The winter season has arrived, and oftentimes most people prefer being more inside. How do you think winter influences rat behaviour? Read more in this blog post about what rats do in order to survive the winter and what signs you should look for in order to avoid rats in your garage or cosy living room.
Very cold or mild winter?
Rats seek shelter in order to get through the cold temperatures during winter. Oftentimes, rats will seek towards stacks of woodpiles, garages or other places. However, there have been cases of rats in people’s houses or apartments, which is obviously the worst-case scenario concerning rats.
Whether the coming winter will be freezing cold or mild is hard to tell, but the temperatures will most likely influence rats in two distinct ways.
- If it turns out to be a cold winter, rats may reproduce less, as they seek to find warm places for survival reasons. As a result, employees at businesses and warehouses might discover signs of rats and therefore quickly contact pest control companies.
Not only the winter weather influences rats, but the COVID-19 pandemic certainly had its effect on rats in 2020 (link to covid-19 blog) as more rats entered empty restaurants and offices in the search for food.
- If it turns out to be a mild winter, it might provide better living conditions for rats to reproduce. How many rats can one pair breed in one year, you may wonder? After only two or three months a rat can reproduce and one rat gets four to eight offspring for each litter. On average a female rat will get 54 offsprings in one year. The size of a rat colony can therefore grow incredibly fast.
Signs of rats during winter
Rat behavior changes during winter in contrast to Summer and Spring, in which they mostly reproduce and seek foods in the nature. Winter is all about seeking shelter and gathering foods for rats. It might not come as a surprise to you, that rats eat basically anything: fruits, corn, plants and other types of vegetation, and if these are not present, they will also eat insects and other smaller animals. Bird seeds can also easily become food for rats, and even though the bird house is placed high above the ground, rats can easily climb up or eat the seeds on the ground.
You can read more about how to avoid rats in your garden
Rats will find shelter wherever there is warm and dry. What do you need to pay special attention to? Read the following points about when there may be signs of rats near you:
- Rat’s nest: When rats get comfortable in a garage or large building, they will start to make a nest. A rat’s nest will typically look messier and more unorganised in comparison to a bird’s nest. A pile of leaves, cardboard or other materials can easily be used in the making of the nest. If you see anything like this, it might be one of the signs of rats.
- Rat gnaw marks: Rats need to keep their teeth sharp and they use their teeth on almost everything on both tree and metal. Rat scratching and gnawing will leave marks, and if you do not know how to identify these, you should ask a pest control technician.
- Rat droppings: Of course, rats leave droppings like every other animal, and if you discover rat droppings it is a clear very likely one of the signs that you have rats.
Keep an eye out and look for signs of rats during the wintertime. Remember always to contact a pest control company, if you see signs of rats near your house or business.
- DR, Mette Richardt (2018). Vær beredt: Når frosten kommer søger rotterne ind
- Safeguard. How do rat survive the winter?
- TV2, Cæcilie Dohn Christensen. (2019). Mild vinter kan betyde flere rotter på vej
- The Specialists (2018). The rodent breeding cycle & how to stop it