All about Rats

Rats are long tailed rodents, which belong to the Muroidea family. They are larger than mice and have scaly tails. There are several species of rats, out of which brown rat and black rat are more common. Generally, the domestic rats and lab rats belong to a single species – the Norway rat, whereas wild rats belong to different species.

 Rats memorize their environments by muscular movements. They have a flexible body and they squeeze in through tiny holes and climb vertical surfaces. They are tough animals and have the capacity to survive in difficult situations. They can chew through live electrical cables. They have the capacity to kill another animal that is twice their size. They can burrow the earth and can swim at least a mile.

Rats are among the few animals that laugh to express joy, but the laugh is not audible to human ears. Rat species are named after the region in which they are found. Dusky field rats, Nillu and Bonthain and so on. However, the most common types of rats are brown rat and black rat.

Brown rat is about 20cm long and its tail length is almost equal to the length of its body. It originated in Central Asia, but they are now found in many parts of the world.  Brown rats are grown as pets and some selective breeds are bred to be fancy rats in a wide range of colors. They are mostly used in scientific researches.

Black rats are smaller than brown rats. They have larger ears, pointed snout and a longer nose. They are also known as roof rat or house rat. They are very clever and good climbers. They are too flexible to find their way into extremely small spaces. They are however not grown as pets, as they are known carriers of the plague.

Pack rats are commonly found in the deserts and flat terrains of Northern Mexico and Western United States. They are smaller than normal rats and have bushy tails. They are nocturnal animals and so they are active at night in search of food, and nest material.

Kangaroo rats are small animals and they hop like small kangaroos. They have long hind legs and weigh approximately 35 to 180 grams. Their body length ranges from 10 to 20 cm and their tail almost equals their body size. They are prevalent in arid and semi-arid areas of Canada, the United States and Mexico. They feed on seeds, leaves, fruits and insects. They store food in their burrows and use them during the period of famine.

Rats do not have a particular breeding season. However, if the climate is too hot or too cold breeding can be reduced. The female rat can reproduce four times in a year. She can give birth to an average of six pups every time. The gestation period lasts for three weeks and it can get pregnant again after a few days of giving birth. A female rat reaches the menopause stage at the age of eighteen months and her cycle becomes irregular after that. If it becomes pregnant during this stage, the size of litter decreases significantly.

Rats are quick reproducers and they eat almost anything. They can damage the plants and properties. They steal tins of food grains stored in the granaries. It is important to eradicate them, as they are able to multiply quickly.

Rat Removal

Rats are omnipresent. They can be found in almost every home. Though there are many reasons why rats must be removed, one of the main reasons is that they are carriers of various dangerous diseases such as Eosinophilic Meningitis, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, Rat bite fever and Murine Typhus.

The most common places in a home where rats reside are the crawl places, basements, walls, attics, etc. As they prefer living in colonies, groups of rats can be a real nuisance and disturbance, especially at night as they make a lot of noise. Left untreated a rat infestation can cause considerable damage to a home or structure.

The characteristic of a rodent is to keep their teeth sharp by continuous chewing. Rats chew up fascia boards and soffits and allow water to enter the building. They even chew and damage electrical wires exposing the copper. This greatly increases the risk of a fire hazard.

Rats contaminate the area where they live in your home with urine and droppings. Apart from smelling horrible, these attract other rodents into your home and pose a health risk as well. After removing rats completely, it is vital to clean the place where they used to live thoroughly to prevent other rats from coming.

In attics, rats cause a major damage to insulation. This results in escape of heat in winters and entry of hot air in summers. Considering all these facts, it is absolutely vital knowing how to eradicate a rat infestation from your building.
Rat removal involves designing a trapping program. Keep trapping and capturing rats until the number of rats captured decreases. Then seal any hole which is more than half an inch larger completely. Modify or even remove any shelter or food source. Consult a professional who will ably assist you by recommending certain changes in and around your home. It is vital to follow what they propose in order to prevent rats from re entering your premises. It is quite a challenging task removing and controlling their entry on a long term basis.

Because of their quick gestation period infestations can quickly grow if the problem is not corrected in a reasonable amount of time. If you want to handle the process on your own then the first step is to locate the area where they are living, drinking and feeding. You must also monitor and find out the area they usually take. Search for footprints, droppings, burrows and holes. Block all holes into your home with newspaper and the following day you can find out which holes have been re opened to identify their entry point. Now it is possible to block these holes on a permanent basis.
There are various other effective removal tips for rats which you can follow. Chemicals are used predominantly to eradicate rats. It is necessary however to exercise caution while using these chemicals as they are toxic and poisonous to humans as well as animals.

Traps are another option for removing rats. They come in different sizes and types including the glue traps. Traps are very effective if placed at the right place and are also environmental friendly.
Another non toxic method of removing rats is the electronic rat removal. Here the rats are attracted with the help of peanut butter placed in the trap. As they enter, they depress a foot plate which triggers an electric current. This way you just dispose of the body immediately into a bin.

You can capture rats in a cage and leave them in a far off place. With this method however, you are just passing on the problem elsewhere.

Other state of art advanced rat removal devices include the Ultrasonic and Electromagnetic devices. These devices when plugged into a wall socket emit a noise that can be heard only by rodents. This noise drives them out.

Rat repellents outdoors include the Repeller. A powerful ultrasound is released upon detecting motion and scares the rats away. Removal tips for rats require a lot of trial and error. Rat eradication is not very easy. It requires a lot of skill and expertise. If you are unable to drive the rodents away on your own, it is better to call in a professional pest control company.

Damages Caused by Rats

The presence of rats has an effect on food from fruit trees, home gardens and flowers. They are fond of garbage disposals and sewage drains. They form their comfortable nests and consume food in the farms.

They not only consume food found in the house but poison it with urine and feces. With their strong teeth, they gnaw hard materials like wood, upholstery and hardbound books. They cut wiring insulations with their teeth to create fire and electrical hazards in appliances. They can gnaw plastic materials, cinder blocks and metals like aluminum and lead. They kill smaller creatures and even bite humans.

Rats are dangerous because of their ability to spread of many dangerous diseases. Fleas, mites and worms are carried on rats’ body and deposited over food for human consumption which leads to dreaded diseases like bubonic plague and typhus fever. The ornamental plants which decorate beautiful homes are brutally destroyed by rats. They dig into the roots and eat the new shoots. They feed on cabbages and other vegetables in the garden. Rats roam about at nights and rest in the day. They have survived the wrath of nature for centuries and are very difficult to be eradicated from society.

They hide from the notice of their predators by digging into the earth long tunnels. They can dig vertically down into the ground easily up to 5 feet. They climb walls and run over cable lines effortlessly. Falling from a height of 60 feet does not harm the rat. They are natural swimmers and have the ability to swim and across a mile of open water.

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome is a highly infectious disease spread by infected rats affecting the human beings. The urine of the rat contains deadly virus and is the main reason rats pose great danger to humans. Rat fleas infected with R.typhi transmit the disease called Murine typhus to human beings. People who live in rat-infested constructions near the harbor or river banks are prone to this infection. Streptobacillus moniliformis is a bacterium that causes rat-bite fever. A person who is bitten or scratched by the infected rat suffers from this disease. Leptospirosis causes symptoms of chills, headache and jaundice with vomiting. Kidneys are affected and liver failure is the results.

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