Rats will commonly enter homes in search of food or shelter. They are most often problems in homes during the winter months but can enter at any time of the year. Usually a house has either rats or mice, rarely both. It is important that the problem be accurately identified so proper control measures can be performed.
Rats are usually found in attics or basements. Their droppings are about the size of a large raisin. Rats are often first noticed because of the running or gnawing noises they make.
Damage can be caused to foods and your belongings. Besides eating food, their droppings and urine can contaminate items and cause strong odours. They may damage items with their gnawing. Sometimes electrical fires are caused by damaged wires.
Most people will not tolerate seeing these pests running about in their house or place of work.
Two different species of Rats are seen in the Victoria area. The most common is the Roof Rat. Roof rats are excellent climbers. They frequently enter homes to nest in attics. Outdoors, the roof rat often lives in trees. The other Rat is the Norway Rat. Norway rats tend to live in basements and crawl spaces. Outdoors, they often live underground and in sewers.
Rats have between 4 and 7 litters per year with an average litter size of 8 to 12 young. They reach sexual maturity between 2 and 4 months of age.
- climb any rough surface
- jump almost a meter (40 in.) straight up
- jump more than a meter horizontally
- pass through any opening bigger than 1.3 cm (1/2 in.) square
- climb the inside or outside of most vertical pipes
- reach about 33 cm (13 in.) above a flat surface
- walk along horizontal wires and climb vertical wires
- gnaw on almost anything
- produce rub marks (dark smudges rubbed onto surfaces which they contact as they travel and are produced from oils on their fur )