carry fleas and mites on their bodies which also transmit
diseases to humans through their bites. Moreover, rats
have been known to bite humans. To prevent their front
teeth (called incisors) from growing too long, rats need
to gnaw constantly. This gnawing habit destroys household
items. Buildings have gone up in flames because rats have
gnawed through the insulation around electrical wires.
feed on all kinds of food, including ours! And when
they do, they contaminate our food with their urine
and faeces. In this way, rats transmit diseases
such as leptospirosis. The infamous Black Plague
that caused millions of deaths in England and Europe
was the result of the disease being spread by rats.
Rats and mice are social animals and prefer to live in
nests. Outdoors, their nests can be found in garbage dumps,
in the ground, in drains and other areas where food and
shelter are nearby. Indoors, they hide in wall and floor
voids, roof voids and furniture.
Although rats cannot see well, they have very sharp senses
of smell, hearing and touch. They eat all types of food
and search for food during the night. They are good climbers
This is also called the brown rat
or sewer rat, and can grow quite large. It is this rat
that we commonly see running in drains, around eating
places, in bin centres and in warehouses. They live in
colonies outdoors and make burrows in the soil, underneath
sunken pavements and floors.
The greyish roof rat is smaller
and more slender than the Norway rat. It is very agile
and a great climber. They prefer to nest above ground,
such as in attics, false ceilings and among unwanted articles
stored indoors. They live in small family groups.
These species are very small. As
such, they can enter buildings easily. They are also very
good at climbing, jumping and swimming. They live in small
family groups and nest in gaps between walls, false ceilings,
furniture and rubbish dumps.
SIGNS OF INFESTATION
1. Gnaw marks. New gnawings or holes
tend to be rough whereas, old gnawings are smooth from
2. Droppings. Fresh droppings are soft and moist whereas,
old droppings are dried and hard.
3. Tracks/footprints. Front footprint is 4-toed and is
in front of usually longer hind print with 5 toes. Fresh
tracks are clear and sharp
4. Damaged goods. Roof rats prefer fruits, vegetables,
and cereal whereas, Norway rats prefer meat, fish and
Rat control can be effected with
good housekeeping and sanitation. These creatures are
very intelligent and will search out food sources unless
they are kept inaccessible.
1. Store all foodstuff out of the reach of rats. Food
should be kept in strong containers. Rats are able to
gnaw through plastics.
2. Remove food wastes and spillage by throwing them away
in a tied plastic bag. Bags should then be placed inside
bins with tight covers. Rats will have no problem eating
through plastic bags left on the ground.
3. To prevent rats and mice from entering your house,
block all possible entry points with strong wire mesh.
Wire mesh can also be placed around pipes to stop rats
climbing up or down into houses.
4. A rat infestation needs professional assistance. Call
for SWAT Pest Control.