rat control mice control

What Rats Chew and Don't Chew

Rats are notorious for their excessive compulsion to chew on things -- boxes, packets, wirings, clothes, documents, furniture, drapes and so much more. This behaviour often drives onlookers to assume that chewing is rat's most favourite pastime; but of course, we know better. These rodents wouldn't waste so much time trying to penetrate something out of sheer pleasure, they always have their reasons. It is very likely that they have sensed that food will become available to them after they have accomplished their feat. Well, rats don't have much time to live (an average lifespan is 8 months), thus, by virtue of common sense, it is easy to see why they would practically do anything to get food.

Steel Pipes and Concrete Walls

Nonetheless, no matter how infamous rats are for their foraging behaviour, because their teeth are not made from diamonds or infallible alloy, there are certainly a lot of things that they cannot chew on such as glass, metal and other very compact materials. It should be noted that when rats indeed try to gnaw a steel pipe or a concrete wall, the pipe or the wall is definitely already physically damaged. Thus, the most that the rat could have contributed is to widen the hole on the pipe's surface or the crack on the wall. The bottom line is that it is impossible for rats to do the damage on their own; the enamel-covered dentins of the rats are definitely no match against the solid steel pipes or the very compact concrete walls.

Aluminium Cans

Some rats are desperate enough to leave dents on the can's surface, but it is very rare for rats to be able to successfully tear-open an aluminium can with their teeth. However, the real downside here is that by the time the rats are able to come near the can, they also have every opportunity to pee on the can and thereby contaminate its extremities. If you are not careful and you do not wash the cans properly before you open them, you might just spread the contamination into the contents of the can itself, which means that you are going to contaminate your body too. Thus, one should not be complacent when it comes to rat problems; whether they are able to damage the container and get to the food, there is still a fat chance that they will be able to cause you the same troubles, no matter what.


Stucco is the proper name given to the fine plaster that masons use to coat design-rich surfaces and mouldings. This material gives shape to the architectural designs that increases the aesthetic value of a structure. Although this material is rather soft if compared to concrete, it is still very rare for rats to chew on Stucco. This most viable explanation to this is that this material is seldom used to decorate areas where food is available, thus, the rats also do not see any reason to mess up with them.

Electrical Wirings

Rats have been known to damage electrical wirings at home; some even complain about this problem with their rat-infested cars. At first, it is quite difficult to see why rats would chew on the wires when, obviously, they might have already noticed that even after doing so, they will not get food. However, a recent study revealed that rats are only inclined to chew of wires with rubber insulations that would taste "salty". This means that the rats really assume that the wires are the food themselves. Thus, if  you want to avoid such problems, the best step that you can take is to use wirings with more durable insulations or if you can afford, have these wires run though a steel pipe; that way, you are not only protecting them from the rats but from humidity and temperature too.

Different Ways to Use a Rat Hammock

Every pet rat owner knows just how much rats love to hammock. This fondness has actually inspired their owners to devise various ways to give the hammock some sort of a variety. Some of the most popular varieties are:

1. The Basic

Simple and easy -- a small fabric with two edges tied up two supporting poles. You can cut off a leg from an old pair of jeans, a sleeve from a worn-out overalls or any other fabric to serve as the hammock. You can punch holes along the edges of the fabric to make the rope support even tougher. Shoe laces make an excellent alternative if you can't find the appropriate rope to use. The basic hammock is best when placed inside your rat's cage so that they can just crawl into it whenever they feel a little too bored inside their cages. If the cage is too small to contain a hammock hanged through ropes, you can just take away the rope and attach the fabric into the railings of the cage using tough curtain hooks or safety pins.

2. The Pocket

This is very similar to the basic hammock; the only difference between the two is their depth. Pocket hammocks are designed to serve as a semi-burrow in which a rat can squeeze into when the temperature gets too cold. To make a pocket hammock, prepare a piece of fabric (preferably denim or anything with similar toughness), strings, hooks, thread and needle. Fold the fabric over so that it would appear like a pocket with about 3/4 of the fabric covering the bottom part. Using your thread and needle, sew the sides of the pocket and attach the strings after. Hook up the pocket hammock up in your rat's cage. If you intend to use it for the winter season, fleece-like and other fluffy fabrics are the most ideal materials to be used.

3. The Snuggle Sack

If you can find fleece or calico fabric, then it is best if you make a snuggle sack. Just sew the fabric to take the shape of a sack that has a mouth wide enough to accommodate your rat. In order to keep the sack's entrance open, you can use a hook to hold one side of the sack up high. The snuggle sack is most ideal when coupled with ramps and ladders. Some rats even enter the sack in pairs and wrestle inside until one gives up.

There are so many other ways to customize the simple hammock into something that your pet rat will definitely love. By using your imagination, you will realize how limitless the possibilities are. If you have pieces of fabric at home, experiment of each fabric and investigate which fabric is most preferred by your rats.  Remember that no matter how appealing your hammock might be, if it does not feel comfortable, your rats will not mind neglecting it.

Moreover, if you make a hammock, make sure that you make at least two pieces of each. Rats are very fond of nibbling and chewing too; there's a very high possibility that they will also end up damaging the hammock sooner than expected. If you dislike making the hammocks yourself, you always have the option to buy ready-made hammocks from pet shops and other specialty stores. If you are lucky, you will be able to scour through these shops for cheap items; but in most cases, these items are relatively expensive, most especially if you have already figured out that making them on your own is easy and inexpensive.

Bumblefoot: A Common Pet Rat Problem

While the term "bumblefoot" might sound cute, it really is a disease that can make the surface of your pet [rat]'s foot (also called plantar) swell until it becomes so inflamed that your pet wouldn't be able to move around without being excruciated by pain. Its medical term is "ulcerative pododermatitis", a disease that is closely related to a medical condition that happens to birds and other rodents like rabbits and hamsters. Most people refer to this disease as "bumblefoot" because it is mainly characterized by red lumps and bumps.

How do rats contract bumblefoot?

Under normal circumstance, bumblefoot develops from a simple wound on the rats plantar that becomes infected the bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus. These microorganisms usually thrive in soiled cage flooring or bedding. Upon contraction, the wound would start to appear red, underneath would be a deposit of yellowish pus that will fill up abscesses. The severity of the infection can shoot up in a matter of hours, though other cases would take at least a couple of days. The infected area will become enlarged and painful until the rat would become lethargic because of the pain associated to the lumps.

Experts say that rats are most likely to develop bumblefoot when they are obese. One viable explanation to this is that obese rats tend to be big and heavy, thus they impose greater pressure on their feet. The other factors considered by experts are: genetic problems, chronic trauma on the wounded area, unsanitary cages and rough bedding.

How can you tell if a rat has bumblefoot?

Like what has been discussed above, the most obvious sign that a rat has bumblefoot is the appearance of lumps and bumps on the rodents' plantar. The lumps can swell so much that in some cases, they would burst out to release blood and pus; afterwards, the wound would scab and then swell back, only to burst out again. This is a very painful condition for the rats; thus, if you own a rat that happens to exhibit signs of bumblefoot, it is humane for you to act on the condition fast.

How is bumblefoot treated?

As a general advise, do not treat bumblefoot yourself, especially if you have no experience how. When you discover that your pet rat is having trouble walking and you notice that there are red lumps appearing on its plantar, the best step you can take is to call a veterinarian right away. This medical condition is treated through oral antibiotics, drugs which an "average and reasonable" person is not supposed to dispense on his/her own. Let a professional do a complete check-up of your rat's real medical condition and follow the veterinarian's prescription.

There are cases when the lesions caused by the disease do not subside even after inducing oral antibiotics to the animal. For such cases, veterinarians would often suggest a minor operation on the rat's foot. The operation is very simple and would only take a couple of minutes to complete; all that the veterinarian would do is to cut through the lesions and manually remove the pus deposited inside. The success of this treatment is still dependent of the rat's responses to the drugs given to it after the operation.

How can you protect your rats from bumblefoot?

In general, you will need to make sure that your pet rats are kept in a clean and sanitary cage or pen. As much as possible, make sure that the cages will do not have edges that can wound the rats. Be more attentive to your rats; if you notice that one of them is wounded, it is wise if you isolate this rodent first before you start treating its wound. Association to other rats might only lead to repeated disturbance of the wound as it dries up.

Methods of Rat Euthanasia

The average life span of domesticated rats is anywhere between 2 and 3.5 years -- most die from age while others suffer from various illnesses; some, are intentionally killed. Euthanasia is the humane way to end up the suffering of a sick or injured rat that has chance of survival. Though it is a difficult decision to make, owners would subject their pets to euthanasia in cases when no amount of medical attention can already save them from a current medical condition.

It should be taken into consideration that euthanasia is meant to be humane, thus, the method by which it is to be administered should be as painless as possible. The guidelines published by the "American Veterinary Medical Association" (AVMA) sometime in June 2007 indicated that any "subcutaneous, intrahepatic, intramuscular, intrarenal, intrathoracic, intrathecal and intrasplenic" injection is considered to be illegal drugs for euthanasia. These drugs can actually cause severe pain to the rats that in some cases, it is the pain that kills the animal and not the drug itself. In simple words, any drug that will cause the rat's muscle, liver, kidney, skin, lungs, spleen, chest, spinal cord and brain to deteriorate is not acceptable by the law.

Intracardiac Drugs

Do not allow anyone to use intracardiac injections to your rat, it doesn't even matter if your rat is sedated or not. Such a drug can cause very acute pain to the rat even while it is unconscious. The pain may not be obvious because the rat will remain immobile - it is sedated after all!; but it does not take away the fact that the rat does feel the pain until it dies. This method of killing animals is already considered illegal in California by virtue of its brutality.

Other drugs that have the same effects as intracardiac injections can only be used on rats and other animals when they are heavily sedated and given high dosages of anaesthesia; even those which are in comatose condition should still be given enough anaesthesia to counter the pain. No animals should be injected with such drugs while they are awake as this can lead to possible accidents (like injecting the drug into the lungs instead of the heart). Sad to say, many veterinarians choose to use intracardiac injections because it can kill the rats fast. However, when it comes to euthanasia, sometimes, what is quick is not always better than the rest.


This drug can be given orally or through SQ injections. What's good with this drug is that the rats do not seem to realize that it is already acting in its body. Of course, this drug should not be given to un-sedated rats. Once sedated, the rat will not feel anything strange or painful; in fact, if it is administered properly, even the insertion of the needle into its body will not give the rat any pain or discomfort. This drug is extremely rat-friendly because it does not go into the animal's tissues which are the ones that will feel the pain if there is any. In a matter of 5 to 10 minutes, the rat's consciousness will slowly leave its body and in a full 15 minutes, its heart will cease to beat.

Gas Anaesthetic

Another popular method of euthanasia is through the use of gas. However, rats do not really find it "pleasant" to breathe-in gas. Thus, such a method can still be considered inhumane to some extent. Nonetheless, it is still acknowledged as a legitimate way to kill rats, thus, many veterinarians continue to use this method. Gas anaesthetic euthanasia requires that the rat be placed inside a closed chamber where the gas is released into.

Assorted Rat Toy Ideas: The Digging Box

Rats, like all other pets, also need toys to self-actualize; something which most owners fail to realize. These overly active rodents will be more lively and friendly if they are involved in various rat-cantered activities which are best complemented by rat toys. Listed below are some of the most popular rat toys available in the market today; have your pick!

The Digging Box

Who would have guessed that rats also fancy having a sand digging box? We all know just how much toddlers, girls and boys alike, enjoy digging and shaping sand inside their very own play-box; rats also share the same feeling. However, a rat's digging box is not filled with sand; in order to let little plants and grasses to grow inside the box, owners would use humus to fill it up. The plants will encourage your pet rat to play more often inside the box. It will nibble through them and dig them up to chew on their roots. Some rats would even make trenches under the plants to serve like a den when the feel like having a break from the hot day. An average digging box has the following descriptions:

1. The Box

The best size would be 40 by 30 by 20 centimetres or 16 by 12 by 8 inches. It is ideal if you can find a plastic plant tub with this dimension because such tubs have drainage holes on its floor already. Cardboard boxes also make an excellent digging box, but because of its material, the box is also disposable.

2. The Fill

The easiest option is to buy sterilized soil; garden shops usually sell such in small packets. The best thing about ready-to-use soil is that it is already filtered from chemicals and bugs which can harm your pet in the long run. Such soil packets also have contents which are 100% natural -- no added fertilizers or anything else. But, of course, you can also dig some soil from your backyard. Just make sure that the soil you use is clean and free from bugs.

3. The Plants

Your pets will like the digging box better if it has plants in it. Toss in some birdseeds into the box and water the seeds lightly. Wait for a few days to see if the seeds have sprouted. In less than a week, the soil bed will be filled with greeneries which your rat will definitely love. As a reminder, do not water the plants at least 1 day before you let your rat/s in it. Otherwise, the soil will get muddy and your rat will get extremely dirty.

4. The Location

It is already expected that your rat will "mess-up", thus, in order to prevent them from "spreading the mess", might as well place a couple of plastic sheets around the box. Choose a location that is easy to clean up too; of course, you should avoid areas in the house where the rats can run into carpets, furniture or wall papers. Plan everything carefully; you can even add other toys outside the digging box and surround the area with plastic pegs to serve as a fence.

5. The Rats

Expect that your rats will get extremely excited right after you place them in the box. Do not over react when they immediately run to and fro; just enjoy the fact that your rat is having fun. To add more excitement, you can also bury some rat treats in the box; your pet will be very surprised to find a treat after digging through the soil. The box is so much more fun if your rat is not alone, so if you only have one rat, invite a friend rat-owner to come over (just make sure that your rats are also friends).

Simple Toys to Keep a Clever Rat Busy

There is no doubt that rats are cunning and smart. In fact, they can already outwit rat traps and even avoid rat poison by experience. However, this does not mean that they cannot and do not appreciate the simple things. Pet rats, for example, are most amused with simple toys. Some of these toys are listed below:

1. Simple Rock

Who would have guessed that rats are also interested in rocks? Being highly inquisitive animals, rats will definitely want to spend a couple of minutes sniffing through various rock collections; then, they would start climbing up and down the rocks once they get a little more comfortable with them. Of course, by virtue of being rodents, there is always the possibility that the rats would pee and leave dropping on the rocks while some would dig around them to "inquire" some more. Moreover, playing with rocks will also keep your rats claws blunt.

2. Bookshelf Paradise

Rats love to "destroy" literature, if you have some books and magazines that need shredding, might as well utilize your rats. Take out all the important books and stuff from your bookshelf, leave only those which are meant to be thrown away; add the rats and enjoy the scene LOL. You will see just how much your rats love scurrying through the shelf, nibbling old literature to pieces. Of course, after the fun, you also need to clean up the mess.

3. Sack Attack

Using an old pillow case, make a "tunnel" through which your rat can pass to and fro. You can either leave the other side closed or you can cut it open so that your rat can enter and leave the "tunnel" through each edge. Tie the upper flap of the entrance and the exit with a string to keep them open.

4. Towel Maze

This is the simplest way to keep your rats busy. Simply drop a towel, bed sheet or a wide sheet of rug over your pet rats and see how they will find their way out of the "maze". Be sure to use an old sheet because your rats will most likely chew through them if they find it too difficult to get out "naturally".

5. Long Pipe

You can be creative and make your own pipe using some rolled cardboards or a couple of plastic water bottles (with both ends removed). Tape the cardboard tubes or the water bottles together to make a long pipeline. You can also buy a good length of some flexible hose with a diameter wide enough to accommodate a rat. Your pet rats will enjoy passing through these pipelines from one end to another.

6. Tug of War

Play tug of war with your pet by letting it pull on end of a shoelace with their mouth while you hold the other end. Play with your rat a little bit but give them the win. Once your rat gets the shoelace all for itself, the best way to get it back is to trade it with some treats.

7. Ping Pong Ball

Rats love "playing" with a ping pong ball because it is light and it literally just rolls over every time they try to chew on it. Thus, rats would endlessly chase the ball. It is ideal when the ball is kept inside the rat's cage, that way, the mouse will not lose the ball.

Rat Euthanasia at Home

Because of the lack of resources and equipment, the only possible way to go about humane rat euthanasia at home is through the use of carbon dioxide or CO2; the "American Veterinary Medical Association" also approved the use of this compound. Since CO2 is a natural depressant, it also has anaesthetic effects when administered to rats. To demonstrate this further, just think of the reason why you yawn when you are tired or sleepy. You get this reaction because this is your body's natural way to get rid of the excess CO2 in your body that causes you to feel down and less energetic. This is precisely the reason why yawning sort of relieves us from sleepiness or boredom (at least in a split of seconds).

The real good thing about CO2 is that it does not suffocate the rat. What will happen is that the rat will slowly fall into a deep "slumber" (while it breathes normally) until it dies. However, when not administered in the right concentration, CO2 may not work right. The known effective CO2 to Air concentration is between 30 and 40 per cent; other ratios will simply not achieve the desired results. For example, a 7.5% concentration will lead to increasing the rat's pain threshold while anything higher than 50% will already cause eye irritations and other respiratory tract problems which can be painful. At 30 to 40 per cent, the rat can become unconscious and the anaesthetic effects of the compound will happen.

There are many ways to get CO2 at home; however some of these ways may not be right at all. For example, compressed CO2 (which can be readily bought) have the severe tendency to have very high concentrations, while the CO2 produced by dry ice may cause burns. According to some experts, the best way to get CO2 is to mix baking soda and vinegar. This method is quite easy and very affordable to make. The simplest way to test whether the concentration of the CO2 is correct or not is to use a lighted candle. If the concentration is correct, it should be enough to put-out the candle.

The Right Recipe

If this is your first time to use vinegar and baking soda to produce CO2, then you better stick to the recipe that I have outlined below.

What You Need:

10-gallon container
Wire and plastic carrier (about 12x8x8 inches on each side)
Bath-sized towel (heavy duty)
4 cups of 240 ml white vinegar
5 tablespoon fresh baking soda

(The ingredients above suit a rat that weighs less than 1.5 lbs., if your rat is heavier, simply add at least 1.5 tablespoon of baking soda and a cup of vinegar).

What You Need to Do:

1. Now that you have everything ready, you can now set the container on a table (just make sure that you can still reach it and put your arm inside it).
2. Next, you will need to place the carrier inside the container, as much as possible put it in the centre.
3. To make your rat comfortable, place a piece of cloth over the carrier so that the rat can rest on it comfortably.
4. Take note that CO2 is heavier than air, thus, you no longer need to cover the container because the compound will definitely not leave its interiors. Cover the bottom of the container with about 5 tablespoons of baking soda and slowly pour-in 3 gallons of the CO2 that you have made. This amount would be enough to make the rat unconscious. Adding 2 or 3 more gallons will cause the rat's death.

Fun Activities for Rats

Pet lovers around the world may have different opinions when it comes to how animals should be treated and cared for, but they all believe in one thing -- it is imperative to make them happy and comfortable. In lieu to this, owners would invest on treats and toys just to keep their pets busy and active; others even bring their pets to animal grooming parlours or enlist their pets to various fun activities. Pet rats for example, are engaged to mini social gatherings to meet fellow pet rats in the neighborhood through rat Olympics and other similar events. However, if you are the less "social" type and you'd rather keep your pet at home with you, is it still possible for your pet to have fun? Well, you are reading the right article. This post is all about the various rat games which you can initiate at home.

Fish for the Peas Game

Rats would definitely love this game especially during hot summer days. It is also very easy to prepare; simply get a shallow tray or bowl that is enough to fit a couple of rats. A large painting tray is the most perfect choice because of its angled flooring which means that the depth of the "pool" will also vary. Of course, it is up to the owner's prerogative to make sure that the water level is shallow enough to not drown the rats that would be "playing" in it. In order to make the game less messy, the owner is advised to place the tray or the bowl on water-proof flooring -- no wood or carpet. For added protection, he/she may place plastic sheeting in the area where the activity is supposed to take place (a shower curtain is an excellent alternative).

It is also wise to keep a towel nearby so that the rats can simply run into it just in case it feels a little too cold being wet. Without the towel, it is very possible for the rats to run to the nearest water-absorbing material it can bump to -- too bad if that is your antique sofa or your expensive draperies, right? Once everything is set, you can now toss in the peas; frozen packed or canned peas will work just fine, but if your rat prefers other foodstuff (i.e. corn) just give them what they would like most.

Don't worry about the different reactions you might get from your rats. All rats are comfortable in the water, though some would be nervous at first and would only nibble on the peas with their pointed mouth without actually jumping into the pool; well, others would be daring enough to dive into the "pool" without hesitations - how ever your rat likes it, it will definitely have so much fun.

Piñata for the Rats

Rats, just like little kids, also enjoy jumping again and again just to grab a couple of hanged up goodies. A for-rat-only piñata is slightly different from that which kids play with. The rat version is simply a cardboard tube with each end secured by a yarn. The tube is hung in the play area of the rats; it's height just enough to let the rat reach and shake it. Sunflower seeds, chips, peas, corn and other rat-treats are placed inside the tube. Of course, every time the rats swing the tube, the treats will fall out from the sides of the tube. After a couple of tries, the rats will get it that every time they reach out to the tube, they will get some treats.

This activity is also used by rat owners to "force" their pets to get some exercise since jumping and reaching to shake the cardboard tube will definitely require some form of effort from the rat. Because playing the Piñata does not require any human intervention, owners can use it to keep their pets busy while they go out for work or while you sleep at night.

Why do Rats Tend to Pee on Food?

We do know now that rats do pee a lot and it could mean a lot of things. Rats pee in order to mark their territories and keep other rats from invading them, although arguable there instances that show that territorial markings are not necessarily being followed as some rats would bypass the urine markings of other rats on a specific area. Rats also pee in order to indicate their liking to other rat of the opposite sex. It would mean that they are attracted to the female rat and would like to engage into reproduction with her. The markings are also a marketing strategy for male rats to show how highly heated they are for reproduction. Females would like male rats that have spiking testosterone levels. On the other hand female rats would be able to tell the males its receptiveness for mating through their urine. The level of hormones being excreted through the urine would indicate the heat level of the female rat's receptiveness. There are a lot of things to consider when you assess the reasons why rats would pee on things. But one would probably still baffle why rats would often pee on their food.

Could it be to mark its ownership on that food? To make it taste better? LOL. We will answer those questions here in the following paragraphs.

Believe it or not, rats pee on their food too. But before you suddenly smear that smug on your face, first you must recall the struggle of rats when choosing what to eat. Rats are everywhere on earth and being omnivorous they have a wide variety of food menu and they could eat a lot as well. They could eat from vegetables, lean meat, and steak to twinkies and Pringles. This ability of rats sets them apart from the eating habits of other animals like koalas and pandas which only eat eucalyptus and bamboo shoots respectively.

With only the keen sense of smell but a bad vision, how on earth will a rat know what to eat and what not? We are all very aware that a mistake in food intake could possibly prove to be fatal. If a rat would eat the toxic leaf or poisoned pellets for bait a rat could rest in peace forever. Therefore, rats would have to be truly extra careful what to put inside their mouths because they know that they can really puke it out. The inability of rats to vomit would make it all the more hazardous to just randomly pick any food to eat.

Rats employ preventive strategies to ensure their safety once picking out the food to eat. For instance if the food they just ate would somehow make them feel sick afterwards, they will make it a point to avoid that food in the future. This admonition would trickle down to the other members of the family. They will also ensure that other rats won't eat that same food. And that is not where they would use their pee to indicate that the food is safe to eat. More often than not, rats pee on their food to indicate its safeness for intake, otherwise, the absence of urine marks would tell other rats that the food amidst them should probably be avoided. Rats are keen to learn from other rats examples. If other rats would find the food edible, they would eat that same food as well. This would not be made possible the urine communication of rats. Young rats would also prefer the scent of their elders on their food before they munch on them right away.

Urine Marking in Rats

You should have noticed that rats like to move from one place to another when they urinate. Not only that, they urinate on almost anything from ground, walls and other objects, even other rats. It's not something they do for fun though, but it is actually a form of chemical communication between rats of the same species. Urine marking is rats' way of generating chemical odors they send as specific messages to other species; it's a form of territorial acclamation or sexual exhibition. When another rat receives the signal, it identifies, integrates, and then responds depending on the interpretation of the signal. The responses could either be behavioral or psychological.

Surprisingly, urine markings are actually a textbook of information about its maker. Information about sex, reproductive state, age, mating availability, idiosyncrasy, social identity, even the stress levels being undergone by the rat can be found in the urine markings and only other rats are able to interpret that. The urine mark could even show the indications of how long the urine has been since it was smeared on the surface.

Both sexes actually produce urine markings. However urine marking is more than half the time sexually dimorphic. One would notice that male species of rats mark more and heavier than the female species. Another disparity is that adult rats would mark more than juvenile rats and as well as intact rats than apparently neutered rats. Female rats would tend to follow their 4-5 days of reproductive period. They would mark a lot during the night before their ovulation.

In most occasions, rats would urine-mark surfaces or objects they have easy access to or something they can just immediately walk on. There are also times when they will mark their fellow rats, and they tend to mark on new odors they sense and over the urine markings of other rats.

The Urine-Marking process of rats is mostly attributed to their hormones. This is the very reason why most female rats would increasingly mark during the period before their ovulation and during it. This is phenomenon is strictly associated with the rise of estrogens and progesterone levels of a female rats during their heat periods. The male markings on the other hand are related with the rise of testosterone levels. That is why males would increasingly mark during their puberty and would steadily decline after it or even eliminated during instances of castration.

The markings can also elicit the circumstances that are taking place in the environment. The odor of the urine markings will enable the rats to know if a particular object has been moved from one location to another or show the presence of certain low objects within the area. Rats are able to distinguish those things with the use of their urine odors.

Moreover, urine marking serves many different purposes and functions. One of it is it serves as a sexual advertisement of a rat to its opposite sex. Males would begin to mark increasingly once they have perceived a female rat which happens to be in heat or receptive females. One the other hand, the receptive females would then detect which of the urine have high testosterone levels and they would choose them to have as their mate. Most intact males would regularly prefer the odor of the urine of receptive females rather than those that are not.

Urine marking may also serve as a habitat identification mechanism wherein the odor of their urine would make them feel that they belong to the place, making the environment's scent a much more familiar one.

Sneak Peak Into The World Of Rats

Perhaps, the most popular rodent in history is the rat. It has been shown over hundreds of films already. In fact, there are movies that feature rats' way of living. It is given already that rats are famous in munching our food supplies, especially cheese, and destroying our walls. But aside from this, how well do we know rats? 

Rats are very sneaky creatures. Some said that rats originate from Asia, others said in Europe between 11th to 13th centuries. But whoever is saying the truth, one thing is for sure, rats sneak in ships that is why they are now scattered all over the world.

In movies, we often find rats living behind walls. They gnaw on it that's why we commonly see holes on walls. This is just an example of where rats live. But generally, rats can live anywhere. They like dark places, such as basements and cellars, under houses, in drainage canals, and in thick, piled stuff.

How do rats perceive their surroundings? Our view of the world is completely not like that of rats. Remember, rats are small compared to us, so the way they look on things is entirely different. However, they still recognize their environment through their senses.

The sense of sight of rats is not as good as our vision. They cannot see all the three colors, blue, green, and red. But they are not totally colorblind. They are dichromatic; they can see the colors blue and green. Unlike humans, they have the ability to see the ultraviolet range also aside from the two mentioned colors because their blue cones are shifted towards the ultraviolet spectrum.

Rats are able to adapt to the world well through its whiskers, the long hair-like strands in their face. It is very sensitive when touched. The rats can perceive sharply and in a very detailed picture those objects that are near to them through its whiskers. Those things that are, somehow, far for them already are blurry because their whiskers have a short range only.

Aside from the rat's strong sense of touch through its whiskers, rats can distinguish their environment by way of smell as well. In fact, they have a strong sense of smell. Rat's nose is unbelievably sensitive. It is like most of their perception is through their nose. Even ordinary, unscented things for us are smelly to rats. This is the reason why rats can detect where humans place their food supplies. Rats also know each other through their sense of smell. If you have observed, rats sniff unto floors or in anything. This is because they want to know in depth details about the odor trails left by other animals. Upon sniffing thoroughly, rats use their second organ, the vomeronasal organ. If we have our eyes as windows to our soul, rats have their urine odor to allow other rats to know them. When using their vomeronasal organ in smelling the odor of the urine, they can already know the sex, stress level, social status, reproductive status, and individual identity of the other. This is how rats start to
get to know each other and then eventually mate.

Lastly, rats perceive their environment through their hearing. Like their sense of touch and smell, rats have very good hearing too. They can hear up to five times louder than what we, humans, hear. So for rats, the world is a lot noisier than what we think.

The world is absolutely different for rats. Their senses are way odder than ours, but that's the beauty of rats. They are not rodents who are spreading diseases only. We must always bear in mind that behind the mess that a rat makes, rats are still beautiful animals.

Rats in Seconds!

You might probably be wondering why rats can crowd your building in a short time. Perhaps you have thought of blocking their mating season so that they will be easily eliminated. But let me tell you this fact, rats do not have a mating season and only extreme temperatures (too hot or too cold) may decrease the chance of rats to be sexually active. A rat can reach its sexual maturity at five weeks since its birth. They don't recognize blood relations too. Incest is not in their vocabulary, so they can make out with their brothers, sisters, or even parents.

As long as a female rat heats up, mating can begin. In a year, a female rat can feel the heat of making out every 4 to 5 days. Even a pregnant rat can still feel heat during the early times of pregnancy. It is very easy to take note of a female rat's time to heat. Although sometimes it varies, but more often, a female rat heats up during early evening until the rest of the night. When a female rat is in heat, it is noticeable that her vagina will be open widely. Otherwise, it is tightly closed.

In times that a female rat heats up, she will find a way to get near a male rat. However, if she's not in the mood of mating, it is quite difficult for the male rat to seduce her because the female can fight him with all its force. A buck (male rat) can distinguish if a doe (female rate) is in heat because the latter may perform a mating dance. The said dance can be observe when the doe stretches her legs straight, spin around, move her ears, and lift her tail and head. This signals the male rat that the doe is ready to make out at this moment. Then foreplay happens because before the real mating begins, several mounting must be done by the male rat first. Although sometimes in just a single mount mating may start, but this is rare. When mounting, the male rat sniffs and licks the female rat. Then he will grasp the nape of the female rat with the use of his teeth. After this process, mating can be done in as fast as two seconds!

The pregnancy will take up to, usually, 22 days. But sometimes, it may range between 21 to 28 days. Rats, either male or female, are normally protective with their pups, unlike other animals that eat their offspring.  However, if you want to minimize the rat infestation, you better separate males from females because a female rat can heat up again after 24 hours post-delivery. Therefore, she is capable of getting pregnant again after delivery!

A rat can give birth in an average of 6 to 13 pups or kittens. The delivery can be complete after 1 to 2 hours. Within this, the mother rat will have a litter every five to 10 minutes. She will be the one to pull off her pups using her hands and teeth. Then, she will eat the placenta and the umbilical cord to clean the baby. The pup wiggles after the mother has removed its sac. This is a sign that the pup is healthy and to avoid the mother from also eating the baby.

See how fast rats can reproduce? No wonder there are thousands of them in the world, in various species. And hundreds of them may be found your households. So if you are serious about getting rid of the infestation of rats in your environment, stopping their mating perhaps is a good start. Even so, the best way to prevent rats' large numbers is to maintain cleanliness so there will be no chance of the bucks and does or dams to procreate.

Rats: Beneficial or Not?

When we talk about rats, what is the first thing that comes into our mind? For most that I have talked to, one thing that suddenly pops out in their minds when they hear the word rat is "pest". This is because rats have been long known as the ones responsible of destroying things in a household or building. They are fond of gnawing on walls just to pass through and have access to their food and home.

Rats have different implications in every culture. For most, rats are generally negative. Sometimes, people use the term "rat" as a vulgar expression or an insult. People who have a cruel personality are being likened to a rat because many believed that rats are unclean, nasty, and opportunistic. What rats usually do is just damage or steal food supplies and other goods. Moreover, they have been known to spread diseases like leptospirosis, Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), rat-bite fever (RBF), and many others.  These are the reasons why people are very determined to eradicate rats in their surroundings.

In contrast, other cultures view rats as high and mighty. For example, in India, they look at rats as vehicles of their God, Ganesha. Rats are allowed to stay and roam around the temples. They are believed to be reincarnated as holy men. Priests feed them well, and afterwards, they also eat the rats' leftovers because they consider that foods touched by rats are blessings from their God.

In Chinese culture also, rats are famous in the sense that they are intelligent, creative, and playful. People who are born in the year of the rat are characterized as smart, gregarious, quick-witted, protective, and furtive.  Due to these impressive characteristics, they are also well-liked by many. These Chinese predictions are paralleled to the typical rodents, the rats. Rats know exactly how to handle or take care of themselves. They can find solutions to their problems by using their senses. That is why we have difficulty exterminating them because they cannot easily be fooled.

In terms of science, rats have contributed much in our knowledge today about several facts. These rodents are used in experiments for a long time already. From our discovery about genetics and medicine, to understanding behaviors, all these have to do with rats. Scientists named rats used in experiments as "lab rats". For example, if experts want to know how effective their newly explored drug is, they test it to rats first, and then observe it for a period of time, before really using it to humans. Also, in psychology, rats are being used to explain behaviors of people. For this reason, we now have B.F. Skinner's theory on behaviorism. In addition, because of the rats' good sense of smell and attitude that is easy to be trained, they are also used lately in tuberculosis detection and landmines.

Not only in culture and science that rat is contributory. Due to the vast number of rats, some people consider rats in their diet also. Although this is a taboo because of the diseases that may spread and some religious factors, there are still those who are hooked to rat's meat. In some parts of Hawaii, rat's meat is an everyday dish for commoners. Other places also have commercialized rat's meat and made it as an exotic delicacy.

In this world that we live in, it is not only us who are living. Just like us, rats coexist with the ecosystem and may possess positive impact to the society. Even though we can't deny its sneaky and destructive behavior in our household and offices, we still have to consider that they have the right to be treated humanely. If you want to get rid of them in your surrounding where you find them harming, it is better to deter those rodents using natural and eco-friendly methods. In this way, you are not only preventing rats from destroying your goods, but you are helping them not to really be eliminated from this world.

Rat Control: Do It Naturally

Rodents, such as rats, are very destructive to our buildings, may it be in offices or households. Even in cars, rats tend to be very vicious. No doubt, people are eager to eradicate or get rid of these pests in their surroundings. The question now is – how can we get rid of them in a humane way?

Since then, live traps are very common in eliminating rats. However, there are more convenient ways of keeping away rats from our things. First and foremost, we have to know how to rat-proof our building. By that I mean to make our environment unsuitable for rats to live. In my opinion, this the most effective way of exterminating rats. As what the saying "prevention is better than cure" implies to preclude rats' infestation is way better than letting them move away from our surrounding. So how do we do this rat-proofing? First, we must seal holes or possible entry points where rats can get access to our building. Doors and windows may be screened so it may not be rats' entrance. Then, we should take responsibility in keeping our food supplies and garbage in sturdy and tightly-sealed containers.  Some foods may be placed in the refrigerator instead of storing it in the cubbyhole. If you have indoor animals, make sure to pick-up dishes after feeding them because the food remnants can be tempting to rats. Also, if you have stacked woods or any materials, better pile them tightly and away from your building or house. Through these ways, we are not only preventing the infestation of rats, but we are also keeping our environment clean and free from potential health hazards.

Some natural rat control measures can be done too. Chemical deterrents are an inhumane way of eradicating rats. Aside from that, it is also harmful to us humans, especially to children, and to our pets as well. So why not go natural?

There are various natural ways of eliminating rats. One is to use predators, like dogs and cats, to keep rats away. Predator scents can be used as natural deterrents too. If rats are introduced to smells that they don't like or that can potentially harm them, they may voluntarily leave the place rather than risk their lives. The scent of a dog's urine can be used as deterrent, or even a bit of dog's hair can already prevent rats from destroying things. For instance, you may wipe your car wires with urine to avoid rats from gnawing it.

Aside from predator and its smell, condiments like pepper, edible vegetable oils, and garlic can be a smell deterrent for rat control too. Just by the scent or taste of pepper, rats cannot tolerate it. How much more the mixture of pepper, salad oil, and garlic? Rats can be very disgusted to it. Simply mix the three mentioned condiments that are readily found in our kitchen then let it stay for 4 days. After that, strain it and put the mixture in a spray bottle. With this, it is very easy and comfortable to use over areas that cannot be rat-proofed like car wires and living room sets.  All you have to do is spray it on possible areas that rats may chomp.

Moreover, rat repellent also includes those that are disgusting to their taste apart from the above mentioned smell deterrents. As a common knowledge, rats love to munch on things such as wires, shoes, etc.  So the use of wasabi or hot pepper may be effective in controlling rats. Merely smear a small amount of wasabi or hot pepper to surfaces of things or stuff, and surely, when rats will take a taste of it, these rodents will stay away from it.

There, I have written it all. But then again, in my opinion, the best deterrent is cleanliness. Avoid rat infestation, throw away your garbage and food scraps, and clean every part of your house or building regularly. Enjoy a rat-free environment!

Rats Don't Vomit

Did you know that rats don't vomit? Not only that, they don't actually burp as well. Therefore, they don't experience heartburn as well as humans would normally experience after vomiting or burping. There are actually several reasons why a rat isn't able to vomit. One reason is that they actually have a very powerful strong barrier that separates their stomach and esophagus. They also don't have sufficient esophageal muscle to force the barrier open, which makes vomiting possible. Second reason is that when one vomits it would require two sets of muscles in the diaphragm to contract independently. However, rats seem to be unable to dissociate the movements of these two muscles. Third reason is simply because rats' brains just aren't that complex enough to facilitate the mental process required when vomiting.

We are somehow aware that the main purpose why a living being vomits is for the body to rid itself of something toxic. Basically, vomiting is a defence mechanism of our body system to prevent anything that may damage it by purging it out. Rats are incapable of vomiting, but they still do have ways to prevent the possibilities of intoxication. One strategy is preventative in nature. With the use of their super-sensitive sense of smell, they can easily detect any possible toxic intake before they ingest it. Another way to rid themselves of the toxins particularly when the case is they have already taken the toxin in is through pica. Specifically clay, they eat some of it to get rid of the toxins that are already ingested. Clay has a special property that binds some toxins that are in the stomach which in turn dilutes the toxins in the system.

Regurgitation vs. Vomiting

While humans can vomit, rats can regurgitate. They do it quite occasionally even to rid itself from any possible toxin intakes they have done before. Regurgitation is a different process to vomiting. Vomiting requires much more complex processes in the mind and the system reflexes that respond to the process of vomiting. The powerful reflex would require a series of muscle coordination to make the forceful dispelling of toxins possible. One the other hand, regurgitation is a passive process wherein the food is effortlessly drawn back to the esophagus area. To regurgitate, one would not need to have any forceful muscle or abdominal contractions to make it possible.

Other Actions that May Resemble Vomiting

There other things that rats do that may look like they are vomiting. However, they are not actually vomiting in this case, but instead they are attempting to execute something to prevent them from being intoxicated. For example, there are times when a rat may find it difficult to swallow the food that they just ate. Their chocking patterns of behavior may resemble something like it's about to vomit. The rat in this situation may strain itself deliberately, would pull down his chin to his throat and its ears would flatten. It is possible that the rat will drool saliva, and put his paw into his mouth. Surprisingly, during this process, rats are still able to breathe normally, although chocking in rats is just very rare.

Sometimes, one could often relate the semblance of vomiting to a rat having difficulty swallowing as some parcels of food may actually come back out of the mouth. However, this is strictly not vomiting at all.

Rats may experience respiratory distress and they would be found choking at times due to their difficulty in breathing. When they do choke, they dispel a foamy substance that may look like stomach fluids. However, they are not stomach fluids but rather mucus from the lungs.

Effective Rat Guards

Sometimes, other mechanisms that prevent rats from entering the house won't work. Even the renowned traps and baits approaches could often fail sometimes in certain situations. However, the creativity of human minds doesn't end in the convention methods of rat prevention. They continue on reinventing and innovating until it reaches to the point of zenith wherein they have already found the ultimate solution to all problems. We may not be there yet, but we have made considerable progress so far by being able to invent some of the best ways and methods to prevent rodent infestation problem. And one of this is the use of highly effective rat guards that prevent rats from entering the house.

Rat guards are very great substitutes to sealants and covers, if ever one would not have any access on the other products. But what are rat guards exactly and how do they work in deterring our pesky rodent brethrens from invading our beloved abode?

Rat guards, as what the name implies, serve as a guard that prevents rats from entering through holes into the house. They are best applied as a future preventative measure so that after you applied all sorts of rodent control techniques and gotten rid of all the present rats infesting the house, you will also deter them from entering once again in the future. Rat guards are best placed in pipelines and tube holes that can potentially become passages for rats to get inside. What's even more advantageous is that rat guards don't have to go through the hassles of having to drill holes just to install them. With the recent innovations on rat guards' technology, one could just simply place them on holes like a cap on bottle lid.

Rat guards are even not only used in residential homes as they are also being used on other establishments and structures. They are commercially popular in ships and are being used to prevent not only rats but also other hygiene threatening animals like snakes, cats, squirrels and what not. Over time the product has been proven to be quite effective in deterring such creatures from entering the ship hauls.

The guards have three plates. The initial plate is found in its surface. More like the external cover serves as the framework for the spokes of the guard. The second layer or plate is the pokes that are inserted into the framework to filter rats from getting in. The third layer is another level of spokes that are smaller and narrower. They have to be installed as well to ensure that rats will never be able to squeeze themselves in into the possible seams of the second layer. Note that in order to install the rat guard you don't need to do any drilling or wielding so that you can assemble all the parts.

Here are some advantages of having Rat Guards:

1. Like what was said earlier, they easily and conveniently installed everywhere. They come in different sizes in order to fit in to the needs of measurement depending on the size of the hole that needs covering.

2. All rat guards are alloy made in order to resist the eventuality of rusting and corrosion. When they won't rust, they could possibly last a lifetime working to deter rats.

3. Their popularity is simply preceded by its efficiency. Rat guards are not only popularly used in ships but across the entire United States as well. When everybody's using it, it could simply imply that everybody trusts its effectiveness.

Diseases Brought By Rats

At present times, there are numerous diseases that can affect humans. It is undeniable that many factors within our environment have contributed from even simple colds, to the very life-threatening illnesses. Among these factors is the rodent – RATS.

Rats have been carriers of diseases that can affect humans, if not; they can directly weaken us through their urine and scratches among others. The diseases brought by rats may not be detected right away simply because it will start from minor problems only such as headache, vomiting, and muscle pains. However, we should all be aware that we cannot forsake these simple symptoms, or else it may worsen and can cause death. That is what we are trying to avoid, especially if we have children, elderly, and other persons with low immune system living with us. However, before thoroughly knowing each of the disease that is caused by rats, let me remind you one thing, preventing rat infestation is the best way to keep our family and loved ones healthy.  

There are six known diseases that are caused by rats, namely, leptospirosis, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, eosinophilic meningitis, rat-bite fever (RBF), Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), and murine typhus. Each of these stems from rats' commensal to rats' waste. 


Leptospirosis is very common especially during wet season. This is due to high incidence of flood, wherein the urine of the rats may mix with the water. Children are very prone to acquiring this illness because of their playful nature and depressed immune system. Therefore, my advice to parents, do not let your young ones play over flooded areas because they may get the bacteria that causes leptospirosis.

The disease, leptospirosis, is caused by the bacteria that is from the genus leptospira. The person infected by the said bacteria may be asymptomatic or may not manifest the symptoms. Nevertheless, this disease can cause a wide range of symptoms. We should take note of the following symptoms because these are the primary ones: high fever, vomiting, muscle pains, severe headache, and chills. In addition, jaundice or yellowing of the skin and conjunctiva, red eyes, abdominal pain, rash, and diarrhea may result also.

Death is quite rare in this disease. Nonetheless, we should seek a professional's help when the above mentioned signs and symptoms are felt because it may worsen and can lead to problems like liver failure, respiratory distress, kidney damage, and meningitis.

Salmonella Enterica Serovar Typhimurium

S. Typhimurium is characterized by nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. This is usually treated with antibiotics. Normally, this disease is not fatal. But if left untreated, the infection may cause death to the person.

Eosinophilic Meningitis (EM)

This disease is the infection of the brain by a parasite called Angiostrongylus cantonensis, also known as the rat lungworm. It is characterized by an increase of eosinophils or white blood cells in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). EM can be acquired through ingestion of contaminated foods.

Rat-Bite Fever (RBF)

RBF is a systemic illness that is caused by a bacterium called Streptobacillus moniliformis. From its name, we can already tell that this condition can be acquired through rat's bite. If you are scratched by a rat, RBF may result also. Moreover, ingestion of foods that are touched or contaminated with rat's feces can also cause rat-bite fever.

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)

HPS is first known in 1993. It can be acquired by humans through aerosolized virus. This disease can be passed on from rat's urine, saliva, or droppings. There are few who are identified to have died from Hantavirus pulmonary sysndrome, but according to experts, HPS is potentially deadly.

Murine Typhus

If you think that only dogs, buffalos, and the likes have fleas, then you are wrong. Rats have fleas too, and these rat's commensals can transmit a disease to humans known as murine typhus. This disease is caused by an infection of R. typhi. In humid, tropical countries, rats that are infested with fleas can be found whole year round. In contrast, in temperate places, flea-infested rats are common only during warm summer season. So beware of rats, especially during hot temperatures, because they may carry in them fleas.

Now that we are already acquainted with the diseases that can be transmitted to us by rats, it is very helpful to be cautious about our environment. We must make sure that we are living in a rat-free household. Do not wait for infections to occur before taking actions for the reason that it might be too late.

Another Vision on Rat Vision (Part II)

Most tests on the different drugs and treatments designed for the human eye are performed using laboratory rats because of one reason; their eyes are very similar to that of a human. Both eyes have two different types of light receptors, namely, cones and rods. Cones are most sensitive to the different colors in the light spectrum while the rods are most capable of identifying the intensity of light. Although the retinas of a human's eye differ from that of a rat, in terms of the mechanisms as to how it identifies color, they are technically just the same.

Retinal Color Vision

The main difference between a human's eye and a rat's eye is the number of cones presents in their retinas -- this also sets the limitation of the kinds of colors that each of them can see. Rats are dichromatic, which means that they have two types of color cones, while humans are trichromatic implying that we have three color cones. Rats can only see the short "blue-IV" light wave and the middle-length "green" light wave; human can see long (red), middle-lengthen (green) and short (blue) light waves. Nonetheless, despite their obvious disadvantage when it comes to seeing a lot of colors, rat vision is still "more advanced" than that of human's because of one thing: they can see ultraviolet light waves and some of the other colors that the human eye can't see.

How Rats Perceive Colors?

Two facts need to be clear when studying rat color vision, that the rat's retina is extra sensitive:

1. To green light waves
2. To blue-ultraviolet rays

Having known these, we can now deduce that rats can indeed "see" colors. But how do rats distinguish between these colors? For some time in the past, people believed that rats are completely colour-blind, it was only in 2001 that scientists were able to find out that the rat's retina can distinguish between the visible light (or that which humans can see) and the ultra-violet rays (which humans can't see).

While it is almost impossible for humans to imagine how a rat's vision looks like, with the aid of computers and simulation software utilities, scientists are able to conclude that rats see from a "neutral" point area that is most sensitive to the blue-green hue; because of their visual limitations, rats will not be able to distinguish between blue and green.

Nonetheless, the limitations of a rat's vision caused by its lack of cones are heavily compensated by its rods. 99% of their retina is composed of rods; this is the reason why rats are extra sensitive to lighting intensity -- something which serves the rats interests best. The unique foraging behaviour of rats requires them to be sensitive to even the slightest change in the light intensity around them. This fact is further supported by rat trainers who can attest that training rats to identify between colors is much more difficult that teaching them to differentiate brightness.

Why Do Rats Need Ultraviolet Vision?

Since humans do not see ultraviolet light, it is not easy for us to point out how the ability to see it can help the rats. Some of the possible reasons might be:

1. Tracing of Urine Marks - Scientists are most inclined to take this possibility more seriously. Because rats are highly territorial animals, it is really of great help if they can "see" the marks that their fellows leave behind to identify their territorial boundaries. However, one thing is problematic about this possibility -- predators also see urine marks, thus, it is still questionable if rats would really intentionally leave marks which their predators can follow.

2. Identifying body parts - It was found out that some of the rat's body parts reflect more ultra-violet light than the rest. Thus, rats would be able to "see" their fellow rats better because of their ultraviolet-vision capability.

Nice To Know Facts About Rats

Rats are rodents that are larger than mice, and have a long, thin tail. Commonly, rats are mistaken to be big mice, but these rodents greatly differ from each other. Just by the naked eye, they may look the same, but careful assessment of their appearance and genetics would tell that they vary from each other. As I scanned further on literature, I have known quite several fun facts about rats. I will list it all here, and for sure you'll be amazed of what you will find out.

Rats in Different Cultures

• In India, rats are believed to be the vehicle of their God, Ganesha. In the temple of the Hindu goddess, Karni Mata, there lived thousands of rats. Aside from its name, Temple of Deshnoke, this temple is also called the "temple of rats". In here, they feed the rats well, and even eat the rats' leftovers because they believe that it is a blessing from God. Also, if you happen to kill a rat, you must replace it with a golden rat statue.
• In China, rat symbolizes prosperity and astuteness.  The rat is the first symbol among the 12-year cycle Chinese Zodiac.
• During the Mayan civilization and ancient Egypt, rats were being worshiped.
• In ancient Rome, Romans regarded the rat as a sign of good luck.

Rat's Physicality

• Rats have glands on the sole of their feet so they can leave a scented wet trail in their way. Through this, it will be easy for them to go back from where they come from.
• Rats have long, thin tails which made them very keen when it comes to balance. That is why, rats are very good climbers. Also, rats use their tail to regulate temperature and to communicate.
• Rats don't have thumbs, tonsils, gallbladder, and canine teeth, but they have bellybuttons.
Rats have poor vision. They cannot see well in colors. To adjust to this, they tend to move their gaze from side to side to create motion and see better.

Rat’s Abilities

• Rats are very good swimmers. It can swim for about three days without drowning.
• Rats are among the most curious and intelligent creature on earth.
• Rats can be very social animal when trained and kept away from its kind.
• Rats can be trained easily.
• Generally, rats are nocturnal. It is active during twilight or dusk.
• If you think rats gnaw on wood and wires only, then you are wrong because rats can in fact nibble through metal and concrete according to one literature that I have read.
• Rats are very intelligent. It is very hard to trap or poison them because they don't right away get near in an unfamiliar thing, or if they find the food not good, they will not eat it again.

Fun to Know

• Rats can mate as fast as two seconds.
• A group of rats is called pack or mischief.
• Rats can eat animals that are smaller than they are.
Rats can be very good pets. Female rats are more playful, so the most preferred pet by people is the male rat because it is more attentive and easy to be trained.
• You cannot get rabies from rats.
• Rats are very famous in television. They have appeared in movies and series for hundreds of times already.
Parent female rats are called dams, while the female rats alone are called does.
Male rats are called bucks.
Baby rats are also called kittens or pups.

It is always nice to know more about the things in our environment. It increases our awareness with regards to their existence. Now, because we have known about rats more, perhaps it will be helpful if we will get away with it in a nice and humane way. There are those who find them as blessings, so if you are one of those who are disgusted by them, better think of respecting others and the rights of rats to coexist with the ecosystem. 

Giving Over-the-counter Drugs to Pet Rats

It has been a common practice among rat owners to give their pets over-the-counter drugs like Ibuprofen and Metacam whenever they exhibit some forms of illnesses which both drugs are known to help humans in relieving their pains. So far, there are no reports about these drugs endangering the lives of these pets; in fact, the use of these drugs to "treat" lethargy and muscle pains has already become very established that even some veterinarians use them.

Giving Pet Rats Ibuprofen

In itself, Ibuprofen is a pain killer. It is classified as a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory (NSAID) drug, which is considered to be more effective than aspirin and acetaminophen. However, this drug also has its side-effects. Repeated use of Ibuprofen can lead to bleeding and perforation of the linings inside your pet's stomach. Since this drug can interfere with blood clotting whenever it is active within the pet rat's body, it is very possible for the drug to inhibit your pet's body to "heal" its own, thus, ulceration is very likely to happen whenever your rat's stomach would experience trauma.

Apart from bleeding, the drug can also lead to poor fluid retention in the kidneys which is very dangerous for elderly rats because their organs are already very weak. The drug should be dispensed 2-4 times a day only, at 15 mg/lb. for each dose. For less severe problems like analgesia and inflammation, it is safe to give the rat lower dosages.

Of course, just like kids, rats are also picky with bitter tablets. In order to make the rat takes the drug, you can either crush it up and mix it with its food or mix it with sweetened fluid; you can also try out baby formulas of ibuprofen, as these are usually sweet to the taste. Just make sure that the baby formula does not contain Sorbitol, or at least in formulation where it is listed as an inactive ingredient. Sorbitol is an artificial sweetener which is usually very palatable to humans but is hated by rats. In general, rats like Motrin (an artificial sweetener). However, if you don't have access to baby formula Ibuprofen, you will have no other choice but to choose between Ibuprofen capsules and tablets.

If you have not consulted a veterinarian and decided to figure out how much Ibuprofen you are willing to give your rat, you might as well want to check on the bottle or package of the drug to see how much mg/lb. can be given based on the rat's weight. It is always a good idea to give your rat a treat after giving it the medication as this can cover the aftertaste of Ibuprofen inside the rat's mouth, which might "traumatize" the rat and convince it refuse the drug in the future.

Giving Pet Rats Metacam

Many veterinarians prescribe low dosages of Metacam to rats. Just like Ibuprofen, Metacam is also an NSAID. Thus, these two drugs basically have the same effects on the rat. Metacam is usually dispensed as a liquid drug, making it the best choice for veterinarians to give to dogs since these pets do not really digest NSAID drugs. For rats, the best dosage is 60 mg/lb. which should be given2 to 4 times a day. Metacam is usually given to rats experiencing severe pain problems.
Conclusion on Drug Dispensing

As much as possible, ask for a veterinarian's assistance in determining which drug is best suited for your pet rats; giving random drugs to your pet might only result to unwanted side-effects which might just harm your per more.

Rat Damages in Cars

You might have heard of the many popular myths about rodents such as hamsters speeding up on an exercise wheel to power up various engines, but you should know that the presence of rodents inside car engines in not purely mythical in nature. There have been instances when rats and mice are found to forage or live inside the engine compartments of various cars. Unfortunately, this residency can be costly; some rats would end up nibbling through the electrical wiring inside the engine, others would mess up by leaving behind their droppings or by urinating into the electric components of the engine. No matter how amusing it is to know that a rat is able to find peace inside a hot and noisy engine, the owner should still be moved to get rid of the rodents before worse things happen -- break mishaps due to cut-off electrical wires and things like that.

How Do They Get In Anyway?

Of course, it is quite difficult to imagine how the rats are able to enter the engine compartment in the first place, yet it does not mean that it's impossible. True enough, it is very rare for frequently used cars to have rat infestation problems; this means that the most susceptible cars are those which have been left unused for some time already. If these "rarely used" cars are kept in a garage where rats and mice are most likely to live, it is then very possible for the rodents to have "discovered" of the engine compartments and found it adequately warm and "secluded" -- of the main factors which rats consider in choosing the location of their nests. Thus, rat infestation has nothing to do with the "newness" of the car's model or whether it is a sport's car or not; the pivotal thing that invites rats to enter the engine compartments is opportunity; and, opportunity is at its peak when the car is left alone for a couple of days or weeks.

Nonetheless, apart from being a cozy place to live, rats also "attack" engines primarily because of the electrical wiring inside it. A research study showed that rats are more inclined to chew the plastic insulation material used in the wiring inside a car's engine over other wire insulating materials; this led to a theory that rats might have developed a sense of appetite for the material used to manufacture the insulation. Now, if this is true, then obviously, rat damage inside cars is just too costly! Unfortunately, rats have these unique inclinations to return to places where they have once foraged. Thus, if the owner of the car is not careful, the rats might simply just return after eradicating the ones being caught in action.

How Extensive Is Rat Damage In Cars?

Many car service providers across the country can attest to how much damage can rats really do inside cars. For some weird coincidence, many of these reported cases involve rats chewing one specific wire attached to the car engine -- that is despite the fact that rats are actually color blind. Some records even cited out a rat building a nest made of a broom head (the rat managed to drag the broom head inside the engine compartment and secure it in between two pipes) and a rat gnawing through two large tubes which it used to support its nest between them. Beyond the damages that rats can do to the cars themselves is the fact that any damage to one's car can be enough to cause road accidents which can scare, injure or kill people.

Road Vehicles and Rats

Because of obvious reasons, road vehicles are often the most vulnerable ones when it comes to rat infestation. RVs are usually driven to woods, lakes and parks where they get to be parked for a couple of hours (some cars are even parked for days); these are not the cars that we see traversing on city streets on a daily basis, in fact, most RVs are only used during vacations and holidays -- during the other days, these vehicles are inside garages. These things make it easier for rats to get into the car and build their nests inside. Through their instinctive gnawing behaviour, they will be able to find a way to penetrate into the car. Once inside, there will most likely:

• chew on the cushions of the car seats
• gnaw the electrical wires inside the engine compartment of the car
pee on the electronic components of the car
• damage the hoses that carry the fluids throughout the car's engine and cooling system
• build their nests under the car's hood, where the air filters are located
• use the insulation installed for the compartments under the hood as the bedding of their nest

Car owners should not, in a way, underestimate the capabilities of rats. Unlike humans, they do not require weeks to transfer residences; in fact, these rodents will be able to build a complete nest inside your car's engine compartments and move-in along with its family. Thus, leaving behind your car on the streets and in some other places where rats are most likely to be abundant is definitely one of the surest ways to invite rats in.

Common Signs of Rat Infestation in Cars

While some rats make their presence very obvious by running around (frightening the passengers and the driver) the car's floor, others are very good at making their presence covert. Sometimes, owners would only realize that an infestation is already taking place the moment one of the rats die and produce a very foul smell through. Thus, it is very helpful is the owner would find the time to inspect the compartments inside the car to make sure that it is rat-free. For example, he/she can check through the electrical wiring attached to the car's engine and see if there are any rat bite marks on them. The sooner that an infestation is discovered, the better it is for the car owner. Who knows, apart from the damages that they can make, they [rats] might also compromise the driver's life by nibbling through the wires and tubes necessary for braking.

Preventive Measures

Knowing that rat infestation in cars can be a little bit too costly when it comes to repairs; it is wise for car owners to simply do measures that will prevent an infestation in the very first place. The owners of the cars can be creative in their own ways as to how they are to go about the preventive measures, but to those who need a little inspiration, the tips below can help:

1. Do not park the car in places that can be penetrated by rats.
2. Leaving the car's hood up will discourage the rats from getting in. Contrary to what seems to be obvious (that when it is up, the more possibility it is for rats to get inside), rats do not like to be in open areas where they would feel insecure.
3. Keep the garage well-lighted. If you already understand how a rat's mind works, you will see that they do not like areas where their presence is "exposed".

First-Aid Treatments for Rats with Respiration Problems

While it is not a lovely sight to see a human being resuscitating a rat through its pointed mouth, it is a fact that pet rat owners actually devote time to learn how to do first-aid treatments to their pets.

On Respiratory Distress

Who says only humans can have unstable respiratory conditions? Rats, whether they have respiration-related diseases in the past or not, are very prone to sudden respiratory distresses. Rats "tell" their owners that they are in need of air by opening up their pointy mouths up in the air -- as if they are gasping. Some rats would dash around the cage out of panic while other would produce the sound of laboured breathing. While these problems usually do not last long, pet rat owners should still pay particular attention to it because in such a short span of time, it can also suffocate the rodents to death. Thus, it is in the best interest of the pet owner to address the problem right away.

The easiest way to help the rat out is to let the rat breathe air of very high humidity; you can use a humidifier for this purpose, but if you can't find a humidifier at hand, simply escort your rat to the bathroom while you keep the shower running -- the shower (especially when it is lukewarm) will make the air inside the bathroom misty. Moreover, if these two methods do not suit you, you can always just boil some water on your stove and cradle your rat close to the steam that it produces. But remember, hot steam can burn your rat's lungs; thus, keep your rat a little bit distant from the stove (2-3 feet will definitely do).

If the above-mentioned first-aid treatments do not work, try to see if something is obstructing your rat's breathing passage; it may be mucus or some other foreign bodies. If that is the case, then your pet's condition is not really a respiratory distress, rather, it is another case of choking. To see how choking is supposed to be treated, see my other article entitled "First-aid Treatments for Choking Rats". Nonetheless, if the methods above do not work and after inspection, you figured out that nothing is obstructing your pet's breathing passage, then the problem might be something that is more serious. It's either you pet has asthma or other illnesses that restrict the respiratory system to let air in and out of the lungs. If this is the case (and if you love your rat too much that you can't just dispose of it), you might need to purchase a bronchodilator. Such products are meant to be maintenance drugs, thus, it is not wise to really keep a pet that requires as much maintenance as an asthmatic rat.

Anyway, if you are still very serious about "saving" your pet rat, you can try subjecting your rat to subcutaneous aminophylline injections. This drug is powerful enough to force your rat's air passageway to expand, thus allowing air to get in and out of the lungs once again. This drug is also used for humans experiencing the same problem. If the rat's air passageways are inflamed, the drug can also be used alongside dexamethasone. Asthma inhalers coupled with Ibuprofen (120mg) tablets can also work if both aminophylline and dexamethasone are not available.

Lastly, if none of these treatments work, the last possible resort is to force oxygen into your rat's lungs. You might need to rush to an animal clinic for the oxygen mask and tank. If the rat's condition does not improve even after giving it oxygen, as the owner, you will be left with two choices:

1. To euthanize the rat

2. To wait if the medications worked or not.
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