Do you know your enemy?
Rats and mice, because transmit many diseases to humans and domestic animals and can cause serious damage to the environment contaminating raw materials, can be considered the last great enemy of the animal kingdom for the modern man.
Norway rat, Brown Rat, Common Rat, Sewer Rat.
AVERAGE WEIGHT: 200 – 500 g
LENGTH FROM HEAD TO FEET: 18-25 cm
FUR: rough and sparse, dark grey, grey-brown above and light grey below.
FEEDING: up to 30 g per day, in a few places.
- Rats are omnivorous with a very opportunistic foraging behaviour.
- Cereals and seeds are normally well accepted .
- In urban areas, any food sources can be used, combined with any natural food found, such as cockroaches and snails.
- They will raid and pillage bird feeders, outdoor dog pans, abandoned orchards or compost piles.
- In farms and livestock factories, rats feed on the undigested food particles got in the manure.
Brown Rats consume around 10% of their weight (from 15 to 30 g) of food per day.
The peak in foraging and feeding period is at dusk an prior to down, but they can foray out several times during the 24 hours. The sight of a rat during the day may inform of a severe infestation, but in quiet and undisturbed conditions it is not uncommon, especially for juvenile and subordinate individuals. A serious rat infestation means the availability of ample food sources. When rats locate a good food source, they will visit it at least once or twice a day. If the food is scarce or the competition is high and / or the area is disturbed, several visits could be necessary.
Rats normally accumulate the food in their burrow or nest, or move it for later consuming in more protected areas. This involves the problem of bait translocation. If food remains constantly available, new food can be ignored for long period. If the food suddenly disappears, the new food will be accepted. Rats are very suspicious, indeed a change in the position of an object may cause neophobia, which can last a few hours, days or even weeks.
Young rats will become used to various food, from the smell and taste carried by the mother and following her to the food sources, learning what can be acceptable and preferable.
Faecal droplets left from other members of the colony play a role in promoting the acceptance.
Norway rat requires water on a daily basis, so they need to be close to a water source. They drink from 30 to 60 ml depending on the temperature, activities, age and food sources etc. They drink lapping directly with the tongue or cupping it with the front feet. If moisture food is available like fruits, slugs, insects etc., the need of free water decreases. Typical water sources inside a building can be leaking pipes, clogged gutters or condensation water exiting from refrigerators or air conditioning units.