Fun facts about rats

  • Rats take care of injured and sick rats in their group.
  • Without companionship rats tend to become lonely and depressed.
  • Rats have excellent memories. Once they learn a navigation route, they won’t forget it.
  • When happy, rats have been observed to chatter or grind their teeth. This is often accompanied by vibrating eyes.
  • Rats make happy “laughter” sounds when they play.
  • Rats succumb to peer-pressure, just like humans. Brown rats are prone to disregard personal experiences in order to copy the behaviour of their peers. The urge to conform is so strong that they will even choose to eat unpalatable food if they are in the company of other rats who are eating it.
  • Although very curious animals, rats are also shy, and prefer to run away than confront a potential threat. Rats are extremely clean animals, spending several hours every day grooming themselves and their group members. They are less likely than cats or dogs to catch and transmit parasites and viruses.
  • A rat can go longer than a camel without having a drink of water.
  • Rats’ tails help them to balance, communicate and regulate their body temperature.

Rodents present a unique challenge due to their habitual feeding on all foodstuffs left lying around. They cause extensive damage because they destroy both human food and animal feed, and often gnaw on cabling, equipment and packaging. Rodents are nocturnal, feeding mostly during the night. Their incisors have a sharp, bevelled edge and are well suited for gnawing. These incisors grow continuously and the regular chewing and gnawing keeps these them worn down. Successful long-term rat control is not simple - the key is to control rat populations, not individual rats.

 

What you can do to control rats

Sanitation is essential. Rodents must have food, water and shelter to survive. So clean up any spills and keep food in appropriate containers - rats need about 228 grams of food daily, while mice are nibblers, feeding 20 or more times during evening rounds. Don't forget the dog food. Rats also need water every day, so make sure there is no standing water. Make sure there is no stacked timber of other items that can provide a safe haven next to your home.

Rodent proofing will aid in preventing rodents from entering. Close all holes and crevices (note plumbing and pipes entering the house) and make sure that no trees are overhanging onto your house. Check gaps under your doors - if a pen can fit under there so an your guest.

Traps are a safe means of eliminating rodents, but this is a longer process as only one rodent is caught at a time and it needs to be checked daily.

Baits can work well, but carry risks of secondary poisoning and needs to be kept away from children and pets. Baits have varying degrees of effectiveness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Norway rat vs Roof rat

Summary of distinguishing features

Description

Norway Rat

Roof rat

House mouse

Tail

16 to 21 cm

19 to 25 cm

7 to 11 cm

Body size

18 to 25 cm

16 to 21 cm

6 to 10 cm

Weight

Male - 350g;

Female 250g

200g

15g

Appearance

Bigger & thicker; blunt nose, smaller eyes & ears

Smaller & thinner; pointy nose, large eyes & ears

Small & thin; pointy nose, large ears & small eyes.

 

Colour

Black reddish to greyish brown; stomach grey to white

Black-grey or different shades of brown;

stomach grey

Back dark to medium brownish grey;

stomach light grey to cream- brown

Droppings

Average. 19mm long, blunt edges.

Ave. 13mm long, pointed ends.

3 to 6mm long, pointed ends.

 

 

Habitat

Indoors (prefers ground floors, cavity walls & basements) & outdoors (burrows)

Homes, shops, warehouses, grain stores, poultry farms & animal houses. Harbourage always near water source.

Indoors (prefers vacant) & outdoors; dark & secluded areas; nesting material includes paper, fabrics, etc...

Habits

Predominantly nocturnal, very cautious. Fear of new objects. Uses established “runs”.

Predominantly nocturnal, very cautious. Usually in upper areas in structures & trees. Sometimes forage in groups.

Social with family but aggressive t other populations; territory marked with urine; keep close to nest (within 1.5m)

Mobility

Not very agile, climbs if necessary, swims well; territory up to 100m.

Agile, likes to climb; can swim but avoids water; territory up to 30m.

Agile, can swim; territory up to 6m. Highly territorial.

Sexually mature

2 to 3 months

2 to 3 months

1.5 months

Litter size

7 to 12

5 to 10

4 to 16

Litters per year

3 to 7

3 to 6

7 to 8

Birth to maturity

10 to 12 weeks

12 to 16 weeks

8 to 12 weeks

Natural mortality

About 90%

per year

About 90%

per year

About 90%

per year

 

Food preference

Everything, incl. Meat, cereals, etc... Enjoys food with high water content.

Moist fruits, cockroaches, slugs, snails.

Prefers grains. Sometimes insects trapped on glue boards.

Food consumed daily

30g

15g

3g (usually from food source).

Daily water requirements

60ml

15ml

3ml

 

Distribution

Usually ground living, sometimes burrows

Often climbs, agile; rarely burrows

Usually ground living & burrows; often climbs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                        Identification of droppings

 

                                                 

 

 

              

 

                                                 Snap Traps                                       Tamper resitant rodent boxes

 

 

 

Commercial & Domestic

 

For our commercial clients, we offer a comprehensive rodent program that forms part of the IPM process. This includes audits when necessary, and all the paperwork needed for compliance. When it comes to our domestic clients, we consider varying factors such as children, pets, etc…  

 

Rodenticides

 

We use only the best rodenticides, while taking care not to cause secondary poisoning. Our rodenticides can be placed in tamper resistant rodent boxes that are secured in place. Our options are wax blocks, pellets, liquid, paste and tracking powder.    

Mechanical control

 

We make use of snap traps (which can be placed inside the tamper resistant boxes), multiple catch traps and cage traps. Glue traps are often frowned upon as they are not killed immediately.