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Rats

We no longer provide a pest control service, if you have a problem with rats in your home, please consider contacting a pest control specialist. 

If there is a rubbish problem within a public or council owned area which is encouraging rats please report this to us;

Report street cleansing issue

Prevention

  1. Always keep rubbish in a dustbin which has a well fitting lid
  2. Don’t let your garden get overgrown
  3. Don’t provide rats a home by keeping stacks of material lying about that you will not use in the foreseeable future
  4. Only compost food waste in a properly designed rat proof bin
  5. If you feed the birds, clear away any uneaten food every evening

Disease

Rats are a common pest which can transmit life threatening diseases to man and will cause serious structural damage to property. Among the diseases that rats are known to carry are cholera, typhus, bubonic plague and leptospirosis, a bacterial illness spread by their urine contaminating water or food. Infection with leptospires can cause no symptoms at all, a mild flu-like illness, or a more severe illness called Weil’s disease, with jaundice and kidney failure. Symptoms usually develop seven - 12 days after initial infection with leptospires, though rarely the incubation period can be as short as two to three days or as long as 30 days.

Facts

Brown rats have been bred for research and the pet trade. They spread across Britain via the shipping traffic from foreign countries in the 18th Century, largely replacing the black rat. Along with house mice, they are considered to be the most widespread terrestrial mammal. During the day, rats usually stay in their burrows and come out at night to search for food.

They eat meats, fish, flour, seeds, grains, fruits, vegetables and anything a human will eat. They eat 30g of food per day and drink about 15ml water each day. A rat must have water daily to survive.

The brown rat is greyish-brown in colour but this varies from pure grey to pure black or any combination of this. They are large and stocky, measure 30 - 45 cm in length including the tail. They have a blunt nose, small close-set ears and a long naked tail. They weigh up to 650g. The rat dropping is 19mm long and oblong shaped.

Brown rats live in small, hierarchical family groups, including one or more dominant male. They are neo-phobic (showing a fear of new objects) which makes them cautious and any new object in their territory takes them several days before they will accept it. Like mice, rats are colour blind and have poor eyesight. Their sense of smell and touch is however acute.

Rats can squeeze through a hole of 13mm diameter. Though not good climbers because of their bulk, the brown rat can climb up the inside and outside of pipes and jump as much as a metre vertically, drop 15cms without injury and can burrow down to depths of 1.2m.

Brown rats are capable of mating at three months. Females come into heat every four or five days. Females have an average of three - seven litters per year with six - twelve pups per litter. Their eyes open at six days and they are fully furred by 15 days. After giving birth the female goes back into heat in 24 hours. Adults live for approximately one year.

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