What you need to know about rats
In order to understand rats and the implications that they pose to you and your property we thought we would explain a little bit more about this creature, it’s habitat, how it survives, the diseases it carries and a few interesting rat facts.
- Genus: Rattus
- Class: Mammalia
- Family: Muridae
Rats are members of the genus, Rattus. There is the black rat, Rattus Rattus and the brown rat, Rattus norvegicus. They are what are known as true rats. There are other members of the rodent family that have similar characteristics and appearance but aren’t actually true rats.
The main factor that differentiates rats from mice and other rodents is their size. Rats are much larger although in the wild they rarely weigh over 500g.
Origins of the rat
The rat originates from Asia and is thought to have managed to infiltrate large parts of the world due to its uncanny knack of stowing away on ships.
Male rats are known as bucks, female rats are known as does. A group of rats is known as a mischief
Rats are what are known as opportunistic survivors therefore they often live close to humans where they can easily find sources of food and shelter.
Rats are known to carry and transmit diseases therefore you don’t want to be sharing your home with them! Perhaps the most famous disease, which is believed to have been transmitted by rats, is the Black Death which was thought to have been caused by a micro-organism carried by the tropical rat flea. Foot and mouth is another disease that is attributed to rats. Rats are known to carry pathogens including Leptospira, Toxoplasma gondii, and Campylobacter.
While it is difficult to determine the lifespan of a rat it is thought that they only live for about a year. This is largely due to predation.
A female rat can breed as much as 500 times within a six-hour period. This period is known as a period of receptivity. This receptivity happens approx. 15 times a year. If you do those maths you can see why it is critical to keep rat numbers under control! A mating pair can produce 2,000 offspring per year.
Interesting rat facts
- Rat’s teeth grow 4.5 to 5.5 inches per year but they grind them down by their constant gnawing on everything – pipes, wood, trees, cement, bricks and anything else that gets in their way.
- A rat can survive being flushed down the toilet and can actually tread water for three days.
- Rats don’t like to live alone. They tend to suffer from loneliness and depression. If one of their group is sick they will take care of them.
- When a rat plays they omit a happy laughter sort of sound.
What to do if you have a rat in your home
Rats cause damage with their constant gnawing. they can chew through wood, pipes and electrical cables making them a fire hazard as well as a nuisance. They also spread diseases. if you think you have a rat in your home then it is imperative that you call in pest control experts to remove these pests. they will not only remove your guests but also help to ensure that they don’t find their way in again.