General Rat Information

Physical Description

Rats are one of the most unwelcome denizens in the modern homes. The black rat, scientifically known as Rattus Rattus the most common type of rat that stays in the most unexpected spots in the house. These animals, or most commonly referred as pests, are very adaptive. They are originally endemic in Tropical Asia until they gradually moved into unfamiliar territories and expanded their range into the Near East and eventually into Europe.

From there, they followed the human footsteps and the joined the travels of the Europeans. Wave after wave of human migration, the rats also joined in and spread across the world, gaining the sinister reputation of being one of the most destructive pests in human homes.

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Main Diet of Rats

Rats are generalist omnivores. It means they will eat almost anything edible, and even nibble and bite through inedible objects such as clothes, shoes, ceilings, wires, and walls just to get the food they are looking for. And in the event of their food searching, they leave considerable damage to human properties. We would often see damaged clothes with holes in the most unlikely places, see holes in the corners of walls and ceilings and see bite marks and punctures in-house wirings. Their dietary adaptation makes them a formidable pest when it comes to food consumption and destruction.

Unlike their cousins such as the rice field rats or distant relatives like the cotton rat and the marsh rice rat which generally have rice, cotton corn, wheat and other crops as their main diet, Rats have a highly adaptive digestive system that allows them to eat almost anything. They have the keen sense of smell that greatly aids them in looking for food, even in the most remote places and spots. That is why food bits and stored grains will most of the times be found in rats no matter where they are in your home. So better not leave cookie or bread crumbs on the bed or the laundry basket if you know you have Rats living with you. You’ll get ugly looking holes in the sheets, clothes, socks, and shoes if you don’t do the thorough cleaning at home.

Rat Damages To Homes

Aside from ants and cockroaches, rats are also culprits of household appliance damages, short circuits, and accidents such as electrocution and fires. They are prolific food hunters and have powerful jaws and teeth designed for nibbling and chewing almost anything, even rubber wire insulators. Nibbled electrical wirings are very dangerous, especially of the exposed portion of the wiring is beyond the line of sight. People often accidentally touch these wires or tap metallic objects in the exposed wires, causing short circuits. Also, exposed wirings would often spark and cause appliances and gadgets to overheat and thus start fires.

Known Rat Diseases

Aside from structural and electrical damage, Rats are vectors of dangerous diseases and parasites. One such disease is the bubonic plague – the disease that ravaged most of Europe during the 12th and 13th centuries. Although the plague has been kept under control, there are still instances of this deadly diseases resurfacing in modern times. Also, rat urine and droppings also bring other serious diseases: leptospirosis and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS).

Frequent disinfection and cleaning of the house interiors and fixtures are a must in order to prevent the spread of rat-borne diseases. Although black rats or Rats generally have a preference for warmer areas, they are still widely distributed around the world, even in cooler regions and urban areas. Their adaptiveness and versatile dietary capability have ensured their survival and adjustment even in environments that may be considered “harsh” for tropically originating rodents.

Significance Of Rats In Human Society

Rats have a long-standing interaction with humans since ancient times. Their effect on human life and existence has been so significant, that the rat is the most widely identified rodent in the cultures and communities around the world. Nevertheless, as time progressed, rats have developed certain use and benefit in the human communities.

The common lab rat (Rattus norvegicus) is the most frequently used animal model for scientific research in the fields of psychology and biomedical science. From its stereotyped role as the harbinger of pestilence, the rat is now serving a vital role in the research that could save and enhance human lives.