Rodent Problems? – Some More Facts About Rats

As a pest control expert, my feelings on rats are mixed, they are destructive, the assist in the spreading of human pathogens (see table below), they cause food spoilage, and they cause damage to property, food and water supplies. For

As a pest control expert, my feelings on rats are mixed, they are destructive, the assist in the spreading of human pathogens (see table below), they cause food spoilage, and they cause damage to property, food and water supplies.

For example if rats eat 5% of an amount of wheat, its possible for up to 70% of the wheat to be destroyed.If you are an urban dweller you are less likely to have a rat infestation, in rural areas the infestation rates are about double i.e. thats less than 4% in urban and almost 8% in rural areas.

The main cuplrit for us in Ireland is the Norway (brown) rat (not always brown and not from Norway !!) which lives in all kinds of places such as sewers, drains, refuse tips, waterways. What doo you think of the photo I took last week ?  Comments welcome !!

But there are also rumours of the return of the black rat …. I’d like to see pictures if this is the case as its a while since any have been spotted in Ireland.

Prevention is better than cure and I have given tips on how to keep them at bay in a previous blog.

But rats do provide me with employment, and with the weather turning really cold this last week, we may be on for an influx off rodents into our homes.  Stay vigilant and if you see any rats or mice, call us on 01 230 3580.

Table courtesy of Think Wildlife

Table 1: Diseases transmitted from Norway rats to man
 
ParasiteDisease of Man% rats carrying disease
Helminths  
Capillaria sppCapillariasis23
 
Toxocara catiToxocariasis15
 
Hymenolepis nanaRat tapeworm11
 
Bacteria  
 
Leptospira sppLeptospirosis14
 
Listeria sppListeriosis11
 
Yersinia enterocoliticaYersiniosis11
 
Pasteurella sppPasteurellosis6
 
Pseudomonas sppMelioidosis4
 
Coxiella burnetii (antibodies)Q Fever34
 
Protozoa  
 
Cryptosporidium parvumCryptosporidiosis63
 
Toxoplasma gondiiToxoplasmosis35
 
Virus (antibodies)  
 
HantavirusHantaan-fever4
 
 
Adapted from J.P.Webster and D.W.Macdonald (1995), Parasites of wild brown rats, Rattus norvegicus. Parasitology 109: 37-43.

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