Household Rat Infestation: Why Should You Be Concerned

Two Most Common Types of Rats in Australia

Many homes and establishments in Australia are not safe from rat attacks. Not matter how well we secure our property against pests, they are always sure to get their way in. This includes rats. The most common types of rats in Australia are:

• Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus) – Sometimes called brown or sewer rat, these rats are mostly not brown and they never come from Norway. They have large dark brown to black bodies and small tails. Norways rats can be found living in both urban and rural environments, infesting homes and businesses, waterways and sewers, warehouses and farms, among others. Inside of homes and buildings, these pests usually remain on the ground floor or in the basement.

• Black or Roof rat (Rattus rattus) – Lighter and smaller than the Norway rats, roof rats have tails which are longer than their own bodies. They also have small black, brown or grey bodies. As agile climbers, they inhabit aboveground areas like in shrubs and trees and in attics, walls, ceilings, cabinets and other enclosed or elevated spaces in homes and buildings.

Dangerous Health Hazards

All types of rats carry and transmit various diseases and infections by:

• Leaving behind faeces or urine

• Biting

• Contaminating food with their urine or faeces

• Spreading their fleas or mites on pet dogs and cats

• Dying in a water supply

Rats are the most dangerous carriers of many pathogens and organisms that cause the diseases ever known to mankind. Some examples are:

• Salmonellosis – Bacterial food poisoning caused by the bacteria Salmonella in food contaminated with infected faeces.

• Leptospirosis – Characterised by jaundice and fever. Transmitted through human contact with urine of infected rodents.

• Tularemia – characterised by fever and swelling of the lymph nodes. Transmitted through bites or contact with infected rodents.

• Black plague

• Hantavirus – Characterised by severe respiratory infections, haemorrhaging, kidney disease and death. A type of virus carried by infected rodents. Transmitted through human inhalation of dust collected in areas of rat infestation.

Can you imagine if the rats transmit these diseases and other pathological organisms in your home?

Contamination and Wastage

For economic reasons, rat infestation need to be controlled or if best eradicated. Keep in mind that a Norway rat can produce up to 50 droppings and pass 12 to 16 ml of urine in a 24-hour period. That is enough to damage and spoil food that is stored in the pantry.

Not contend with contaminating food, rats also damage food containers and packaging materials. Setting the facts straight, the annual cost of contaminated food is considered greater than the cost of food consumed.

Property and Material Damage

Rats perhaps rank seconds after termites as the worst pests in terms of economic losses. Not only do they cause damages to property and buildings, gnawing at house foundations, wood, electrical wiring, paper, fabric, plastic, some metals and other belongings, but they also cause damages in agriculture.

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