How do rats survive winter? | Rentokil

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Rats are survival machines. Their routines remain consistent regardless of the environment throughout winter; just breeding tends to slow down a bit.  Just like all warm-blooded animals, rats need warmth and decent supply of food to survive winter’s harsh conditions.

Stockpiling Food

As part of their survival regime, rats prepare for winter months while food becomes shorter in supply. They don’t hibernate during winter, nor are they able to ‘fatten’ themselves up with their small stomachs. They begin their mission in autumn and start their food search and begin making a stockpile for later consumption.

Rats are not picky and usually eat anything they find opportunistically. In the wild, they feed on grains, seeds, fruit, vegetation, insects, and smaller animals. Rats are such a big pest control problem for people because they can almost live off human waste and rubbish exclusively. During the cooler months, rat activity increases as they’re on the hunt for food waste they can stockpile.

New Tenants

Naturally, rats seek shelter from the elements during the cold months. Your home, office buildings, warehouses, shops and sheds are some of the perfect spots for rats to reside. While many people think their pest control concerns are over when the cold weather is here, the reality is that rat problems can get much worse.

Practical ways you can help to prevent a problem:

  • Keep foodstuffs in metal or glass containers with tight fitting lids
  • Tidy inside the house and around the garden
  • Place outdoor rubbish bags with securely fitted lids to stop them feeding on contents
  • Clean up pet food and bird seed debris. Story pet food in robust containers with fitted lids above ground level where possible.

Keep gardens free from debris and avoid including organic food waste in compost heaps

Nesting

Rat nests are less organized than bird nests as they make a rough pile of shredded materials. Anything they can find, they bunch together in one mass. This may include cardboard, insulation, soft rubbish, plastic, feathers, and plant materials. They prefer dark, warm places that are free from predators. This is why your home is ideal as it provides such spaces.

Signs of rats

It’s important all year round to be on the lookout for signs of a rat infestation. Here are some indicators of rat activity:

  • Evidence of nests
  • Damage to your property, food storage and waste bins
  • Burrows
  • Droppings – rat droppings are like grains of dark brown rice
  • Rub marks or footprints – check along skirting boards for grease marks as the dirt on rats’ bodies will leave smudges
  • Scratching noises – rats are agile climbers and you may hear them scratching, particularly at night. These may come from your walls, under floorboards and in roof voids.

Taking Action

If you suspect rat activity, contact your experts in pest control. Professional services are often the most reliable way to guarantee long term solution to a pest problem. Book in regular pest control services throughout the year and be prepared for one of the most despised pests in the world.

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Kathryn Birett

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