Rise Of The Rat
Rats are thriving in towns and cities up and down the UK.
Brown rats in particular are increasing their population in a form of ratio to the spread of human habitation. As urban areas expand, the opportunity for rats to find suitable harbourage increases.
Houses, garages, outhouses and sheds can offer warmth and protective areas to breed in. The potential for breeding is pretty phenomenal.
A pair of brown rats can give birth to up to 200 young per year. These young within the same 12 months can multiply the same family tree to give a staggering 2000 animals within that year.
Rats can carry a number of diseases that can affect humans, among them Weil’s Disease (Leptospirosis) which is transmitted by rats to humans (and other animals) through bacteria in the rats urine.
This does not affect the rat itself, but if it should get into the human bloodstream through a skin cut or graze, or through soft tissue, it can prove fatal if not diagnosed and treated correctly.
They can also transmit diseases such as salmonella, listeria, rat-bite fever amongst others.
The urban population of rats has seen control through improved sanitation and modern building design lost to the rise of the throwaway society.
Highly calorific types of food, especially part eaten takeaways carelessly disposed of, provide rats with enough energy to achieve their upper size limits. They will however, eat pretty much anything.
A garden compost heap can provide enough nourishment for colony of rats. Wooden decking in gardens offer ideal harbourage and occasional offerings of dropped food.
Bird tables can inadvertently become a source of food, rats feeding on dropped scraps off over-filled tables.
It is claimed there is a link in the rise of the rat population and the introduction of fortnightly domestic waste collection.
Control of this vermin is obviously not easy. Some rats have developed an immunity to basic rat poisons such as warfarin.
Poisoning remains the weapon of choice to overcome rats, but its most effective application will be by professional pest controllers.
Helping to keep vermin at bay, common sense and awareness are important.
Keep property clean and clear of rubbish items.
Remove accumulations of rubbish sooner rather than later.
Tidy stored materials and keep them distanced from food areas.
Keep food, including animal feeds, in appropriate containers, and deal with food spillage promptly.
Make sure that buildings where foodstuffs are kept, are soundly maintained, and any gaps or holes filled.
Having predator pets like cats or dogs may help in protection.
Despite good hygiene and proofing, infestations can occur, and professional pest control become necessary.