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Rise of the rats

Scurrying in the shadows and lurking under the streets, you can be sure that in any place where there are humans, there are almost certainly rats.

Known for their fierce survival instincts, brown rats prefer to build their burrows in urban sewers and the dwellings of humans, eating one-fifth of foodstuffs planted every year, but contaminating far more.

In major cities like London and New York, some experts say there are as many rats as there are humans, while more conservative estimates put the ratio closer to one rat for every four humans.

Rentokil understands the biology and habits of rats and will use the appropriate solution to eliminate them. Our PestConnect portfolio uses digital monitoring devices to help defend your business against rat problems. Get more information about PestConnect here.

To fully understand how the rise of the rats has happened, you must understand the staggering rate that they reproduce.

Swipe the images below to see how quickly two rats can breed in an ideal environment

Rat reproduction facts

Rat reproduction facts

Why don’t rats outnumber humans?

The speed that rats breed is frightening, but there are many factors that help to stop a population from spiralling out of control.

In a real world scenario, the death rate usually increases as the size of the population grows. Whenever food or space is limited, mortality is high, which partially keeps the rate of population growth in check.

Why don’t rats outnumber humans?

The rise of the rats in numbers

Rat call-outs: 2019 vs. 2020

An increase in empty spaces – whether temporary or long-term – created new shelters where rats could nest and reproduce relatively undisturbed, accelerating the increasing issues that our 2019 data already indicated.

Why don’t rats outnumber humans?

Industries that are most affected by rats

Industry percentages were calculated based on over 60,000 inquiries made to Rentokil.

Why don’t rats outnumber humans?

Eliminate rat problems with Rentokil

Get control of rats before they multiply. Rentokil’s PestConnect portfolio uses the Internet’s power to alert us to rodent activity, activating a quick response to rat issues. This 24/7 monitoring solution is what you need to safeguard your commercial property from the risks of rodent infestations.

Contact us here to learn more about PestConnect.


Auerbach, J. (2014). Does New York City Really Have as Many Rats as People?. Significance, Volume 11 (4), p. 22–27. (link)

Chace, Z. and Dzotsi, E. (2016). Becoming A Badger. This American Life. (link)

Long, J.L. (2003). Introduced Mammals of the World: Their History, Distribution and Influence.