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Neophobia in Rats – Why is it so Important to Understand?

neophobia in rats

In a natural setting, a rat’s cautiousness toward unfamiliar objects or environments helps protect them from potential threats or dangers. This is known as neophobia and is something that, as pest controllers, we are all too familiar with. Somewhat problematic to the inexperienced who might try and lay a trap for a rat unsuccessfully, we have extensive knowledge of neophobia in rats and how to deal with it. Let’s take a look in more depth at exactly what it is and how we, as pest controllers, can overcome it:

What is Neophobia in Rats?

Neophobia in rats refers to a fear or aversion to new or novel stimuli. Rats, like many other animals, display neophobic behaviors as a survival mechanism. This behaviour is often observed in studies where researchers introduce new objects, food, or environmental changes.

Why Does This Behaviour Present a Problem?

Introducing bait to try and trap a rat is not going to solve the rat problem. When presented with bait, a rat’s most likely response is to ignore it completely until it is confident that the bait/trap presents no danger. This can take days, even weeks. The rat may take a small test to see if the bait is dangerous before feeling confident to eat more. 

All Situations Are Different

Of course, no two situations are the same. In an environment where rats will constantly be surrounded by noise, moving, objects, and obstructions, they will be less phased by the introduction of something new than where there are fewer disturbances and the rats are more aware of new situations. Where there is more food, more people, and more going on (a commercial property such as a restaurant), the rats may be less neophobic than in a home where they are largely left to come and go as they please within the wall cavities, in loft spaces etc. Every case needs to be treated individually so that a thorough assessment and plan can be made. 

Why Choose Professional Pest Controllers

Successful rat control necessitates the observation of the foraging behaviour of rats. These rodents will often follow specific routes, leaving traces such as smear marks or fecal droppings along their routes. Their behaviour is to use familiar paths where they rely on kinesthesis (muscle awareness/muscle memory) and touch to find their way through spaces. Monitoring and understanding these movement patterns are essential to devise an effective rat control plan. 

Experience is Key to Monitor and Predict Rat Behaviour

To minimise neophobic reactions, the rats need to become acclimatised quickly to new objects so that the results are achieved quickly and effectively.  By strategic and well-timed placement of baits and traps, the professional can achieve a much more rapid response than the DIY pest controller who decides to take matters into their own hands – the results can take weeks if you decide to try and do it yourself. By this time, you could have an even bigger rat infestation on your hands. 

Understanding Their Habits and Behaviours

Other factors need to be considered when laying bait for rats. By nature, a rat is a hoarder. They tend to forage for food and take it away, back to a nest. If using a toxic rat bait, it needs to be non-transferable. It needs to stay in situ rather than being removed to another site and contaminating an area that we have no control over. This is why using professional methods is key – to prevent the treatments from being transferred to other locations. A key environmental aspect of dealing with pests. 

Call the Professionals

There are so many things to consider when dealing with rats that trying to take them on without any prior knowledge or experience is going to take more time, cost more money and present all kinds of issues. Instead of trying to deal with the problem yourself, pick up the phone and call our team on 01752 929292 and let us resolve your rat problems.

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Kay Soppet
Kay Soppet
2024-01-25
I was extremely pleased with Falcon Environmental Services. They were efficient, reliable, friendly and professional. I was happy that I found a local company to help with the problem of pests in my attic. They were always available to talk to explaining the situation to me and how they were going to deal with it. I really felt that they went over, above and beyond what I expected. Nothing was too much trouble, my calls and enquiries always returned with a friendly voice, care and consideration. I would honestly recommend them and use their company again if the need arises. It’s very comforting to find good, reliable professional people you can rely on. Thank you to everyone at FALCON.
Steven Newton
Steven Newton
2024-01-21
I would definitely use this company again very professional.
Marta Hawkins
Marta Hawkins
2024-01-19
Great service, super professional with a nice friendly touch. Always responsive and ready to adjust and accommodate extra needs. Highly recommend
Steve HOPPER
Steve HOPPER
2024-01-18
Fast friendly and knowledgeable, Matthew understands your problems and discusses and explains what can be done to sort the problem, uses various ways to solve or remove whatever is causing the problem, from rats, wasps, bee's, feral pigeons, you name, it Falconry Environment will work hard to find a solution for you...
Sarah Wilkinson
Sarah Wilkinson
2024-01-18
Great service, competitive pricing and friendly staff. Highly recommended
Shane
Shane
2024-01-18
Falcon is the best. Matt is and always such a professional approachable man. We have had the pleasure of using Falcon for a few reasons that they have alway had expert advice and responses.
John Adaway
John Adaway
2024-01-18
I have had the pleasure of working with Matthew and his team and would highly recommend Falcon Environmental Services their friendly and professional approach to the work they do.
Marc Payne
Marc Payne
2024-01-18
An excellent, professional and reliable service as always.
Aaron Brian
Aaron Brian
2024-01-18
Very professional service from every member of the team that I’ve dealt with. The team are extremely knowledgeable and always to willing to help when they can. Highly recommended company. Thanks Matt and the team.
Tracy Phillips
Tracy Phillips
2024-01-18
Very happy with service that we received. High level professional advice and follow-up work was provided by the company. Communication with the office was quick and responsive and colleagues who attended were prompt, helpful and skilled. Would fully recommend the service if and when required.

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