When rats come in from the cold
Think you’re safe from rats when the weather gets cold? Think again.
Rats don’t hibernate in the winter so you’d think the elements would quickly get to them, but no! The brown rat is a hardy creature and can easily survive over the cold months – with a little help from you! Your home will provide plenty of opportunity for food and shelter if you don’t keep those pests at bay.
Food for thought
Rats aren’t choosy about their diet. They’ll eat whatever is on offer – even their own poo if there’s nothing else on the menu. With their small stomach and fast metabolism, rats aren’t able to gorge on food in preparation for the winter months so instead they’ll start stockpiling ready for the cold snap.
That’s when you could start to see activity around your bins as rats look for food waste. So make sure you’re not providing a free meal by keeping your rubbish secured in a bin and not leaving bags around on the ground.
Warmth and shelter
Once rats have found a plentiful food source, they’ll soon be scouting around for somewhere to stay. And guess what? Your lovely centrally heated house makes the perfect place for a staycation.
Signs that you have rats
Well obviously if you see one you’ll know about it. And their droppings – like dark grains of rice – are difficult to miss. Keep your eyes peeled for other tell-tale signs such as gnaw marks, shredded materials and grease marks on the skirting boards.
You might hear the rats scratching about, too, particularly during the night.
How rodent proof is your property?
Don’t be deceived by the size of a rat. A horizontal gap of about 25mm is all it needs to gain access to your home, so check skirting gaps and doors. Sewers, drainage systems and holes left by redundant pipe work are also all easy ways for rats to get in.
Live in a terraced house? Once rats have worked their way into the loft, they’ll often move from house to house via gaps in the separating walls.