The Facts About Rats
- There are an estimated 200 million rats in the United States– nearly one rat for every person!
- One pair of rats could have 15,000 descendants in a year.
- A rat can gain entrance through any hole larger than a half-inch in diameter.
- A rat can gnaw through wood, plaster, plastic, lead pipe, aluminum, cinder block, porous concrete, adobe brick, metal conduit, soft rubber, cardboard, paper and cloth material.
- When a rat gnaws or chews, it can exert a force of approximately 24,000 pounds per square inch.
- A rat can fall 50 feet without serious injury.
- A rat can jump 3 feet vertically and 4 feet horizontally from a flat surface and reach upwards of 18 inches.
- Rats can tread water for three days and can swim in open water up to one half mile, against swift currents, through floor drains and toilet bowl traps.
(Source: Overland Park Kansas, Preventing Rat Infestation Manual.)
Signs that you may have a rat problem:
Chewed areas around doors, windows, utility lines and packaged goods, especially where food is kept.
Holes and fresh diggings around foundations, under floors, sidewalks, platforms and ditches.
Fresh droppings are a sure sign that you have a rat problem. Look behind objects, near walls, and in places seldom cleaned or disturbed.
Tracks in dusty places. If not visible, dust flour along suspected runways and observe for a few days.
When rats travel, they rub against walls to find their way. Look for darkened areas along walls next to pipes, beams and openings where rats are suspected.
- Make sure outside faucets are turned off and are not leaking.
- Control standing water.
- Do not leave water dishes out for pets.
- Check for leaking water pipes or faucets.
- Remove any water standing in the basement.
- Remove food scraps spilled around trash containers.
- Do not dispose of garbage in boxes or paper bags or in cans without lids.
- Dispose of food scraps and wrappers. Do not leave them out in the open in your home.
- Do not leave food on the stove or on tables between meals.
- Do not leave pet food out overnight, in or out of doors. Also, remove pet feces.
- Do not allow trash to accumulate in yards and alleys.
- Cut all high weeds, tall grass and unkempt bushes.
- Do not store firewood against buildings.
- Keep doors closed when not in use. Use a good spring and galvanized metal keeper to ensure that doors close and stay closed.
- Close all holes in walls, foundations, floors, and around pipes with cement and sheet metal.
- Get rid of unneeded items stored in basements, cellars, or attics.