The most common rat in the UK is the brown rat, a carrier of many diseases. They tend to chew through electrical wires and telephone cables which can cause a fire. Rats are well known for their breeding and persistence. Did you know that a female rat can have up to 3 litters a year, and have been known to produce litters of 14! A rat infestation is very risky, especially as female rats can reproduce quickly.
Rats carry ticks, fleas and mites in their fur, which lead to further infestation. They can spread many infections and diseases, such as:
- Rate bite fever
- Murine typhus
- Weil’s disease
Their sharp teeth can gnaw through wood, plastic, cables and even mild steel, as well as causing damage to stock and buildings. The belly and feet of a rat tends to be covered in urine which comes off on the surface and spreads harmful bacteria and viruses.
Rats often leave little signs of infestation and tend to come out more often at night, and at areas with high food stock or livestock. If you think you have a rat infestation, look for these signs:
- Small droppings roughly 1-2cm long
- Grease marks and smudges from a small body against the surfaces of solid objects
- Damage in objects and fabrics, usually nibble marks or tears
- Shredding materials such as insulation, plastic, wood and cardboard or paper
- An ammonia like smell from traces of urine
The presence of rats can be very damaging for business, as it shows failure to comply with many laws such as The Food Act 1990, Health and Safety Act 1974 and the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949. If a rat infestation is found, a business may be closed down.