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Learning Centre

Rats

Introduction
The Norway or Brown rat is one of the most common and best known species of rat. It has spread to all continents except Antarctica and is by far the most common rat in southern Ontario. It lives where people live particularly in urban areas.

Description
The body is 7-9 inches in length with an additional 6-8 inches of tail. Weight is generally 11-16 ozs with females smaller than males. Fur on the back is usually brown however lots of variations occur. They are mostly nocturnal with poor eyesight but excellent sense of smell. There are many species of rats and rat like animals however only Brown and black rats are a pest.

Behaviour
Brown rats are highly intelligent animals. Research has shown them able to remember specific things for long periods and to stop and think about situations in order to reason a solution. They are very social animals that live in packs. A pack usually consists of 1 male with 5-15 females. Territories vary from ľ acre to 10 acres. Male rats are very aggressive defending their territories from other invading males. Norway rats are excellent tunnelers with an elaborate system that may reach down several feet. They can climb if needed but are primarily a ground dwelling animal. They will eat nearly anything but given a choice will take fresh whole grains or meat first. Gestation is 21-24 days with litters ranging from 8-12 pups. A female may have 4-7 litters per year. Pups are sexually mature in 10-12 weeks. A single female may successfully raise 20 offspring per year. Wild rats live about 1 year which means that given a limitless supply of food and water Norway rat populations grow very quickly increasing by approximately 18 times every 6 months. This statistic alone sets them apart from nearly all other pests with the exception of house mice. In contrast, tree squirrels and raccoons will produce on average 4-5 offspring each year.

Prevention and Treatment
Please refer to our Services Page for Aanteaters Integrated Pest Management program, this is the first step in eliminating your rat problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do to prepare for a mouse treatment?
Clean up your kitchen to eliminate crumbs or other sources of food. Also disinfect areas where mice have been to eliminate scent trails and disrupt normal patterns of behaviour. This will force mice to spend more time searching for food and increase the likelihood of them encountering our control measures.Have children and pets out of the way when the service is done. Take note of any places of high rodent activity as this information may be of aid to your technician.

Do mice love cheese?
Actually mice donít even particularly like cheese. They love sweet foods like chocolate and peanut butter. They also like grains and meat.

Is it true that mice go outside in the spring and summer and only move indoors in the fall?
Mice are the most common pest to infest your home or office. Mice are always happy to move indoors however they do infest our homes more often in the winter. At Aanteater we normally see about twice as many mice indoors during the winter as in the summer.

Is having a mouse in your house an indication of poor sanitation?
We see mice in almost every neighbourhood.Large houses have more places that mice might gain entry. Itís a good idea to have a 3 ft. barrier around your house where there are no plants. This creates a sort of no mans land that mice are afraid to cross. Having your house professionally sealed from the outside will guarantee that mice are permanently excluded from your living space.

Do mice dropping pose a health hazard?
Many diseases are carried by mice and mouse droppings.

Salmonella: This is a bacterial infection caused by ingesting food contaminated with droppings. Usually symptoms are fairly mild however ingestion of large amounts of the bacteria may cause severe inflammation of the intestine and diarrhea. Individuals with suppressed immune systems may become seriously ill.

Leptospirosis: Although many animals are carriers of this disease it is most often spread to humans by food that may contain the urine from mice. Initial symptoms resemble the flu after which the patient will appear to recover until the second more serious phase occurs which may cause meningitis, liver or kidney failure and death.

Hantavirus: Rarer than Salmonella , this is probably the best known disease transmitted by mice. Hantavirus is transmitted through mouse droppings and may become airborne when the dropping dry out. Usually it starts with generalized symptoms (fatigue, fever and muscle aches) gradually becoming more severe over the course of about a week. Late symptoms are shortness of breath coughing and severe pressure around the chest as the lungs fill with fluid. Hantavirus is fatal in 38% of cases. Hantavirus is much more common in deer mice than in house mice although deer mice do commonly get into our homes and offices.

I was told that anticoagulant rodenticides dehydrate mice causing them to go off in search of water so that they often will die outside your house.
Actually it thins their blood making it impossible for them to get enough oxygen; the mice will gradually become tired then pass out, and are asphyxiated. Most often they will die in their nest site. A mouse has less than 2 ml of water in its entire body and it is very rare that you will notice any smell.

Does attaching a special one way mouse door to the exterior of your house and then sealing up all other potential entry points a good method of removing mice from your house?
House mice often will never leave your house once they have entered. Mice do not need to drink water; they get all the water they require in the foods they eat. Attaching one way doors to the exterior of your house is a very ineffective method of eradicating mice. Sealing the exterior of a house after the mouse population has been eradicated will insure that you are not reinfested again.

Where do mice live in my house?
Mice will live in any dark void within the infrastructure of your house. Favourite place include under the kitchen cupboards, buried in insulation in the attic, under bathtubs and between floors.

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