Why is it necessary to control rats?
Rats are one of the ultimate survivor species. This is because they are natural scavengers, remarkably intelligent and can squeeze through tiny spaces that you wouldn’t believe possible. They are also prolific breeders. They breed all year round, producing up to 6 litters each year with between 5 and 10 rats per litter. The potential for exponential growth in the rat population in a very short time is massive because a rat is able to reproduce from being just 10-weeks old.
Humans provide the best living conditions for rats. There are various natural events that help control the rat population such as scarcity of food and shelter, predators, diseases and in-fighting. However the rat population continues to grow so intervention by humans is required.
How can you protect your home?
During the winter months rats find their way inside buildings for warmth and food. Preventing rats gaining access to your home along with learning to recognise the signs that rats are present are the two most important things you can do to protect your home. It’s also worthwhile checking for rat nests in the close vicinity outside your home such as in drains, around rubbish bins, in compost heaps, amongst logs, under sheds and in outbuildings.
It is important to recognise the signs that you have rats as you will see the signs before you see the rats. And the sooner you identify that you have a rat problem the sooner you can take the necessary measures to solve the problem. This is because once rats enter your home, even just a few, they will hide away and breed so you will soon have a major infestation on your hands.
What are the signs that you have a problem with rats?
Droppings A rat produces up to 40 droppings each night. They are dark and shiny and about the size and shape of an olive. You’ll find them in large groupings.
Urine puddles Rat urine has a very sharp smell which you can’t miss.
Foul smell When rats live, breed, defecate, die and decompose between your walls or under your floorboards you’ll notice a foul smell.
Scratching Rats can climb walls so you’ll hear scratching noises behind walls, particularly at night when they’re most active.
Footprints In dusty rooms where rats have been running around you’ll see footprints or tail marks.
Gnaw marks Rats have incisors that never stop growing so they gnaw constantly to keep their teeth ground down. You’ll see gnaw marks on anything hard such as cables, concrete, wood, metal, walls, pipes, and furniture.
Nesting Materials Rats use any shredded materials such as paper, cardboard, fabric and plastic to bunch together to make their nests. You’ll see shreds of the materials outside holes as they are untidy creatures.
Holes in the ground Rats’ holes are usually located under dense vegetation or beneath buildings. They lead to tunnels which are quite short, up to a maximum of 3 feet, and can go down to 18 inches deep.
Rat runs Rats generally move along the same route creating a noticeable pathway or run through grass.
Please note: Contact with rat droppings is very dangerous because you risk becoming infected with one of the severe, sometimes fatal diseases they carry, such as Hantavirus and Leptospirosis. Dogs can also become infected with potentially lethal diseases from rat droppings, including Leptospirosis, Toxoplasmosis, Tularemia and Roundworm.
And remember, if you see a rat around your home, there’s never just one…
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