24 Sep The Brown Rat – One of the World’s Most Successful Mammals
Drains and sewers are not something that many of us think much about, and even fewer people really get to look inside these mysterious underground waste caverns. Only people like this CCTV Drain Survey Cheltenham based company https://drainawayenviro.co.uk/services/drainage-solutions/cctv-drain-camera-surveys/ would really be able to have a good look inside the drain. But one creature that is no stranger to the drains and has been living alongside humans for thousands of years very successfully is the rat.
Rats are rodents – rodents are the largest group of mammals on the planet and even within the group there is a lot of diversity. Something that has made rodents so successful is their adaptability. The rats that live amongst us – and they really do as the old saying goes you are never more than six feet away from a rat – are brown rats.
Despite the fact that they have a less than pleasant reputation and are often associated with horror films, disease and dirty places, they don’t really cause many problems for humans and most of us wouldn’t even know they were around usually. They eat more or less anything – from meat to eggs to vegetables, which is why areas where human food waste is abundant will attract them.
They are also prolific breeders – another thing which contributes to their success and helps them to keep their numbers high. A female rat is able to produce young from the age of just three months old and is also capable of giving birth to around five litters of babies (pups) per year, which is often over ten pups in total per litter. Even though a rat only lives for around 2 or 3 years, that is a lot of rats that they have produced in that time!
Brown rats haven’t always lived in the UK. They arrived here around the 1700s, as humans started to travel and explore other parts of the world. They originated in Asia, but found excellent homes on board the boats, which were full of food, and travelled to ports around the world, including the UK where they quickly adapted to their environment and set up home.
Although in most cases they are not problematic to humans and can easily live alongside people unnoticed they do sometimes cause problems which it is important to look out for. Structural damage is one of the most complained about problems caused by rats – as they have a habit of gnawing through things that are incredibly tough, they can destroy parts of buildings, roof and even eat their way through pipes which can cause problems that could be dangerous in some cases – such as if a gas pipe were damaged.
In the garden they can also cause problems if you are a keen gardener – they can damage roots and bulbs, as well as fences and sheds, so keep an eye out for signs of damage and if you are unsure try to put some human traps out to see if you do have some visitors!