Super Rats: Fact or Fiction?

super rats

Recently, the news has been filled with a range of stories around spottings of both giant rats, and super rats. With all this commotion around these new “super” breeds of rodents, we thought we’d shed some light on the situation. So do super rats exist, or are they just a myth? Read on to find out!

The whole notion of super rats was developed through an idea that some species of rat have developed a resistance to the bait laid out by both homeowners and professional pest controllers. This was down to certain pest control methods failing to exterminate rats from a property.

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When discussing the idea of a new super breed of immortal rats showing resistance to rodent bait we first need to understand what resistance actually means.

Resistance is Not…

Bait Shyness

Bait shyness relates to a rodent’s natural instinct to be cautious of the new and unknown. This is not regarded as a resistance as once rodents overcome the shyness they will soon feast on the bait.

This has commonly been mistaken as a resistance as previous models of bait were quick acting. This means that they relied on the rodent taking the bait as soon as it had been laid down. When the rats finally succumbed to accepting the bait it was usually useless and had no effect on the rodent in question.

Poor Palatability

Poor palatability often gets mistaken for resistance. Sometimes rats just simply dislike the taste of the bait laid down and, therefore, do not accept it. Although rats aren’t really picky when it comes to food, there are some instances where some substances just aren’t to their liking.

Did You Know unlike us, rats can’t vomit? Because of this, they tend to lick new food/bait before consuming it in order to test if it is safe to eat.

Neophobia

Rats are very hesitant creatures, they will often feed on the same, trusted, sources and only search for new places if they have to. On top of this rats learn food preference from others, so will eat the same food, from the same places as each other.

It is well known that rats suffer from a fear new things (neophobia). When it comes to baiting this can be an issue when a new bait or bait boxes are introduced. If rats avoid the new product entirely, it makes this rodent control method completely ineffective.

Excuse for Poor Pest Control Practices

In some instances where rodent resistance has been reported, it is actually a case of poor pest control practices.

Factors leading to ineffective rodent control:

  • Not successfully discovering all parts of an infestation
  • Not laying down a sufficient amount of bait
  • Not laying down bait in every infested area
  • Not waiting long enough for rodents to start feeding
  • Not waiting long enough for bait to become effective
  • Not replenishing bait often enough
  • Not doing everything possible to ensure a re-infestation doesn’t happen.

All these factors can be the result of a failed pest control service, and not because of a rat developing a resistance to anticoagulants (bait).

Resistance is…

Genetic

A rodent’s resistance to pest control techniques comes down to genetics. Resistance is based on a selection of genetic mutations to which, after all, the necessary and correct pest control services are carried out, the rodent in question has a reduced sensitivity to bait due to their genetics.

Just like antibiotics, a rodents resistance to bait has been increased through poor pest control practices such as the continuous use of weaker baits as well as under baiting.

All these factors combined makes rodents partially susceptible to the bait.

Do Super Rats Exist?

To answer it simply, yes. But not in the sense that these ‘super rats’ are unstoppable.

It mainly means that there is a handful of rats which have accumulated a resistance to certain baits.

However it is worth noting that there is no such thing as an ideal rodent bait, this mainly due to the necessary factors that need to be complied to.

In cases where the rodents occupying a property are resisting the regular forms of rat control, other techniques such as proofing have to be introduced.

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