HOW TO IDENTIFY RATS
Rats belong to the rodent family and they have a close resemblance to mice.
Rats resemble mice with few exceptions in the color, size, shape and some other physical differences. Rats are larger in size than mice and have large ears with bugle eyes.
A rat is brown to black in color with slight grayish shade as well. A rat’s tail is almost as long as its body. Their body size ranges from 9 to 11 inches (23 to 28 centimeters) and their tail ranges from 7 to 9 inches long (18 to 23 centimeters). Their body weight varies from 12 to 23 ounces (350 to 650 grams).
Rats are fast and aggressive towards their prey and food. Rats feed on almost on anything that’s around, for example, fruits, vegetables, bread, fish, nuts, leftover food, etc. Rats are known to be responsible for spreading fatal diseases such as Lassa fever, Q fever, viral hemorrhagic fever, Plague, Rat-bite fever, etc.
The following signs indicate that there is potential rat problem at your house:
- Rub marks due to the grease and dirt on their body.
- Rat droppings at specific places – these are brown spindle-shaped droppings.
- Scratching noises at night
- Rat holes which they usually dig next to a solid structure
HOW DO YOU GET RATS
A rat could be intrigued by various elements towards your home just like the conditions mentioned below:
If your home is not properly sanitized and garbaged is not taken out regularly, it could be the best invitation for rats to get in.
Problems in the neighborhood
You might have a very old house near your home which could be the reason for the entry of the rats. Usually, an old house in the neighborhood and some dents and holes in the walls of your house could be the entry point of the rats.
Ripe fruits in Garden
Fallen ripe fruits and nuts often attract rats to your garden as its ideal food source for them. Moreover, if there are vegetables which haven’t been harvested, they might be inviting rats.
Rats love to nest in cluttered and unkempt surroundings. Lawns with tall grass provide them the perfect place to hide and nest.
HOW TO GET RID OF RATS
Because rats pose a threat to human health it is very important to get rid of a rat infestation. There are some precautions that can be taken to get rid of an existing rat problem.
The first precaution you need to practice is to ensure the proper sanitation of the house. All garbage and ripe food should be disposed of within a proper distance from your place.
Mothballs are excellent rat repellents. Mothballs will not kill the rats but will ensure that the rats will not enter your home.
A mixture of ammonia and common house detergent could also be a great repellent.
Traps are one of the conventional methods to get rid of rats. You simply place a trap with a piece of bread, cheese or any other food item. The rat will try to eat and will get killed by a hard-hitting metal rod.
Cats are natural rat predators. If you have a rat or mouse problem and like cats, this could be a long-term solution.
Peppermint oil, onions, and pepper are known to be natural rat repellents.
RATS LIFE CYCLE
Rats are a social species and in their family, there is one dominant male accompanied by female and young rats.
Average female rats give birth to 6 – 10 babies at a time and they can have babies five times a year. Their average gestation period lasts for just 3 weeks.
Newborn rats are blind and don’t have fur. They take around 3 weeks to get mature and start feeding themselves on their own. However these rodents take 3 months to get sexually mature, and once they achieve the maturity they start mating, produce the next generation and start the life cycle again.
The average lifespan of a rat is one year.
PURPOSE OF RATS IN THE ECOSYSTEM
At first it may look like rats don’t have any purpose except to transmit diseases to humans and to cause damage to their homes. But that’s not the case; they have bigger roles to play in the ecosystem, check them out.
Food for other living creatures
Rats are a primary food source of several other living creatures other than the well-known cat. Snakes, owls, hawks, weasels and other large predators eat rats. In some parts of the world, like in Africa, China and India humans too feed upon rats.
There is no denying of the importance of lab rats. Their physiological, neurological and hormonal similarities with humans make them a beneficial subject for researchers and medical experiments.
Several notable strides have been made in the medical field by experimenting on rats, even a brain chip has been created out of rat neurons.
Rats’ disease-causing ability and destructive nature aren’t the only daunting facts about them; check out some other menacing and intimidating facts about rats.
- If you flush a rat, it’ll still survive and can return back to your building via the same route.
- A pair of brown rats can produce up to 2000 offspring in one year.
- Rats’ teeth keep on growing till death. To keep them in control they start gnawing anything that is around them. Their teeth can grow 4½ to 5½ inches in a year.
- Hindus worship female rat and there’s a temple which houses more than 20,000 rats.
- Sometimes rat feed upon their own feces.