Norway Rats – the name conjures up the image of ancient or mythical barbaric Norwegian pirates scouring the ocean blue to wreak havoc, pillage, and plunder anything or anyone they come across. Now if you take that image and replace those strong, burly, sea-faring men with a stocky 1 pound brown to grayish black 10 inch rodent you may be on to something. While Norway rats do not sail the seas (on their own at least), they do wreak havoc, pillage, and plunder their victims, and on top of that, they carry dreadful diseases wherever they go.
Rats, and rodents in general, have front teeth that continue to grow throughout their lifetime. This means that they must continuously chew in order to maintain the length of their teeth. The danger with this is that rats love to chew on wires. They just seem to be the right consistency for them. This habit is so dangerous because once they chew through electrical wires these live wires tend to cause structural fires. In fact as many as 40% of fires from ‘unknown causes’ have actually been linked to rodents that have chewed through wires.
Besides pillaging structures by causing fires, these creatures love to plunder your trash and your kitchen counter and cupboards searching for a tasty morsel. They drag along bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens wherever they walk and deposit them in your silverware draw, on dishes in your cupboard, and in food on your counters and in closets. On top of the illnesses they carry, they also carry parasites like fleas, ticks, and lice that also carry diseases of their own. And, they don’t care where they travel as long as they find food, water, and shelter!
The reason you are seeing and hearing about so many Norway rats here in Pittsburgh this fall is because when temperatures begin to drop, these resourceful rats begin to search for a warm winter abode. While they are perfectly content to rummage around in the great outdoors during the pleasant months, they would much prefer to spend their winters in a warm, dry, safe home where they can easily find food. Who can blame them for wanting to live the ‘easy’ life and choosing your home to do it in?
Another thing about Norway rats is that they are very versatile and can live in urban, suburban, and farmland areas. They can climb, but they prefer to live on or near basement level. They are burrowing creatures and will burrow to make a nest close to their favorite food and water source. These rats will eat just about anything, but they prefer a well-balanced diet of cereals, breads, meats, fruits, and veggies. This makes your garbage can – and your kitchen pantry - a virtual feast for these little creatures.
These furry rodents are very wise creatures of habit and typically establish one primary route from their nests to their food/water source. They do, however, make several emergency escape routes for protection purposes. They can squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter which makes exclusion a very difficult job that often requires the assistance of a pest control specialist.
Here at Witt Pest Management, we use surveillance, baiting methods, and exclusion methods to combat your rodent infestation. Our TopCare programs are affordable, trusted plans that are considered some of the best pest control options in the industry. Give us a call today and keep those Norway rats from pillaging and plunder your home.