Unless you own a rat as a pet, they probably aren’t your favourite animal to have around your Kensington home. In fact, many of us call on the nearest pest controller we can find, and run a mile at the thought of rats being anywhere near us.
But despite their far from stellar reputations, rats are not just pests, and can be pretty interesting. In fact they can so interesting, they should be destined for the circus.
Here are our 10 fun facts about rats.
1. Rats can swim – Rats might even give a fish a run for its money. Some species of rat can tread water for three days, and hold their breath for three minutes. Another species can swim over a mile. Which is why they can easily make their way up and round your household plumbing.
2. Rats are idolised – In some cultures the rat is revered, and are worshipped and protected by human devotees.
3. Rats tails keep them cool – Rats can’t sweat like us, so they control their body temperature by expanding and contracting the vessels in their long tails.
4. Rat’s teeth never stop growing – Rats constantly gnaw on things, and this is to keep their teeth worn down. Their teeth can grow up to 5 inches per year. So as well as wood, rats will gnaw on lead, cinder blocks and sheets of aluminium.
5. Rats have many different species – There are 56 known species of rat in the world.
6. Rats can grow pretty big – There are some big rats out there! You may think the rats you see in cities like London are large, but if you saw some of their massive rodent relatives, you’d be shocked. These rats can weigh 8.8 pounds, and measure 20 inches in length. That’s the size of a small housecat.
7. Rats breed like crazy – Rats can breed very quickly. A female rat can reproduce every three weeks or so. And each litter can typically contain 6 to 10 pups. These pups then become sexually mature when they’re four months old, meaning they can carry on breeding. This is how rodent infestations get so out of control.
8. Rats are very social – Rats like to live in communities, where they groom each other, play and sleep together. They also become very aggressive and territorial towards unfamiliar rats.
9. Rats spread diseases – One of the most well known facts about rats is that they carry pathogens that can spread very dangerous diseases to humans. They can in fact spread over 35 diseases.
10. Rats can laugh – When a rat plays, they experience a type of joy because of the enjoyment they feel. The results of this is a rat laugh. It’s not a laugh like a human hearty chuckle. It’s more of a high-pitched chirping noise.
Now that you know these strange and funny, circus-worthy, facts about rats, you might see why some people do keep them as pets. However, that doesn’t mean you want pest rats roaming around your home or business. That’s why it’s always so important to invest in great rodent control to keep the rats away from your property.