excellent climbers and their small size and structure allows them to enter through holes or gaps as little as 6mm across.

This preference to be indoors is also down to the fact that mice do not like to get wet as their small size makes it difficult for them to retain body heat and stay warm. Mice can however survive in cold conditions if the environment is dry and there is a source of material available which can be used to make a warm nest. In cold conditions, mice will tend to adapt by showing a preference for high calorie foods to aid their survival.

Unlike the ship and Norway rats, house mice do not require a free water source but can survive if the food they are eating has a modest water content.

The wood mouse - Whilst the last rodent on the aforementioned list (the wood mouse) is not considered to be a commensal rodent, they do live in close association with humans and exploit human environments and behaviours. Wood mice however; do prefer to live outdoors and if they are found in man-made structures, then that would in most cases be in an out-building such as a shed, garage or workshop, rather than a house itself.


Reproduction & Development

Reproduction rates in rats & mice are very much dependent upon the favourability of the environmental conditions and the population density within the colonies or family groups. House mice in particular can give birth to a new litter about every 21 days, with up to 8 mice common per litter but in most cases the reproduction rate would not be quite this high.

Ship & Norway rats have slightly longer reproductive cycles of around 28 days but Norway rats can produce larger litters; with between 6-11 being the average. Ship rats litters are similar in numbers to the house mouse; producing between 5-7 on average.

Under optimal conditions these rats & mice may breed all year round but in less than optimal conditions breeding usually takes place in the summer and autumn months.


Modern Pest Control

Pest control is a dynamic industry, not only because of the ability of rodents (and other animals) to adapt to their environment and to respond to control measures but because of the changes in the way that we are required to deal with rodents and other problem pests.

New control techniques & rodenticides along with responsibilities imposed by legislation must be accounted for in any treatment program, in order to achieve a positive outcome in a timely, safe and efficient manner.

To get more information and remove pests from your property contact us on 0131 623 1806



  • Professional use rodenticides

  • Tailored control programs maximise bait uptake by rats & mice, resulting in quick control

  • Secure bait stations  protect pets & non-target species