THE WORLD OF RATS - PEST WILDLIFE REMOVAL
Comprehensive Pest Wildlife Removal Information On All Things Rats Related
RATS - INVADE HOMES IN MANY MORE WAYS THAN ONE
The best and only way to perform rat removal is to trap them. Rats are highly intelligent animals and can easily outsmart the untrained rat trapper. Rats are able to gain access to a home in a variety of ways which include - squeezing through drainage & sewage pipes, chewing holes in the roof, and digging tunnels along a homes foundation and entering the basement. Rat problems are most common in the southern regions of the USA in states like Florida & Louisiana.
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IDENTIFICATION - NORWAY RATS AND ROOF RATS
People don’t often see rats, but signs of their presence are easy to detect. In California, the most troublesome rats are two introduced species, the roof rat and the Norway rat. It’s important to know which species of rat is present in order to choose effective control strategies.
Norway rats, Rattus norvegicus, sometimes called brown or sewer rats, are stocky burrowing rodents that are larger than roof rats. Their burrows are found along building foundations, beneath rubbish or woodpiles, and in moist areas in and around gardens and fields. Nests can be lined with shredded paper, cloth, or other fibrous material. When Norway rats invade buildings, they usually remain in the basement or ground floor. Norway rats live throughout the 48 contiguous United States. While generally found at lower elevations, this species can occur wherever people live.
Roof rats, R. rattus, sometimes called black rats, are slightly smaller than Norway rats. The roof rat is dark brown to black in color and measures 13 to 18 inches in length including tail. They weigh 5-9 ounces, are slender, and their ears are large and nearly hairless. Their droppings are long and cylindrical. Unlike Norway rats, their tails are longer than their heads and bodies combined. Roof rats are agile climbers and usually live and nest above ground in shrubs, trees, and dense vegetation such as ivy. In buildings, they are most often found in enclosed or elevated spaces such as attics, walls, false ceilings, and cabinets. The roof rat has a more limited geographical range than the Norway rat, preferring ocean-influenced, warmer climates. In areas where the roof rat occurs, the Norway rat might also be present.
While rats are much larger than the common house mouse or meadow vole, a young rat is occasionally confused with a mouse. In general, very young rats have large heads and feet in proportion to their bodies, whereas those of adult mice are proportionately much smaller. While both rats and mice gnaw on wood, rats leave much larger tooth marks than mice do.
WHAT IS A RAT'S GESTATION PERIOD?
Rats can reach sexual maturity at 5 weeks of age, so the sexes should be separated prior to this age. Rats do not recognize incest, so brothers and sisters and even mothers and sons must be separated.
Rats do not have a breeding season, although very hot or cold temperatures will reduce breeding. Females of breeding age come into heat all year-round, every 4 to 5 days, unless they are pregnant, and even then, they may come in heat once or twice early in the pregnancy. Each female usually has a regular schedule that can be marked on the calendar, but it can vary. Each heat usually begins in the evening and lasts most of the night.
As a female approaches menopause at about 18 months of age, her cycle will become more irregular until it stops completely, and if she is bred during this time, the size of her litters will decrease as her fertility wanes. It is possible for a female who has stopped cycling to get pregnant, although the pregnancy may not develop normally.
DAMAGE RATS DO
Rats eat and contaminate foodstuffs and animal feed. They also damage containers and packaging materials in which foods and feed are stored. Both rat species cause problems by gnawing on electrical wires and wooden structures such as doors, ledges, corners, and wall material, and they tear up insulation in walls and ceilings for nesting.
Norway rats can undermine building foundations and slabs with their burrowing activities and can gnaw on all types of materials, including soft metals such as copper and lead, as well as plastic and wood. If roof rats are living in the attic of a residence, they can cause considerable damage with their gnawing and nest-building activities. They also damage garden crops and ornamental plantings.
Among the diseases rats can transmit to humans or livestock are murine typhus, leptospirosis, salmonellosis (food poisoning), and ratbite fever. Plague is a disease that both roof and Norway rats can carry, but in California it is more commonly associated with ground squirrels, chipmunks, and native woodrats.
A successful rat control strategy typically includes three elements: sanitation measures; building construction and rodent proofing; and, if necessary, population control.
SANITATION: Sanitation is fundamental to rat control and must be continuous. If sanitation measures aren’t properly maintained, the benefits of other measures will be lost and rats will quickly return.
BUILDING CONSTRUCTION AND RODENT PROOFING: The most successful and long-lasting form of rat control in structures is exclusion, or “building them out.”
POPULATION CONTROL: When food, water, and shelter are available, rat populations can increase quickly. While the most permanent form of control is to limit food, water, shelter, and access to buildings, direct population control often is necessary.
RODENT PROOFING YOUR HOME
- Repair or replace damaged ventilation screen around the foundation and under the eaves.
- Provide a tight-fitting cover for the crawl space.
- Seal all openings around pipes, cables, and wires that enter through walls or the foundation.
- Be sure all windows that can be opened are screened and that the screens are in good condition.
- Cover all chimneys with a spark arrester.
- Make sure internal screens on roof and attic air vents are in good repair.
- Cover rooftop plumbing vent pipes in excess of 2 inches in diameter with screens over their tops.
- Make sure all exterior doors are tight fitting and weatherproofed at the bottom.
Thanks to http://wdfw.wa.gov/ and http://extension.psu.edu/