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RATS

Physical Characteristics

Rats will live for 6 to 12 months and are sexually mature at 2-3 months.

Female rats produce an average of 4-7 litters per year and 8-12 young per litter.

For self defense, rats are nocturnal and become active after a premises has become quiet, or about one 1/2 hour after dusk. When left alone they will roam around day or night.

The roof rat is also a house rat and may live in trees, shrubs and in vines on the outside walls of houses.

The Norway rat is the most common rat and occurs practically everywhere.

Because of individual variations, rats often can't be separated by color.

Rats are color blind and have poor vision, but highly developed senses of smell, taste, hearing and touch.

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Feeding Habits

Rats are omnivorous but do have preferences. They prefer seeds, fresh vegetables or fruits. Norway rats prefer food high in fat content.

Rats will eat just about anything including clothing, leather, bone, lead, and plastic pipes, cement and wood.

Rats will eat their own injured or weak.

Rats prefer nesting areas out of sight and reach of enemies and nests can be made up of any kinds of materials but they prefer bits of paper, rags, burlap, straw, and wood chips.

Roof rats are agile climbers and can shinny the outside of 3 inch diameter pipes or any size pipe within three inches of a wall.

Rats are capable of climbing inside of vertical pipes that are 1 1/2 to 4 inches in diameter.

Norway rats can swim as far as 1/2 mile in open water, dive through water plumbing traps and travel in sewer lines, even against strong water currents.

Roof rats are capable swimmers, but only swim if necessary.

Rats have excellent balance and can easily scale brick or other rough walls, as well as travel along power lines and ropes.

Rats are excellent jumpers and are capable of jumping vertically 36 inches and horizontally 48 inches; they can drop from a height of 50 feet without serious injury.

Since rats can fit through openings that are as small as 1/2 inch in diameter it is very difficult to rat proof a building.

Norway rats can burrow to a depth of 4 feet.

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Disease and Damage Factors

The roof rat was the common house rat in Europe during medieval times when outbreaks of the Plague, known as the Black Death, killed over 25,000,000 people.

They are known to be vectors of the following diseases:

  • • Murine Typhus Fever
  • • Weil's Disease
  • • Food Poisoning
  • • Hantaviral Infections
  • • Rat Bite Fever
  • • Trichinosis

The presence of rodents reduces the rental value of apartments and stores.

The noises they make as they climb, gnaw, and fight between the walls and floors of buildings often keep inhabitants from sleeping.

Rats can damage food and property estimated at one billion dollars per year.

Rats can damage electrical wiring, causing short circuits and fires.

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Prevention and Control

The control of rodents varies depending on the individual situation. Covering holes, filling cracks, baiting or trapping may be necessary. Your Burge Technician is trained to determine the best means of control for your home or business.

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