There is a saying that if you want to achieve victory over an opponent you need to know your enemy. In this day and age, an enemy that many people have to face down at some juncture in their lives comes in the form of a rat infestation in their homes or businesses. In many ways, in order to have success in eradicating a rat infestation from your home or business and keeping yourself safe in the process, you need to know your enemy. This includes coming to an understanding of some of the essential elements of rat behavior.
Rats are not solitary creatures. More often than not they live in ever-growing communal populations. This is the reason why if you see a rat or have evidence of a rat in your house, there is almost certainly more than one of these rodents on the premises. Indeed, there is most likely to be a growing colony of rats somewhere in your home.
As a rat population grows, a hierarchy develops. Stronger rats become the dominant figures in a rat colony with the weaker ones playing a subordinate role.
As a community grows larger, male rats will no longer protect burrows occupied by females like they usually do in smaller colonies. When a female rat is in heat, multiple males will mate with her. The order of mating is based on the dominance of the involved males.
Aggressive Behavior of Rats
Rats are inclined to exhibit aggressive behavior in situations in which they feel threatened. This differs from other rodents like mice that do not exhibit aggressive behavior as a normal rule when they feel threatened.
When threatened, a rat will be inclined to chase a perceived opponent and fight. Rats will bite when threatened. They also engage in behavior that looks very much like boxing. Both male and female rats will stand their ground. In addition, when rats are threatened by humans they are not apt to immediately back down and run away.
Where Do Rats Live in the United States?
Rats can be found a dwelling in nearly any part of the United States. Rats live in cities, suburbs, and rural areas.
One factor that sets rats apart from a good many other wild animals is that they thrive in human environments. This has resulted in them being given the technical name of commensal rodent.
Rats are also known to travel significant distances. They are known to have broad foraging areas. With that said, when something new or different appears in their foraging zone rats will great it with significant skepticism. As a consequence, rat traps can prove rather ineffective when a person is interested in eliminating these rodents from a property.
Rats truly are nocturnal creatures. The normal sleep cycle for rats has them sleeping during daylight hours. Rats begin to awake and move at about sunset. They typically return to their burrows for sleep directly before sunrise. As a consequence, you are very unlikely to encounter a rat in your home or business during daylight hours.
Foragers and Scavengers
Many experts in animal behavior refer to rats as “nature’s little scavengers.” In simple terms, rats roam about in their scavenging zones, snare what they can, and bring it back to their burrows or dens. This includes everything from food to items they can use as nesting materials.
Rats are inclined to scavenge for more than they can eat at the immediate time. Thus, they tend to build up stashes of food to use at a future date when they’ve had less luck foraging.
Digging and Burrowing
Rats are naturally inclined to dig or burrow. Thus, a space like an attic can prove to be attractive to them. By taking up residence in an attic, rats can dig and burrow into the insulation. If they end up in a space where they cannot dig or burrow, they will collect different items which they will pile up and burrow into.
Hazards of Rats
In addition to understanding these basic behavioral patterns of rats, you also need to understand that these rodents can carry diseases. For example, rats can carry the hantavirus, a situation which can present a unique threat to humans.
Humans can contract the hantavirus by coming into contact with rat feces. Dried rat droppings are particularly dangerous when it comes to the spread of hantavirus.
The hantavirus can remain alive in dried rat droppings for an extended period of time. Dried rat droppings crumble very easily, a process that sends feces dust potentially containing this virus into the air. If inhaled, a person can become infected with hantavirus. Hantavirus infection can result in a serious and potentially fatal condition known as hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, for which there is no known cure. Those who recover from it are said to do so spontaneously. Over 30 percent of individuals who contract hantavirus pulmonary syndrome will die.
Because of the serious health risks presented by rat droppings, particularly dried feces, when faced with the aftermath of an infestation issue, seeing professional biohazard remediation assistance is recommended. Through the engagement of a pro, you are not put at risk during the cleanup process. Moreover, you can better rest assured that the rat droppings cleanup is undertaken in a manner that eradicates potential dangers.
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