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Rats (Rattus norvegicus)

Rats (Rattus norvegicus)

Common Rats – Norway Rats – Sewer Rats – Brown Rats

  • The main rat specie found in Ireland is the Norway Rat (Rattus Norvegicus), also called Brown Rat, Common Rat or Sewer Rat.
  • Common Rats are carriers of zoonotic diseases, i.e. which can be passed from animal to human.
  • Rats eat all sorts of foods (omnivores) ranging from grain and cereals to left over takeaway foods. An adult will consume up to 30g of food per day.
  • Rats are neophobic, i.e. they are afraid of new objects and may take days before going to bait stations, traps, or eat bait.

Brown rats are gray, brown or black, with small eyes and ears. Their body can reach up to 25cm in length, with an additional 21cm for the tail (always shorter than the body, unlike mice). Adult male rats weigh up to 400g and adult females up to 250g.

  • Rats are very agile and climb easily, often entering houses in the Autumn when outside food sources become more scarce.
  • Norway rats live in fields, farm lands and in buildings/structures. Rats can often be found in woodpiles.
  • A female rat is capable of giving birth to four to six litters per year, each containing five to ten offspring. These young rats can reproduce within three months after birth. In one year a pair of rats can produce a population of up to 700.

Rats are extremely destructive, causing problems such as electrical fires from gnawing on wiring & contamination of food products. Rats are notorious for the transmission of diseases, such as the Bubonic plague, typhus fever and Salmonella.

Treatments & Control
  • Keep outdoor bins well sealed and away from houses and buildings.
  • Remove water, debris and other rat harbourage opportunities.
  • Seal any holes larger than 1/4 inch.

Rat treatments depend on the location, the level of infestation, and the presence of non-target species in the area. Rat control may include the use of rodenticides, spring traps, cages, sewer valves, building proofing, bait stations, etc.

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