Rodents are mammals characterized by two continuously growing incisors in the
upper and lower jaws which must be kept short by gnawing.
Rats are some of the most troublesome and damaging rodents. Rats consume and
contaminate food, damage structures and property, and transmit parasites and
diseases to humans and pets. Rats live and thrive in a variety of climates and
conditions. Rats are often found in and around homes and other buildings, farms,
gardens, and open fields.
Because rats are active throughout the year, one should periodically check for
signs of their presence. Once rats have invaded your garden or landscaping,
unless your place is truly rodent proof, it is only a matter of time before they
come indoors. It is very important to control rats before their numbers get too
high so control should be started as early as possible.
Rats, like mice, are active mostly at night.
Rats have poor eyesight, but they make up for this with their keen senses of
smell, hearing, taste, and touch. Rats constantly explore and learn about their
environment, memorizing the locations of pathways, obstacles, shelter, food and
water. Rats quickly detect and avoid new objects placed into a familiar
environment. As a result, traps and baits often are avoided for several days or
more following their initial placement. Rats gain entry to structures through
any openings and by gnawing, climbing, jumping, or swimming through sewer pipes
or broken drains.
Rats consume and contaminate foodstuffs and animal feed and also damage
containers and packaging materials in which these foods are stored. Outside of
being a nuisance and health hazard, rats cause problems by gnawing on electrical
wires, wooden structures and tearing up insulation in walls and ceilings for
nesting. Rats also damage garden crops and ornamental plantings.
Three elements are necessary for a successful rat management program: sanitation
measures, building construction and rodent proofing, and, if necessary,
population control. When food, water, and shelter are available, rat populations
can reproduce and grow quickly. While the most permanent form of control is to
limit food, water, shelter, and access to buildings, direct population control
is often necessary.
The general rodents associated with human inhibitions are:
- Rats : These are various medium-sized, long-tailed rodents.
True rats are members of the genus Rattus, the most important of which to humans
are the black rat and the brown rat. Because of the ability to learn, rats were
investigated to see whether they may exhibit general intelligence like larger or
more complex animals.
- Mice : These are small mammal belonging to the order of
rodents. The best known mouse species is the common house mouse. It is also a
popular pet. Mice can at times be harmful rodents, damaging and eating food,
causing structural damage and spreading diseases through their parasites and
- Bandicoots : These are a group of about 20 species of small to
medium-sized, terrestrial rodents
Rats have a powerful social chain of command. The largest and strongest rats will get the best food and harborage.
Rats are sharp animals. They are more intelligent than rabbits, hamsters, mice, gerbils and guinea pigs for instance. They also have excellent memories. Once rats learn a direction-finding route, they never forget it.
Rats are probing but shy. They choose to run away rather than confront a potential threat.
Rats have very poor eyesight and are colorblind.
Most rats are right-handed.
Rats have been proven to make a laughter-like noise (unable to be heard by the human ear alone) when tickled and dream while sleeping.
An adult rat can squeeze into your home through a hole as small as the size of a quarter.
Rats can live for up to 18 months, but most die before they are one year old.
Rats have strong teeth that allow them to chew through glass, cinder block, wire, aluminium and lead.
Rats do not have any thumbs.
Rats are a very clean animal; they spend several hours per day grooming them.