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Wherever you find people, a rat infestation is not too far away. Rat populations can be found in rural, suburban and urban areas, especially if there’s a water source nearby. Rats need a water source in order to survive even though they don’t drink much water per day.
Rats are also social creatures, which means a hierarchy develops in rat populations. This typically consists of one dominant rat and several subordinates. Although this is typically found in male rats, female rats display hierarchies as well.
Below you’ll find common rat behaviors to help you better understand rat infestations if you happen to be experiencing one.
Male rats begin to secrete testosterone after puberty, which encourages reproductive behavior. On the other hand, female rats experience an ovarian cycle that is divided into several phases: proestrus, ovulation, estrus and diestrus. This cycle repeats itself once diestrus is complete.
Pregnant female rats will pick a nesting site and build a nest before her young are born. In order for the young to survive, the mother must lick her young clean, nurse them and return the young back to the nest if they stray away.
At this stage, a mother rat may display signs of maternal aggression to protect her young and attack animals who threaten the nest.
Rats will pretty much eat whatever is placed in front of them. A more technical term for this is “opportunistic omnivores”. From fruit to animal carcasses, don’t be surprised if you find rat eating these items or anything in between:
Sometimes rats will hunt for bugs or small animals. Rats that live or are near cities can be found in garbage cans or landfills.
Did you know rats are able to chew through wood, cinder blocks and electrical wires? Rats have large front teeth that give them a powerful bite which can easily pierce skin and even cut through bone.
Rats typically bite when they feel threatened but they have also been known for biting people, especially children and babies, on hands, feet, fingers, toes and even the face. Symptoms of rat bites include:
If you or someone you know has experienced a rat bite, seek medical attention immediately. Diseases from rat bites can usually be treated with antibiotics but can be deadly if side effects lead to meningitis or pneumonia.
Because rats are notorious chewers, rat gnawing or bite marks are a strong indication of a rat infestation.
The most obvious sign of a rat infestation is finding dead or living rats on your property but they can be secretive and hide in tight holes and crevices. Rats are smart creatures and can navigate around their environment quickly.
Finding damaged materials like holes in walls or floorboards is a common sign of a rat infestation. Other common signs of a rat infestation are:
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