Rodents – we all know them, but we all don’t feel the same about them. For some of us, they can be disgusting pests, but for others, they are pets.
Nonetheless, if not pet, they certainly pose some danger to the humans they live around.
Time check: The first fleet of European colonists brought wild house mice along with them in 1788 when they first arrived at the ports of the eastern coast. The first noted plague breakout occurred in New South Wales in 1871.
Petted rats are drastically different from wild ones. Of course, petted rats are vaccinated, hygienically brought up, and fed good feed.
On the other hand, wild rats often live in damp and dark conditions such as sewers and garbage pits, which, we all can very well say, are not hygienic in any way.
More commonly known as street rats or sewer rats, Norwegian rats are generally greyish brown in colour. And to your surprise, they are pretty common in all of Australia.
These rats can easily be identified by their large size and look stronger than mice and other rats. They can grow as long as 30-45 cm from head to tail.
Their blunt nose and small, close-set ears are other distinctions they bear from their family members. And not to forget the tail – it’s long and naked.
Fact Check: Originally thought to have originated from China, these rats are now worldwide, except Antarctica. It is also one of the dominant rat species in Europe and North America.
Norwegian Rat Diet
Years of evolution across continents has changed the eating habits of these rats too. Although like most other rodents, these can feed on rotting food and dumps, there are other food items too that they like.
For example, these rats can feed on everything from meat to fruits and vegetables. In a nutshell, these rats can feed on anything that humans eat.
Typically, Norway rats can eat up to 30g of food per day and need 15 ml of water.
On average, Norway rats can mate once every three months. The females ovulate every 4 or 5 days and can bear up to 3-7 litters per year.
The gestation period for females can take up to 21-24 days, with 6-12 pups per litter.
Rats are communal creatures, and Norwegian rats are no different. Typically these rats dig their burrows deep in the ground with multiple entries and exit points.
However, these rats can also thrive under floorings, in piles of rubble or heaps or rubbish, compost heaps, etc.
Fact Check: During the day, Norway rats usually stay in their burrows. They come out at night in search of food.
As mentioned already, Norway rats are communal creatures. They usually live in small hierarchical families that can include one or more dominant males.
It should come as no surprise that Norway rats can lead to health hazards.
Like all other rodents, these pests can carry around hundreds of pathogens. As per a Mice Pest Control Sydney professional, these pathogens can make anyone severely sick if unchecked. Therefore, apt control methods need to be implemented.
Some of the common diseases that these rats can carry around include rat-bite fever, Q fever, Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, and Cryptosporidiosis.
Fact Check: An estimated 12-14% of global food production is lost to rodent damage.
Another primary concern with these rats is structural damage. Yes, Norway rats can easily gnaw and chew through concrete and metal shuttering. Moreover, reports suggest that one in every five fire accidents in Sydney are caused due to rats.
So far, it can be said that poor sanitation and garbage are an open invitation for these rats. Therefore, it can be said, in general, that maintaining cleanliness and hygiene can prevent these rats from infesting a home or a building.
Some home remedies to try may include good housekeeping and proper storage of the food. Besides these tactics, professionals explain that eliminating the rodent harbourage might also help eliminate these infestants.
On farms, where food grains are handled and stored in abundance, it might not be possible to remove all the food. Therefore, additional preventive measures may be needed.
A quick example of barn pest control can be breeding cats on the farm. Cats are natural predators for rats and can quickly help manage their outbreak. In addition to this, farm owners can also try removing anything that may provide shelter to these creatures. It could be anything from piles of rubbish to compost posts.
It needs no mention that warehouses, grain mills, and silos are particularly vulnerable to rodent infestation. So, these facilities may need to place additional prevention measures.
For example, storing foods in rodent-proof buildings or containers whenever possible. Stacking grain stacks on pallets to leave enough space for inspection in case of rat infestation.
Also, good sanitary practices on farms and barns can limit the number of rats. The Norway rats are hypersensitive to any change in their surroundings. Besides, hygiene-friendly spaces do not make a suitable environment for them to thrive.
Calling Professionals For Help
The prevention measures are only effective as long as an infestation outbreak has not occurred. Once these rats develop a colony in any area, they are not easy to get rid of. This is when professional pest controllers can prove to be of great help.
Professionals usually practice more savvy methods to control an infestation. For example, poisoning, trapping, and rehabilitating are common ways used by professional pest controllers to prevent mice or rodent infestation.
Once the rodent infestation is under control, the professionals would then ensure that they don’t return. For this reason, they may suggest some structural repairs, such as sealing the cracks and holes.
The last step should act as a long-lasting barrier against these creatures.
Norway rats are not so different from other house rats. As far as household rats are concerned, the only difference is that they can infest a place rapidly and might not be as easy to control.
Therefore, ensuring the proper practices to prevent mice infestation is vital.