It is estimated there is one rat for each person in North America. Rats can fall 20 feet without being injured. Rats can jump 3′ straight up and 4′ out from a standing position. Rats are capable of swimming 1/2 mile in open water. They can climb up the insides of pipes with diameters between 1 1/2″ – 4″. A rat’s teeth are so strong it can bite through aluminum, lead and other metals. Rats and Mice can squeeze through an opening smaller than a quarter (25 cents).
Rats and mice eat any kind of food that people eat. They also contaminate much more food than they eat, with urine, droppings and hair. They can transmit diseases such as bubonic plague, murine typhus and bacterial food poisoning. Rats can bite people and they can also cause damage and fires to our structures by gnawing. The most common rodent pests are the rats and mice that have adapted to living with man and sharing his food and shelter. They include the Norway rat, the roof rat and the house mouse.
The movement of rats and mice is usually related to food, water and harborage. Because rats are excellent swimmers, they often live in sewers and occasionally enter homes through toilets. Rats and mice frequently gnaw on their surroundings. Rats and mice are active mostly at night. Rats show greatest activity the first half of the night, if food is abundant. Mice are usually active both right after dark and between midnight and dawn. Both rats and mice will be active during daytime hours when food is scarce, when there is an overpopulation of rats, or when a poison has been used and the population is sick.