One of the most loathed pests are rats. So what types of rodents do we have in South Africa?
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The characteristics of all the rats and mice is very similar, but with slight differences in their breeding and habitation habits
Facts about rodents
Breeding: A fertile female rat could have a litter averaging 10–12 babies every 3 or 4 weeks. She could have up to 17 litters in a year, so you could have 170 to 204 rats in a year! The gestation period is between 22 and 25 days. Rats are produced in litters averaging 6 to 14 days. Rats are extremely fertile creatures and breeding happens all year round, increasing in warmer periods and areas, hence one of the reasons they look for shelter and cover.
Most common Species found in South Africa: The most common species you will find
in residential areas are the Norway Rat and the Roof Rats.
The Norwegian rat being the larger of the 2 rats. Rats feed on any kind of food as well
as on cotton and rubbish and they live to between 18 to 24 months old
Feeding and Gnawing: Rats gnaw every day of their lives, keeping their incisor teeth
short enough to use whilst at the same time, keeping them razor sharp. Some gnawing
has no other purpose than to keep their teeth in shape. This will explain the random
gnawing on furniture legs, and counter posts. To get to food, rats will gnaw wooden
boxes, sacks, cardboard, wooden doors, and synthetic building materials
Amazing Gymnasts! Rats are like gymnasts and have an amazing ability to run, jump and
balance. They can even fall 2 or 3 storeys down without injuring themselves. Rats can also climb any vertical building that has a rough surface and where they can get a toenail hold. Therefore, your average brick building is a perfect climbing structure for rats to get into roofs.
Norway Rat found in Alexander
Sewer and Toilet Swimmers! Rats are also very good swimmers and love swimming in the toilet and floor drains. In fact, the sewerage system is like a highway for them!
Nightly Nocturnal Parties! Rats are mostly active at night which is 1 reason why people often can’t sleep because of the rat’s nocturnal parties they have in people’s ceilings at night!!
Memory: When something new like an object is introduced in the regular routes or pathways of rats, they will tend to avoid those obstacles for a couple of days. Thus, several days are usually required before the rats cease to evade the object. This is an important fact to remember when bait stations are installed. It could take several days before the rats start feeding on the bait stations.
THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTIONS OUR CUSTOMERS ASK!!
How do I get rid of the rats in my home or business?
Most importantly you should call 1ST Choice Pest Control who will come out and do a thorough inspection of your property. The main principles to be used to effectively control rats are:
Exclusion ─› Sanitation ─› Population Reduction
The Technician will give you the following advice as it is very important that the customer works along with
in order to attain effective control of rats:
• It is very important to clear away vegetation and remove debris that may offer rodent harbourage
(where they build their nests). Rats love your dustbins! Rodent proof garbage and trash containers
with regular routine pick-up service and clean orderly storage of food goods will also help control
• Population reduction techniques such as regular use of rodenticides.
• Make sure there is no food or water left around that the rats can get to. The rats will first go for
the food before they go to the baits (rodenticides).
• Effective long term control programmes by for rodent control.
• Rats are inclined to establish regular routes between harbourage, food and water. They seek out
protected routes between these 3 places and our technician will correctly place the bait boxes and
poison in the correct places.
• Their best runways will occur alongside walls, between closely stacked merchandise, along pipes,
along the side of stairs, across beams, joints and pipes.
• Do not underestimate the physical ability of rats being able to run, jump and balance.
• Nails and screws in walls and structures must be placed sufficiently far apart to prevent rats from moving from one nail head to another.
Rats love your dustbins!