Season: Rats are year-round.
Disease profile: Plague. Rat bite fever. Both sound serious because they are.
Appearance: Norway rats in particular, have a blunt nose, small eyes, and small ears covered with short hairs that don’t reach its eyes. Its tail is smaller than a mouse tail, and is shorter than the head and body combined.
Signs of rats: Large pellet-shaped fecal droppings that are blunt at both ends are a sure-fire way to confirm you have rats. As with mice droppings, rat droppings can carry disease and allergens, and should be removed only by a professional pest control specialist who can properly sanitize the area and lay out a plan for eradicating the infestation.
Females have four to seven litters a year on average, and may successfully wean 20 or more pups every year. Male rats are called bucks, unmated females are called does, pregnant or parent females are called dams, and infants are called kittens or pups. Appropriately, a group is referred to as a mischief. They are opportunistic, often raiding human food supplies and setting up shop in areas with a consistent food supply. Rats live for about a year.
ASK 603 PEST
“Is ‘rat bite fever’ a real thing?”
Unfortunately, yes. Rat-bite fever is a serious human illness caused by bacteria transmitted by rats, which is passed from rodent to human through the rodent’s urine or mucus secretions. It is also known as streptobacillary fever, streptobacillosis, spirillary fever, sodoku, and epidemic arthritic erythema. Household pets exposed to infected rats can also carry the disease and infect humans.
“What should I do if I am bitten by a rodent?”
Quickly wash and cleanse the wound area with antiseptic solution to reduce the risk of infection, and then call your doctor, just to be safe.