There are three type of rats i.e. the Black Rat [Rattus Rattus], Brown/Common / Sewage Rat [Ratus Norvegicus] and House Mouse [Mus Domesticus]
Rats live off man and give nothing beneficial in return. The rodents that commonly affect us humans are called ‘commensal’ because they like to eat the same food that we do.
Rats spread disease, damage structures and contaminate food and feed – they damage one-fifth of the world’s food crop each year.
Rats memorize their environment by body and muscle movement alone. They become so engrained by body movements that when objects are removed from their territory, rats will continue to move around them as if the objects where still there. Neophobia, or new-object-fear, makes rats extremely cautious about changes in its territory. It takes several days before a rat will accept a new object as part of its territory.
The majority of this damage is not because they eat it all – the real damage is in contamination. One pair of rats shed more than one million body hairs each year and a single rat leaves 25,000 droppings in a year. Apart from their droppings, rats are incontinent and urinate wherever they walk, whenever they have the urge to!
Water doesn’t stopNorwayrats. They can swim as far as 1km in open water, dive through water plumbing traps and travel in sewer lines, even against strong water currents.
Unlike the teeth of other mammals, the front incisors of rodents never stop growing. By observing captive mice and rats who have nothing to gnaw upon, it’s been found that these incisors can grow up to 10 cm per year. Rats constantly gnaw anything softer than their teeth, including lead sheeting, improperly cured concrete, cinder block, electrical cables, wood and even aluminum sheeting.
A rat can drop down 15 meters without injury. What’s more, rats have a 50cm vertical jump and a 70cm inch horizontal jump. Rats can also scale rough vertical surfaces and walk along thin ropes and wires.
Rats reach sexual maturity in 2-5 months and the gestation of rat pregnancy lasts an average of only 22 days. The young are blind and naked at birth, with hair appearing in about 7 days and their eyes opening in 12-14 days. The average number of litters is 4-6 per year, each containing an average of 6-8 young.
The rodents that plague our homes or businesses are called ‘commensal’ because they like to eat the same food as we do. The main species’ that inhabit Malta are the Brown Rat (Rattus novergicus), the Black Rat (Rattus rattus) and the House Mouse (Mus domesticus).
These pests are extremely well adapted to take advantage of environments where food is grown, reared, processed, prepared and sold. Rodents’ carry and pass on diseases such as Salmonella, Lesteria, E. coli and Leptospirosis – their presence in our communities must be treated as unacceptable.