The Life Cycle of A Rat, Habits & Its Diet
To get rid of rats it can be easier by understanding more about the way they live. There are several different species of rats, but they generally follow the same pattern with some slight differences worth mentioning.
However, in this instance, the focus is going to be on the roof rat and Norway rat. These two are the most predominant that you will find across the United States.
The three area we will cover is the life cycle of a rat, the habits of rats, and their diet. The more informed you are in these three areas the more likely you can get rid of them.
The Life Cycle of A Rat
In the life cycle of a rat, it produces around seven offspring at a time. They can have twins which will take it to a maximum of 14. When they are born, rats have no fur, and they are also blind.
A female rat has a gestation period of three weeks, and they can have five litters or so in a single year. However, the female rat will reach their equivalent of the menopause within 18 months.
After birth, it takes up to four weeks to get to the point where they can fend for themselves. They will be weaning for the first three weeks, and they reach the age of sexual maturity after five weeks. At this point, they will start mating to produce even more offspring.
With most rats, their life expectancy is around one year even though they can live as long as three years. This is connected to where they are living, coming into contact with predators as well as conflicts with other rats. Also, add us humans catching and killing them as a reason their life expectancy is as short as it is.
The Habits of the Rat
Understanding the habits of rats will help you to prevent them from coming on your property. Also, how to then trap and remove them. These are only guidelines, but they have been formed after extensive studying of rats in the environment. Therefore, we do have a pretty good idea of what they are up to.
A huge problem is that rats tend to use all kinds of things like shelter. This brings them into contact with humans by getting into sheds, attics, debris in the garden or even in the hollows of trees.
Rats are social animals, so if you see one, there is a good chance there are others nearby. An extended family will live in a nest with an alpha male who is in charge. You will then often find a number of female rats along with their offspring in the same nest.
In this setting, the alpha male will actively prevent other males from mating with the females in his group. He will move the family to a series of nests located near to a variety of food or water sources. His actions are not that different from other animals where a social structure plays a key role in the community.
Rats are nocturnal, but you can see them in the day if they have been disturbed or are hungry and searching for food.
Search for Food
They are mostly active in the time after sunset, and just before sunrise. They can work as an effective team to move food around and to forage for the entire nest. Also, they are known to hoard food for a later time.
When it comes to moving around, the Norway rat will travel further than the roof rat in search for food within their territory. Finding a source of water is going to be the most important thing for the entire rat family. Their nests will often be close to this to make life easier for them.
If you have something that could be a source of water for them in or around your property, removing it would be a good idea. It could potentially persuade them to go elsewhere.
Rats are also known to hate new experiences or coming across something new. Roof rats, in particular, are affected by this. They have been observed creating new routes to avoid those areas that are disturbed on a regular basis.
That is why moving things around in your garden or removing debris can be enough to unsettle them. Doing so to even a small extent will force them to move somewhere new rather than deal with the changes.
However, most of their habits are connected to their search for food. So diet clearly plays an important role in their overall survival. That is something that could be applied to any animal.
The Diet of the Rat
People think a rat will eat anything from trash to plants, to scraps of food, and anything else in between. However, they only turn to other things in order to survive as their diet is actually more controlled than most people think. Especially when you are dealing with the roof rat more than the Norway rat.
Rats love to eat things from seeds to fruit, grains, vegetables, nuts, a variety of insects, spiders and worms along with scraps of meat. In fact, the roof rat, in particular, has a diet that closely resembles that of a tree squirrel.
The Norway rat will often be the one that causes the most trouble. They will root around in any place where there is some kind of food for them.
This can even extend to them getting into storage facilities for food as well as factories that package it. Which is why those locations have to take extra care when it comes to their pest control.
The Norway rat willing to eat feed that has been put down for other animals, including cats and dogs. Whereas the roof rat is seen as being more choosy in what it will eat.
As you can see, rats can be rather interesting creatures. If you can look beyond the fact that they are also a pest that causes damage along with bringing disease into the area.
The different varieties share a considerable number of characteristics when it comes to their habits and diet. The life cycle of a rat is identical across all species.
As we said earlier, knowing more about these areas will make it significantly easier to stop a rat problem from developing in the first place. Prevention is without a doubt best cure that you can get.***