10 Facts About Rats You Never Knew

10 Facts About Rats You Never Knew by Petri Pest Control in South Florida

It may seem like rats are causing more turmoil than ever in urban settings, such as Atlanta, New York, and Miami. Other cities, such as Chicago, however, took control of their problem in an aggressive systematic attack on rats and Canada’s Alberta province boasts the largest inhabited area known to be completely free of rats. That’s a unique situation, as rats have co-existed alongside humans as far back as recorded history. According to some scholars, rats were partly responsible for the fall of the Roman Empire due to the Bubonic Plague weakening the Roman legions. Most people are familiar with the Black Death, a plague caused by rat fleas that decimated half of civilization in the 14th century. Conversely, while most humans think rats are filthy and disease-ridden, other humans keep rats as pets and some cultures revere rats as forecasters of luck and good fortune, or bad fortune.

All that being said, there is a lot more to know about rats – check out these 10 rat facts.

  1. Rat brains are very similar to human brains
    For centuries, researchers have studied rat brains to understand the workings of the human brain. Researchers in a San Diego Times article said, “Rodents are genetically similar to humans. They also have shorter lifespans, enabling scientists to study them across generations if desired.” Another reason for studying rat brains is that rats are social animals that live in family groups, play together and show empathy for each other.
  2. Rats have poor vision but highly developed senses of smell, touch, and hearing.
    Nocturnal, rats aren’t equipped with very good eyesight. Also, not unlike humans with poor eyesight, rats’ other senses of smell, touch, and hearing are highly developed. Rats also communicate with each other using body language like humans. Able to perceive and use ultrasound to communicate with each other, pheromones are also key to rat communication, emitting them as warnings of danger or when scent marking. Rodents’ olfactory lobes are much more pronounced than in humans, making rodents’ sense of smell their most important sense organ. Rats’ sense of smell helps them to navigate many situations.
  3. Rats are neophobic
    While mice are interested in investigating new things in their environments, rats show a tendency towards neophobia – the fear of trying new things. This characteristic makes placing trusted food sources as baits problematic for pest control professionals.
  4. Rats have helped find landmines
    With 1,207 olfactory receptor genes, according to research carried out by the University of Tokyo, rats rank just behind elephants at 1,948 olfactory receptors and way ahead of humans with 396 olfactory receptors and surprisingly, dogs with only 811 olfactory receptors. Did you know that rats’ rather extraordinary noses made them useful in clearing landmines in Mozambique in the past? And now in Cambodia, Zimbabwe, and Angola. The rats themselves do not weigh enough to set off the landmines, so they simply indicate where the landmines are located, so they can safely be detonated.
  5. Rats can sniff out diseases in humans
    Rats are now used to sniff out tuberculosis in humans more efficiently than microscopes can. Rats can sense TB in 70% of cases in patients with HIV infections, whereas microscope testing has proven to be only 20% effective alongside HIV infections. According to Saga.co.uk, “this is vital in countries such as Tanzania where four in ten people with TB are HIV-positive.” The British magazine went on to say, “Meanwhile, in the Netherlands police have trained rats to sniff out drugs, explosives and counterfeit cigarettes.
  6. Rats are clean animals
    Despite most peoples’ perception of rats as greasy, filthy, sewer crawling disease-ridden animals, rats spend several hours a day cleaning themselves and others in their community as a social bonding experience. Rats are sensitive to unpleasant smells that can cause respiratory distress.
  7. Rats are capable of reproducing very quickly
    When it comes to rodents entering your home, as they are apt to try to do during cooler weather, this is a concern that should be addressed by a pest control professional as soon as you detect any rat activity. Rats start breeding at five weeks old and continue until they are two years old, on average. Fertile about every three weeks, some female rats have been known to mate 500 times in six hours! Pregnancies usually last for three weeks, with litters ranging from 6 to 20 pups. That’s a lot of rats!
  8. Rats’ teeth don’t stop growing
    Rats need to gnaw continuously to keep their teeth short enough to consume food. With super-strong teeth, rats can chew through cinder block, wire, aluminum, lead, and glass. A significant percentage of house fires of unidentified origin are attributed to fires caused by rodents gnawing electric wiring in homes. Rats chewing through the wood in your home can threaten the structural integrity of your home, as well.
  9. Some cultures have kept rats as pets for centuries and some commemorate them in sculpture
    As far back as the Edo period, in Japan, from 1603 to 1868, people have kept rats as pets. In fact, researchers at Kyoto University determined in 2012 that all albino rats descended from a single ancestor. In the courtyard of Novosibirsk, Russia’s Institute of Cytology and Genetics, a six-foot-tall bronze mouse is portrayed knitting a DNA double helix. The 6-foot mouse commemorates the rats, mice, hamsters, and gerbils used in 85 to 95% of laboratory testing.
  10. Rats are really picky eaters
    Rats can prove difficult to eliminate on your own as they are extremely particular about what they eat. One reason they’re such picky eaters has to do with the fact that rats, like mice, rabbits, and guinea pigs, have stomach anatomy that doesn’t have a mechanism for regurgitating food that doesn’t agree with them. Rats rely on non-food items, such as clay, to settle their stomachs. So, rats trying a small portion of food that’s bait may steer clear of this food source if it makes them feel bad.

The important thing about dealing with suspected rodent activity is to contact a trusted pest professional, such as Petri Pest Control Services to perform a FREE rodent inspection, as soon as possible. Petri Pest Control Services has been tackling rodent issues in Palm Beach and Broward Counties, for 65 years. Local and family-owned, Petri Pest Control Service delivers reliable, affordable rodent control solutions as your neighborhood pest control professional.

10 Facts About Rats You Never Knew in South Florida

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