What Do Rats Eat and How Can You End the Feast?
Have you ever heard the sound of a rat gnawing something in your home? What an eerie, disgusting noise! Yet, if you do not know what rats eat, you could feed them without even realizing it. So, here’s a little primer on the foods rats might thrive on at your property.
Different Rats, Different Diets
All rats fall under the category of omnivores, but not all rats tend to eat the same things. For example, you usually see either a brown Norway rat or a black roof rat here in Colorado. These two types of rats have different diets.
Do you want to know what Norway rats eat? If so, take a look at your own diet. These rats eat the same things humans eat. That is, they consume meat, cereal grains, and veggies. They also eat garbage as well as pet food. In addition, they will gnaw on just about anything that gets in their way. As a result, they can do a lot of damage to wood and other building materials that make up your home. Besides their food, these pests also need a source of water to survive.
While Norway rats will eat just about anything they find, roof rats have a narrower range of preferences. They might eat meat in a pinch, but they prefer cereal grains, fruits, vegetables, and seeds. In fact, roof rats enjoy fruits so much that they often go to homes with fruit trees. Many people call roof rats “fruit rats” for this reason. However, roof rats have the same habit as the Norway rat. They, too, will gnaw on your home itself.
Rats’ Favorite Foods
Rats, then, eat a wide variety of foods. However, these rodents do have some favorites. Like many humans, they enjoy sweet and salty snacks. They also love nuts of all kinds. In addition, they have a strong attraction to fruits and even more to berries. Yet, these animals have an even greedier appetite. They will eat clothing or leather, especially if it has the smell of food on it. Beyond that, they will eat your houseplants, landscaping, or anything growing in your garden.
How Much Do Rats Eat?
Rats and mice have very different appetite levels because of their different sizes and other physical differences. As for rats, they can eat up to a third of their body weight every day. Plus, they hoard food for later. This might not seem too bad, but it can quickly add up if you have multiple rats. Unfortunately, rats multiply quickly. Breeding starts when a female is 40-45 days old, and they can have a litter in 22 days. Therefore, once you get a male and female rat inside your home, they can take over very quickly.
Bigger Problems Than Food Loss
The problem with rats’ eating only begins with a direct loss of food. Even worse, they contaminate food, often without you realizing it. Rats can shed up to 500,000 body hairs and leave over 25,000 droppings per year. Then, if any of that gets into your food, you could get very sick. After all, rats carry a wide array of diseases.
Beyond that, rats can damage any part of your home. They gnaw away the decorative elements easily. However, they do not hesitate to go deeper, chewing up the structure of your home. They also chew electrical wiring, which causes damage and can lead to house fires.