There aren’t many pests whose names double as insults. If somebody called you a termite or a silverfish, you’d probably be more confused than offended. But if somebody calls you a rat? Oh, man. Now that’s an insult.
Rats are some of the ultimate survivors of the animal world. They thrive in a variety of environments from fields to jungles but have found tremendous success living alongside human beings. The most common pest rat, the Norway rat, can be found on every continent in the world except Antarctica.
Rats are generally larger than mice and have longer, thicker tails with a scaly texture. As members of the rodent family, they have fortified incisor teeth which continuously grow throughout their lives. In order to keep their teeth from overgrowing, rats must constantly gnaw, causing destruction wherever they go.
Rats are omnivorous and will eat almost anything they can get their paws on. Human garbage is a favorite, but they will also eat insects, grains, or fruit. Many rats live their lives dependent on humans for a reliable source of food and shelter.
Are Rats Dangerous?
They aren’t just a nuisance. Rats are a real threat to your health and your property. First, rats are known to congregate in some pretty filthy places like sewers and garbage dumpsters. Any bacteria or parasites that may be living in these squalid places are picked up rats and carried into your home. In fact, parasites like fleas and ticks carried by rats can transmit bubonic plague and Lyme disease, respectively.
Additionally, rat droppings are hazardous to come in contact with. Salmonellosis, hantavirus, and leptospirosis are all known to be transmitted by rat feces or urine.
And as we mentioned earlier, rats must constantly gnaw because of their continuously growing teeth. These teeth are surprisingly powerful. Not only can rats make short work of paper materials like storage boxes and books, but they can easily chew through wood, plastic, or even brick. Metal and glass are some of the only materials rats won’t chew up.
The danger of all that gnawing? Structural damage, for one. But one of the most dangerous problems posed by rodents is electrical fires. Rats, mice, and squirrels are known to chew up electrical wires and unwittingly start devastating fires.
How To Prevent Rats
Preventing rats may seem like a big task, but it can actually be quite simple. There are a few main things you need to remember:
- Clean up and clean again. Make sure there are no food scraps left on floors or counters. Wipe down surfaces in your kitchen and don’t leave dishes in the sink.
- Dispose of garbage safely. Make sure not to leave trash, especially food waste, accumulating indoors. Take out the garbage as often as possible and try to leave trash as far away from your house as possible.
- Seal points of entry. Check the exterior of your home and look for any cracks or holes. Most rats can squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter (or even smaller) so don’t overlook small openings. Stuff holes with steel wool or seal them with a metal plate.
For all your home rat control needs, you can rely on the professionals at Smith’s Pest Management. We will eliminate the rats in your home and prevent new rats from ever getting in. So, if you’ve got rat problems in San Jose, don’t wait. Contact us today.