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Why Getting Rid Of Rats Is MUCH Harder Than You Think

We’ve all heard the term “Lab Rat” and know that rats and mice are most often used as test subjects. But have you ever stopped to wonder why we chose this animal in so many of humanity’s experiments? I’ll indulge you in a little secret, rats don’t just use their intelligence in lab experiments, but also to invade and infest homes with maximum efficiency and cunning. 

Identifying A Rat Infestation

Before worrying about how hard rats are to eradicate, recognizing signs of rats in your home is just as important. Here are the 3 biggest signs;

  • Chewed/Damaged furniture – to obtain their food, rats will chew through furniture and even thin walls to get what they want. Bite/Scratch marks on furniture can alert you to the presence of nearby rodents, and the bigger the bite marks.. The bigger your problem. [image of chew marks]
  • Rodent droppings – Another obvious sign of rats living close by is their droppings. While Rats are amazing at hiding away and staying out of sight, they’re bound to leave evidence when it comes time for them to ‘use the bathroom’
  • Hearing Scurrying or squeaks – Ever wondered what goes ‘bump’ in the night? It’s probably rats. They’re known to move around the house at night while people sleep and often move around in the walls, so next time you hear a strange noise while going to bed, don’t be so quick to blame paranoia

Why Rats Are So Hard to Get Rid of

Here’s a not-so-fun fact: Rats can squeeze through holes 4x smaller than the rat itself, even being able to fit into pipes with a tiny 4cm diameter. Once they’re in, they can use this bizarre skill to hide just about anywhere with a crack, so trying to find them manually is ill-advised. 

So rat traps then? A simple solution to a complicated problem! Not Quite. Rats are both highly intelligent and neophobic, which means they have an extreme fear of anything new or unfamiliar. For this reason, rats are very cautious of rat traps and have even been known to send younger, more naive rats to test food they think are poisoned or look ‘too good to be true’. And once they figure out a specific bait is linked to a trap, they’ll inform their whole rat family about it and you can be sure they’ll never touch that trap ever again.

A Rat’s hiding and trap detection skills are also both aided by their strong ability to adapt to situations. There’s a reason rats thrive in very man-made and industrial locations, the most famous example being New York City, it’s because rats have learned to adapt to mankind and profit off both our mistakes and successes (i.e a trash problem or a very cosy-looking home). This skill to adapt means that with every failed attempt to exterminate rats, the harder they are to get rid of. If you find yourself in the midst of a rat infestation and their numbers seem high from the get-go, it’s probably best to call a professional exterminator immediately to take care of the issue before it becomes a nightmare. If you do decide to handle it yourself, here’s a tidbit of info I got from a professional that extermination companies don’t want you to know: rats have preferences. Instead of milk, they go for almond milk, Collagen over Sugar and Oats over Weetbix.

Dangers of Rat Roommates

Living with Rats in your home is just as dangerous as it is creepy. Rats spread many diseases, such as salmonella ( which entails diarrhoea and stomach cramps for up to 72 hours) or Rat Bite Fever (which entails vomiting, headaches and joint pain). Structural damage is also a big concern because rats enjoy chewing and scratching both furniture and important support structure points (eg. wood beams) So unless you want to be disease-ridden in an unstable home, don’t underestimate rats,

Consequences Of Ignoring A Rat Infestation

Speaking of taking care of a rat infestation issue before it becomes a nightmare, you should know just how quickly this transformation can happen. Rats have a very high breeding potential, with a female rat being able to reproduce up to 8 times in their life, with 4-6 baby rats coming out of each pregnancy (Summing up to 56 new rats a year from a single female). Rats don’t take very long to start reproducing either, being able to start the mating process at just 5-8 weeks old. Taking exponential growth into the equation, a small rat infestation can become a vastly big rat infestation in the blink of an eye. 

Rat Infestation Prevention

Now that you know just how exhausting having rats invade your home can be, I’m sure you want to know how to prevent the issue from ever arising in the first place. As mentioned before, rats can squeeze through very small entry points, So the first order of business would be to take a stroll around your home or apartment and seal up any small hole crack that a rat could fit through. 

Managing your trash properly is equally as important, as rats survive off the garbage of humans. Making sure not to leave trash around and having your garbage picked up by waste management trucks to prevent build-up ensures that your home won’t have anything rats want (Food-wise, anyway), and with nothing for them to scrounge from, they’ll find another home that isn’t as smart with their trash management as yours is, Lucky You!

Written by Tyler D’Aquino