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What You Might Not Know About Rat Problems

by Martha Simmonds

When those first scurrying sounds echo through your floorboards or droppings appear in the kitchen, getting rid of them can quickly become a blind obsession.

Rat poison is often an effective method for tackling an infestation problem, but it’s not an immediate solution, and certain factors can affect the speed at which it works. Case in point: rats are not opportunistic little creatures that line up blindly to eat poison. Here are a few things you might not know about having a rat problem.

A BIG Problem

Once you’ve set out your rat poison, it’s easy to assume that you can sit back and relax. Think again. Knowing that you have rats in the house can be an uncomfortable experience, and it’s perfectly normal to begin wondering, ‘how long does rat poison take to work?’ just moments after putting it out.

Rats are everywhere – and we mean everywhere. By some estimations, around 20 million of the little creatures live in London, with that figure hitting 150 million across the UK. And remember, that’s often with concerted efforts to eradicate them. Add the US in the mix, and you’ve got an astronomical number.

Breeding Kings & Queens

While numbers vary between species, a female rate usually gives birth to a litter five to seven times a year, producing between 5 and 12 babies in one go. Females can mate an extraordinary 500 times in just six hours, with males and females reaching reproductive maturity in just two or three months.

This all adds up to an astonishing reproduction process that can take over if not addressed quickly and correctly. Left to their own devices, two rats could swell in number to between 1,000 and 2,000 in just a year.

Bright, Suspicious, and Surprisingly Clean

There’s an excellent reason scientists use rats in their experiments, as they have an excellent memory and are far from the scurrying simpletons we believe. Rats are around the same intellectual level as dogs and have memories similar to elephants.

With this intelligence comes a clever wariness. Rats are suspicious animals that can develop bait shyness if something doesn’t feel right or if dead rats are lying nearby. Lastly, and perhaps most surprisingly, rats aren’t the dirty rodents we have long believed. Rats clean themselves for several hours each day and are actually considered cleaner than domesticated cats.

Final Thought

Rat problems can be mentally all-consuming. They are often hard to eradicate entirely because we have a fundamental misunderstanding about them. The speed that they breed alone makes total raticide virtually impossible, while their intelligence and notable skills – such as being capable of swimming for almost a mile and using their tail to climb vertical walls – make them a formidable opponent. Not impossible to defeat, but indeed a challenge.

As the great Chinese general Sun Tzu once said, “to know your enemy, you must become your enemy.” At Dalton, we’re suggesting leaning into the ingenuity they possess. If you need assistance, we’re here to help!

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