2020: The Year of the Rat
2020 is the Year of the Rat according to the Chinese zodiac. The Rat is the first of all the animals in the Chinese Zodiac Cycle. According to the myth, the Emperor announced that the order of the Zodiacs would be determined by the order in which they arrived at his party. The Rat, therefore, hatched a cunning plan and tricked the Ox into giving him a ride to the party. Just when they reached the finish, the Rat leaped from the Ox and arrived at the party first. As a result, the Rat became the first animal in the Chinese Calendar.
Like the legend, browns rat are mischievous and cunning. They are extremely clever and are able to adapt to their surroundings with ease. That’s why they have been able to thrive in a world dominated by humans.
The recent cold weather makes our warm, dry homes inviting for these small creatures, particularly when there is access to a food supply and materials for nesting. During these cold months, rats will seek shelter in homes, office blocks, food establishments, commercial premises, and barns/stables. As a result of their adaptability, rat infestations are able to flourish in most types of buildings, altering their food sources to whatever is most convenient.
While their ability to be mischievous may be endearing, rats are destructive, can spread disease and contaminate food. Not only can they cause damage through gnawing, but they are known to spread Weils Disease (also known as Leptospirosis) to humans. If you are a tenant, any sign of a rat infestation should be reported to your landlord/property manager as soon as is reasonably possible. Home and business owners should call a reputable pest control company to treat the infestation, in order to prevent spreading disease.
Signs of a rat infestation:
- Evidence of droppings (find out whether droppings are from mice or rats here).
- The smell of urine or areas which are stained and could be attributed to urine.
- Evidence of gnawing or nesting
- Scratching noises – rats are nocturnal so any activity is likely to be heard at night. They will mostly nest in the loft/attic areas and use cavities for movement in and around the house.
What to do if you think you have a rat infestation:
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