Rats gnaw constantly to keep their incisor teeth worn down as they grow continuously. They damage woodwork, plastic, brickwork and lead pipes and will strip insulation from electrical cables. They are happy to live anywhere that provides food, water and shelter. In homes they live in roof spaces, wall cavities and under floorboards. In gardens they will burrow under sheds, ponds, paving, decking and composts.
Rats carry many harmful diseases which can be spread to humans normally through their urine. Leptospirosis (weil’s disease) Salmonella,Listeria and Hantavirus are some of the disease we can contract. Property owners have a legal obligation under the Damage by Pests Act 1949 to keep premises rodent free.
If you are experiencing problems with Rats inside or around your property, then it is likely to be the Brown/Common Rat (Rattus norvigicus)
They weigh in at around half a kilo and measure approx. 23cm, not counting the tail. it has a blunt muzzle, small hair covered ears and a tail that is shorter than its body.
Rats have well developed senses of smell, taste and touch. They have an acute sense of hearing, frequently using ultrasound to communicate.
Rats breed rapidly and become sexually mature in around 3 months, each female may produce from 3 to 6 litters of between 6 & 8 young in a year.
Mice enter properties to seek warmth, shelter and food. The house mouse body length varies between 60-90mm, they weigh less than 25g with fur colour between light brown and grey. They have an acute sense of hearing. Their presence is usually detected from their dark coloured droppings or damage to food, packaging or woodwork. Mice live in nests constructed from paper, wool and cloth, often building nests in properties. Lofts, under floorboards and cavities are ideal for them especially if there is a good food source available to them.
They are mainly active at night and can squeeze through gaps as small as 5mm. They are sporadic feeders and favourite foods are cereal based. They obtain most of their water intake from the moisture in their food. Mice have been known to spread disease’s such as Salmonella and Listeria. As their teeth grow continuously they have a compulsion to gnaw to keep their incisor teeth down. Electrical cables, water pipes and packaging can be seriously damaged. Many instances of electrical fires can be attributed to them.
Squirrels often enter the roof spaces of properties to build nests and to raise their young. As their teeth grow continuously they need to gnaw to keep their incisor teeth down. This can result in major damage to properties, electrical cables and beams in lofts can be seriously damaged. Their nest, called a Drey is made from insulation in the loft when they enter properties. They often gain access by chewing through fascia boards above the guttering. Females produce an average of 3 young, twice a year but can produce up to 9.