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Rats are of the rattus species. They are a familiar pest, distributed worldwide and infesting both well-maintained and rundown residences in both rural and urban areas.

Signs of rat infestation are droppings, or gnawed areas on doors, baseboards, kitchen cabinets, mouldings or other such areas. You may also find books, fabrics, furniture and other such objects to be shredded or chewed and left in piles. Packages of food may be gnawed open or have droppings in them or may simply have the contents eaten. Rats will enter the home through any opening including toilets, so can become quite problematic.

Rats build nests out of gnawed clothing and other items and are most active at night when they leave their nests to forage for food and nesting materials. Rats can be quite agile and can run up almost any vertical surface and also are capable of swimming. They breed in heavy vegitation as well as other moist conditions, and their long front teeth grow continually. In order to keep their teeth warm down, rats will gnaw on just about anything, even electrical wires. The rats feed primarily on cereal grains, but will also forage and consume butter, meat, fats, sweets and nuts. They have been known to bite humans, especially sleeping infants. Bites can be very dangerous and immediate medical attention should be sought.

Rodenticides of the new generation, such as cholecalciferol, which is the vitamin D-3, mixed in with bait of cereal grains can often be very effective. This bait is safer to use around your domestic animals such as housecats and dogs than the anticoagulant baits. Still, it is best to keep the packets of bait in an area safe from accidental ingestion by children or house pets. Place rat traps which are baited in areas you have found gnawed, chewed, or with piles of nesting debris. Check traps daily, and make sure that you wear gloves. Make sure that you are using rat traps as the smaller mouse traps will be ineffective. In addition to bites from rat parasites, fleas and mites, rats can spread parasites and various disease through contact with their bite, or even droppings or urine. If you are bitten, or someone in your home is, seek immediate medical attention. Even a small bite from a rat can become quickly infected and dangerous. If you are unable to eliminate the rats on your own, you may wish to consult a professional exterminator.