Rats and Rat Control

Removing Rats

Rats strike terror in the hearts of homeowners and business owners alike. In fact, at least 15 popular horror films feature rats as the main character’s primary enemy. Finding rats in your home is a significant problem, but you can solve it if you know what to do. It all starts with understanding these dangerous pests, and how to handle them with proper rat control.

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Rat Behavior

Rats constantly gnaw at everything from parts of your home to any type of food to plastic sheeting and caulk. They eat at night and again at dawn. However, if you do not disturb them, they might forage for food during the day.

Alone in the Wild

Wild rats have a very territorial nature. When there are not very many rats present, the males defend the females and their nests. Yet, when you have a significant infestation, the males no longer take care of the females. Then, it is every rat for themselves. In this case, one rat becomes dominant over the others. Female rats tend to live together in groups of up to six, nurturing their young together as a group.

Stuck Together in Large Groups

Rats antagonize each other almost constantly. Their combative behavior includes running swiftly to attack, boxing by pushing with their forearms, jump fighting, and wrestling. Besides that, their threat displays can consist of gnashing their teeth, arching their backs, drumming their feet, and other aggressive behaviors. Then, if they decide to retreat, they may run or jump to escape.

Rat Habitat

Rats live nearly everywhere humans live. For example, they live on farms, in the city, and in suburban areas. Also, they find homes in warehouses, businesses, and family homes. Rats live in underground burrows about 3 inches in diameter. They often make their burrows around buildings along with slabs or foundations. Specifically, they gravitate to areas where there is a lot of clutter, refuse, and dense vegetation. Also, if you use railroad ties for garden borders, you might find them burrowing around that wood. Rats also live under compost piles or dog pens.

When Rats Infests Our Homes

When rats come inside, they make nests in your garage, inside drawers, or behind the walls. Rats can enter your home through a hole as small as 1/2-inch tall by 3/4-inch wide – just big enough to fit their skull through the opening. In addition, they can come inside through door thresholds, garage doors, chimneys, dryer vents, and spaces where gas, electrical, and water lines come into your house.

Facts about Rats

Wild rats have a very territorial nature. When there are not very many rats present, the males defend the females and their nests. Yet, when you have a significant infestation, the males no longer take care of the females. Then, it is every rat for themselves. In this case, one rat becomes dominant over the others. Female rats tend to live together in groups of up to six, nurturing their young together as a group.

Biology

Many types of rats inhabit the world. However, Norway rats are the type of rat pest most commonly found here in Colorado. Other names for these rats include brown rats, sewer rats, city rats, and common rats. The following information pertains to this variety of rats.

Identification

Rats are brown and sometimes have a few black hairs. Their underside shows up white, yellow, or gray. These four-legged creatures measure about seven to nine and a half inches long. Also, you can identify them by their blunt muzzle, small eyes and ears, and tails that are shorter than the length of their body and head together.

Signs of Rats

Sometimes, though, rats stay hidden, and you do not see them right away. Fortunately, you can also recognize their presence by observing other signs. For example, you might see gnaw marks in your home. If the bite marks or holes are rough, you probably have a rat present now. However, if they are smooth, it indicates that the holes are older. That means the rats have lived in your home for a while. In addition, you may notice capsule-shaped droppings with blunt ends. Other signs include footprints, rub marks along walls, stacked food along runways, or food products they have gnawed on or damaged. Plus, you might hear them scuttling around or gnawing. Rats are colorblind and have low vision, but they have keen hearing, smell, and touch senses.

Reproduction

Rat reproduction varies depending on how many rats are present. First, in low populations, rats engage in polygamous mating in which each male rat will mate with several female rats. On the other hand, in higher populations, rats instead turn to polyandrous mating. Many males mate with many females. In that case, several rats might mate with a female, and whichever sperm succeeds produces the offspring. And rats also practice group mating. In spring and fall, rats reproduce more, each female typically weaning 20 or more rats every year.

Adult LifeStyle

Once born, rats typically live about one year on average. Females tend to live longer than males, with most females living to at least 16 months. If you do not eradicate a rat infestation, the population will fluctuate over time. However, if you decrease the rat population by 50% to 90%, the population will quickly recover. Finally, if you completely eradicate the rats in your space, they will typically stay gone for at least two years.

How to Get Rid of Rats

Taking care of a rat problem requires 100% eradication. Otherwise, the rats will multiply faster than before.

Problems with DIY Rat Control

DIY rat control presents several problems. First, you might not find all the rats immediately, so you might not eradicate them completely. Second, using rat poisons can harm your children, pets, or the environment if a person or animal gets to it before the rat does. As for glue traps, they typically do not work at all for rats. At the same time, humane live traps do not make sense, as you still have to kill the rat – releasing it into the wild only gives it a chance to come back to your home or someone else’s.

When Conducting Do-It-Yourself Rat Control

Your best option for do-it-yourself rat elimination is large snap traps explicitly designed for rats. These traps have heavy-duty springs and kill the rat instantly and humanely when they reach in their nose to snatch the bait. Place the traps 10 to 20 feet apart wherever you have seen the most rat activity. For example, you can place them about a foot away from a rat runway but not directly on the runway. Use different kinds of baits in the traps, such as peanut butter or meat. Plus, be sure to wear gloves when checking the traps to avoid hygiene issues. Importantly, make sure you do not try to kill rats with the smaller traps designed for mice.

How to Prevent Rats

Preventing rats from coming into your home in the first place is the ideal solution to rat control. Yet, even if you already have rats, you need to take these preventative measures. If not, more rats will simply come back in as soon as you get rid of the current rat residents in your home or business.

Here are a few tips to prevent rats from making a home where you live or work:

  • Keep firewood stored away from the building.
  • Remove any piles of debris from around the structure.
  • Seal holes outside the building using coarse steel wool, wire screen, lightweight metal, or copper mesh.
  • Make sure doors and windows fit tightly.
  • Keep your home clean and sanitary.
  • Pay special attention to food storage.
  • Do not leave pet food out where rats can get into it.

Pest Threat Level

8/10

WHY RATS ARE A THREAT

Rats present a severe threat to homes, people, and pets. Unfortunately, they gnaw and destroy walls, furniture, and paper, including books and important documents. They attack and bite people and pets. Additionally, rats contaminate or eat any food supplies you have, chewing through plastic and other containers to feed. Even worse, rats carry diseases and can put you and your family at serious risk of infection, injury, or even death.

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How OMNIS Can Help with Rats

If you have a rat infestation in your home or commercial property, you have no time to waste. Fortunately, at OMNIS, we have all the experience, tools, and techniques needed to eradicate every rat from your premises. We not only remove those dangerous creatures, but we also help you choose prevention strategies that are ideally suited to your home. So do not suffer from the worry and chaos of dealing with a rat invasion. Instead, call OMNIS today to get rid of rats for good.

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