Like most animals that are warm blooded, winter brings with it a number of different challenges for rats, and they have a variety of different techniques that will allow them to survive through this difficult time of year. Because of the relationship that rats have with people, and the fact that much of the rat population lives in urban and suburban areas, those rats living in urban areas deal with winter differently to those that are active in rural areas. Extremely cold snaps where the temperatures drop below freezing can also have a number of health impacts on the rat, and in some cases will kill some of the rats that do not have sufficiently warm dens.
How Will Winter Affect A Rat’s Activity?
Unlike many animal species that will go into hibernation or brumation during the winter months in order to protect their bodies when there is less food available, rats are active throughout the year and deal with winter in a different way. One of the steps that rats will take is to change their foraging techniques, and will look to spend less time outdoors if possible, in order to prevent the kind of frostbite that can be caused at this time of year. At this time of year, rats will also become less discriminate around the food sources that they use, and will use less favorable food sources in order to survive.
How Rats Deal With Winter
One of the things that some rats will do, especially if their nesting spot is not in a particularly warm place, is to look for alternative nesting spots that benefit from darkness and warmth which will help to keep them safe over the winter. Rats do not particularly like the cold, especially when there is snow underfoot, so they may remain in their nest for a day or two at a time when at other times of the year they would be scavenging for food more regularly. If rats are able to locate warm areas that also have food sources nearby, they will often return to these areas more regularly, rather than scavenging from a wider range of areas.
Signs Of Rat Activity Around A Property
Because rats are looking for areas that are warm and dark, surprisingly many people will find that they tend to have more rodent problems in the winter than they do at other times of the year, as rats look for the warmer places to nest. One of the key signs of rodent activity will be signs that potential food sources have been disturbed, with holes in pet food sacks and garbage sacks, with the contents spilling out being a potential sign of rat activity. There may also be other signs, such as a sprinkling of dark speckles around the corners of a garage or shed, along with holes that could be used by rats to get in and out of an outbuilding.
Removing A Rat Infestation
It is vital that if you have spotted signs of rat activity around your property, regardless of whether it is winter or not, it is important that you take prompt action in order to deal with the problem. The standard spring-loaded rat traps on a wooden base are fine for dealing with the problem, and you should place several of these in locations where you have spotted signs of rat activity. You should also refresh the bait in these traps, and check them regularly, removing any dead rats that you have caught, until you are no longer spotting signs of rat activity around your property.
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