There seem to be two types of people. On one side are people who are completely revolted by rats. The thought of even one rat inside their home is enough to make them want to find a new place to live. It is likely that this group has an image of a thousand filthy rats running through a sewer system—inspired, no doubt, by scenes from movies. On the other side, are people who don't have a problem with rats. In fact, they sorta like the idea of having rats in their homes. This may be due to the fact that rats make great pets. They groom themselves frequently, they're fiercely loyal, and they are very smart. So how nervous are you about having rats in your Opelika home? Are you on either side, or do you find yourself somewhere in the middle? Let's take a moment to look at the facts.
Wild Rats Make Terrible Pets
A pet rat, sometimes referred to as a fancy rat, can be a wonderful companion. But don't mistake a wild rat for a fancy rat. Wild rats climb around in very dirty places—like those sewers we mentioned above. If you are revolted by rats, you have good reason to be. Rats can be found in sewers, feeding on feces. They can be found in dumpsters, feeding on rotting organic matter. This exposes them to harmful microorganisms and parasitic worms which they spread by touching surfaces with their fur and by leaving their droppings and urine everywhere they roam.
Not Every Rat Is Filthy
Let's consider the counterpoint. Not every rat is a sewer rat. Some rats live in the ground, or in trees, and never place one tiny foot in a sewer. They can spend their time in woodland areas, feeding on bugs and invertebrates, rather than feces and rotting food. But woodland rats are exposed to ticks, fleas, and other organisms that are found in nature. This can make them as dangerous as a filthy sewer rat. Ticks and fleas are able to spread a long list of diseases, such as ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, tularemia, Lyme disease, Heartland virus, southern tick-related illness, Powassan virus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, the plague, Murine typhus, and more.
A Rats Gonna Do What A Rats Gonna Do
Whether you have a filthy sewer rat, or a flea-infested woodland rat getting into your home, you will be at risk for illness. Not just because they can spread harmful organisms around your home, but also because they are prone to do this. A squirrel or raccoon is likely to stay in your attic, but a rat will explore every floor of your home. As they spread organisms and contaminate the areas they explore, they'll also be doing other things rats do:
They may chew holes in baseboards, sheetrock, and other building materials.
They may chew holes in stored furniture and build nests inside.
They may chew up insulation, wallpaper, clothing, and other materials to create their nests.
They may chew holes in your food packages.
They may chew on wiring or gas lines.
They may continue to chew holes in weatherstripping, door sweeps, frames, and other spots that allow them to go in and out of your home.
They may make noises that keep you up at night.
They will leave their droppings and urine in many places
They will breed and create many offspring.
Rats Can Be Aggressive
While a rat is certainly not disposed to attacking humans, it can and will do this if it feels threatened. It is not a good idea to go into a location that is infested with rats. Rats are wild animals and can be unpredictable.
The Bottom Line
There is no way to know how dangerous rats will be when they get into your home. But one thing is certain, you're better off without them. At the first sign of a rat infestation, contact a licensed pest management professional to get control of those rats.
If you live in Opelika, Alabama, contact Prewett Pest Control for assistance with rodent issues. Our pest professionals know how to locate, eliminate, and exclude rodents. Don't let rats live with you. There are too many ways they can threaten your health and property.