Winter brings out the mischief of rats

Winter brings out the mischief of rats


It would be nice to think that rats hibernated through the cooler months, earning us all a reprieve. Unfortunately, it turns out that almost the exact opposite happens. I wouldn’t say they’re necessarily more prevalent through winter but, they do tend to be much closer to home. In fact, given their preference for warmth and dry, it’s fair to say you’ve likely had a few move in. With that in mind, how about I teach you a thing or two about your new winter housemates?

These crafty, little critters can be found pretty much anywhere in the world. With their propensity to sneak into small spaces, they’ve been migrating across the world for as long as humans have sailed on ships! There are over 60 species of rats which range widely in size. Thankfully we don’t currently live in the rainforests of Papua New Guinea as, it was there in 2009 that the largest rat was discovered. Compared in size to a small house cat, this fine specimen weighed in at 1.5kg and measured 82cms, nose to tail.

The most common species of rats are Brown and House Rats. They like to live where humans live and source their food by scavenging through rubbish and, being omnivores, they eat any unprotected food they come across. The other thing we have in common is a love for the indoors during the cooler months. Like us, rats are mammals, which means they need to maintain a warm body temperature to survive thus, they’ll love finding a warm spot with a great food source to get them through winter.

The added complication of rats as a housemate is that they also love to burrow and they’re not particularly neat in their approach. If a rat decides they’ve found a good spot to bunker down, they’ll simply chew through whatever they need to, in order to make it the right size and to get to that food source. Rats have been known to chew through insulation, to burrow under floorboards and to chew through electrical wires, all in the name of comfort and preventing hunger.

Now, you might proudly tell me that you’ve never seen a rat in your house, therefore you can’t possibly have any. I’m sorry to say that this is not enough to convince me there are no rats. For these guys to have survived for as long they have, living alongside humans, they’ve become very clever at avoiding us. Rats are mostly nocturnal and prefer living underground and out of sight. In addition to this, they have these crazy eyes which move in different directions, allowing them to see directly above them. For this reason, rats are especially skilled at staying out of range of us humans.

If this hasn’t been enough to convince you it’s time to evict those housemates of yours, let me finish with these fun facts about rats:

  • They spread disease – the Centres for Disease Control & Prevention suggests they carry up to 35 different types.
  • They poop A LOT – in a year they can leave up to 25,000 droppings.
  • Their teeth never stop growing – in order to keep them at a manageable size, there’s a whole lot of gnawing required.
  • They’re social creatures – rats like to live in groups, called ‘a mischief’. This means, if you’ve sighted one, it’s certain there are more hiding around the corner.


The only way to really know if rats are co-habiting your home is to call in an expert for a thorough pest inspection. If you’d like to step into Spring, comfortable knowing that you have a pest-free home, give me a call to set up your in-home pest inspection or email us to arrange an inspection at [email protected].