Seeing the odd rat scamper across the bottom of the garden isn’t that bad, right? Here are five reasons not to ignore the presence of any rats, even outdoors.
1. They are attracted to our waste
Modern human living is the best thing that ever happened to the pest species of the world. They’ve found a way to thrive living off our waste, and that means they’ve found a way to do it so surreptitiously that you rarely spot them. If you’ve only seen the odd rat pop under the fence and scamper to the bird table, that’s not because you only have a single rat living nearby. Rats tend to live in large social groups and are superb at being stealthy.
2. You can’t keep them out
Rats are clever, resourceful and determined. If they find even the smallest access to somewhere that makes a good home, they will make it bigger and they will move in. Old houses are particularly vulnerable. Rats can work through degraded mortar and find their way into a species favourite place to live – inside the walls of your house.
Rats are exceptionally strong, can squeeze through gaps less than an inch and can use their strong jaws and long teeth to chew through an astonishing range of “tough” materials like brick, cement and lead.
3. There are a lot more than just that one
One of the things our customers often say is that they thought there was only one rat… until they noticed one more, one more and so on. There is never just one rat. If you begin to see them it often means there’s a social group nearby. It’s common to see parent rats more when they need to feed a nest of babies, so a rise in sightings often means one thing – it’s breeding time.
4. Once they find a sweet spot, they breed exceptionally quickly
The gestation period for rats is about 22 days (give or take a day) They have no set breeding season and males reach sexual maturity at 5-weeks-old, with females breeding from 4-months until around 18-months/2-years.
Each female can have around seven litters of an average of eight rats each year, making fifty-six second generation rats from a single breeding pair. Of that second generation, assuming half were female and reach sexual maturity at 4-months, around four litters can be produced within the same year (one hundred and twenty eight third generation rats) The point of all this maths is to show that a single breeding pair (or pregnant female) who takes up residence under your old shed can become close to TWO HUNDRED rats in a single year.
5. Rats carry disease, don’t they?
We’re not currently as risk from the Black Death (bubonic plague) which is the most commonly thought-of rat-borne illness. Modern diseases you should get the rat poison out for are foot and mouth, E.coli, salmonella, tuberculosis, cryptosporidiosis and Weil’s disease.
Feeling inspired to reach for the rat bait, yet? We have a large selection of pest control products that deal specifically with rat infestations, take a look today.