How to get rid of rats. Rats are the most successful of all the world's pest animal species. They live in association with humans, scavenging on our waste and living in our homes. Rats are vectors of disease.
There are three species of rat in New Zealand. The brown rat or Norwegian rat (Rattus norvegicus) the black rat or ship rat (Rattus rattus) and the kiore or pacific rat (Rattus exulans). The black rat is the more commonly encountered rat pest. However, the norwegian rat is increasingly common particularly in urban areas and may come to displace the black rat as it has done in the other parts of the world. It is sometimes difficult to identify which species you might have. Even a young rat can easily be mis identified as a mouse. If you want to know which species you have an infestation of try the ID Table.
The head and body of a Norwegian Rat can be up to 30cm but is normally around 20cm. The tail is usually shorter than the head and body, an adult can weigh up to half a Kilogramme, it has grey-brown fur and is lighter on the underside. Their droppings are 15-20mm long, coloured usually grey or black. The Norwegian Rat will build nests in any suitable enclosed, safe space but naturally digs burrows into the banks of rivers. It will often nest in the walls and roof voids of homes and other buildings.
The black rat is smaller and more agile than the norwegian. The tail is usually longer than the body and head. It is a better climber than the norwegian and often finds its way into buildings via poorly sealed eaves. New Zealand buildings are susceptible to infestation by black rats because of gaps under roofing in the eaves. Rats may find their way onto the roof by climbing overhanging trees. The Black Rat does not build burrows and will nest in trees or in the voids of homes and other buildings.
Other signs of rodents include hearing noises from the roof void or walls. There may be other causes. Read this article for help in identifying the cause of such sounds.
How to Get Rid of Rats
Rodent pests (rats and mice) in New Zealand carry and transmit disease to humans. The transmission of disease from animals to humans is known as zoonosis.
Leptospirosis: Leptospira interrogans
In humans, Leptospirosis (aka Weil's disease) can cause a wide range of symptoms, including:
Many of these symptoms can be mistaken for other diseases. In addition, some infected persons may have no symptoms at all.
How the disease spreads:
Salmonellosis: Salmonella typhimurium and Salmonella bovis-morblficans
Most persons infected with Salmonella develop:
How the disease spreads:
The Black Death, otherwise known as the plague, ravaged Europe and Asia between the 14th and 17th centuries killing hundreds of millions of people. It was the black rat that transported the fleas infected with the bacterium Yersinia pestis. The fleas fed on the blood of the rats and of the people that they came in contact with, spreading the disease as they sucked. Other diseases that rats are known to transmit through their activities include Murine typhus transmitted by rat fleas.
Always wer gloves and a dust mask when entering places where rodents travel such as roof voids and sub-floors and wash hands afterwards.
The species of rodent (rats and mice) found in New Zealand are:
*Kiore are rare and now found only in Fiordland, Stewart Island and some offshore islands. They were brought to New Zealand by Maori settlers and have cultural and spiritual importance to Maori.
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