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Rat Prevention - Tips & Tricks for Rat Exclusion
Rats are one of the pests that cause the most damage to people's lifestyle. When they are a constant part of your environment you risk not only living in unsanitary conditions and have your home destroyed, there's a real danger to your pets and family as well. And make no mistake, if you've seen a rat more than once, it means trouble is right behind the corner.
Prevention is the best medicine. It’s better to know how to keep rats away from your house, than wonder how to get rid of them, once they’re already here.
What Damage Do Rats Cause?
If left unattended, a rat infestation can cause huge damage to your property and health risks to everyone in your household.
- Disease. There is an array of different diseases a rat can bring in a home and all of them can infect humans. Disease is not just carried by the rat itself, but also through its urine and faeces and even in the dust where a rat has walked on. Not to mention if a rat dies in your property, the carcass is an even worse health hazard.
- Property damage. Rats bore holes in the structure of your home. They gnaw on just about anything, including electrical wires, and this can cause a short circuit and even fires.
- Garden damage. Rats will be a lot more attracted to a food garden than a house. If they infest a garden, they will burrow holes in the ground, make tunnels under your plants and disrupt the soil.
To prevent rodents from entering your property, the rodent habits and behaviour should be understood, first. For example, rats and mice can:
- Run along electrical wires, vines, shrubs and trees;
- Climb up on any rough vertical surface;
- Crawl in pipes, augers, conveyors, and conduits;
- Gnaw through aluminum sheeting, wood, rubber, vinyl, plastic;
- Jump 100 cm vertically and 120 cm horizontally;
- Drop 15 meters without serious injury;
- Swim in sewer lines against a substantial current.
Rats will leave your house at some point, but the damage they do will stay. They will bore holes in the structure of your property, ruin your garden, chew through insulation and bring disease into your home. Preventing them from ever entering your house will keep all those headaches away.
What Attracts Rats to People’s Homes?
Like any other creature, there is a reason for rats to invade people’s homes. And it's not poor hygiene like many like to state. Rats don’t care about hygiene.
- Entry points. If a building structure has cracks and holes, they will use them. To prevent this, it's important to seal any entry points in the walls, ceiling, floor, doors and windows.
- Food out in the open. If you have food out in the open, like unwashed dishes in the sink, food crumbs on the table, or easy-to-access pet food, they will find it. The rubbish bin is also a big food source.
- Water source. Unmaintained pipes are also a reason for rats to be attracted to your house. Rats need a water source to survive, and it’s also very possible that they've made their nests close to the said water source.
- Clutter. The more items you have in a room, the more places for the rats to hide. They feel safe around clutter, which ultimately turns into their shelter.
- Gardens. Gardens offer both food and a water source. It's not uncommon for rats to make their nests in a garden instead of a house. If you have a garden shed where you keep produce, compost and firewood, you’ve also provided them with shelter.
How Do Rats Enter the House?
If there is a way to enter a building, the rats will use it. The possibilities include:
- Holes and openings;
- Vents and windows;
- Building foundation.