Rats may not be your favourite animal, unless you have one as a pet. In fact, many people are scared of rats. This particular pest makes them shudder and cringe. Just the thought of a rat being anywhere near your home or office may make you scared. In spite of rats bad reputations, they are actually quite interesting creatures. Not convinced? Check out our top 10 facts about rats that will surprise you.
Top 10 Facts About Rats
1 – Rats Can Swim
The first up in our list of facts about rats – rats can swim. They would actually give Michael Phelps a run for his money. Certain species of rats can also tread water for up to three days. They can also hold their breath for three minutes. There are also other species of rat that can swim for over a mile. So those stories about rats popping up in the toilet are no urban myths. Rats will easily make their way up a drainpipe into your drains and plumbing. What a weird fact about rats!
2 – Some Cultures Worship Rats
Another fact about rats is that in some cultures, they are worshipped. A temple in northwest India, dedicated to the goddess Karni Mata, is home to more than 15,000 rats. All of these rodents are protected and worshipped. They even have devotees of the temple, who believe that when they die, they will be reincarnated as a rat.
3 – Rats Use Their Tails To Keep Them Cool
A great fact about rats – they don’t sweat like humans. Nor do they pant like a dog to relieve heat. So rats have to control their body temperature another way. They do this by expanding and contracting the blood vessels in their long tails.
4 – A Rat’s Teeth Will Never Stop Growing
Next up on the list of surprising facts about rats. Rats are often known for gnawing on everything, and there’s a good reason for this. A rat’s teeth will grow up to 5 inches every year. So they have to chew on things to wear them down. As well as wood, rats will also chew their way through lead, cinder blocks and aluminium sheets.
5 – There Are A Lot Of Different Rat Species
The most normal species of rat we encounter in the UK is the Norway rat (or the brown rat). But there are also pack rats, roof rats and black rats. It may come as a surprise to you that there are in fact 56 known species of rats in the world.
6 – Some Rats Can Grow To Large Sizes
You may have seen some pretty big rats out there rummaging through your bins. But the rats we see in the UK’s capital are a lot smaller compared to some of their giant rodent relatives. For example, the Sumatran bamboo rat can weigh up to 8.8 pounds and measure 20 inches in total length. To put that in comparison, that’s about the size of a housecat.
7 – Rats Are Very Good At Breeding
One of the most known facts about rats is that they breed incredibly quickly. A female rat can have babies every three weeks. And each litter normally contains around 6-10 pups. These pups then become sexually mature within three to four months. This means they can begin spawning very quickly, expanding their brood.
8 – Rats Love To Be Social
Rats like to live in communities. They will groom each other, sleep together and even play. However, they can be very territorial. This means they can turn aggressive when unfamiliar rats are around. Another fun fact – a group of rats is called a mischief.
9 – Rats Carry Germs That Spread Dangerous Diseases
Everyone knows that rats are dirty. They carry pathogens, which spread diseases to us and have bad consequences. In fact, rats and mice can spread over 35 diseases. They have also been responsible for many different illness outbreak – including one of monkey pox back in 2003.
10 – Rats Know How To Laugh
Rats love to play. And when they do they experience a type of social joy, and make noises to communicate. This then results in what sounds like a laugh. A researcher called Jaak Panksepp found out about chuckling rats. Now it’s not a full fledged belly laugh like you’d hear from a human. Instead, it’s more of a high-pitched chirping noise.
Now that you know some of these surprising facts about rats, you may see why some people like to keep them as pets. However, that doesn’t mean you want to have them roaming free in your home or business. That’s why it is so important to invest in proper rodent pest control for residential or commercial properties. This will protect your building from damage done by rats, and protects your family or staff from the illnesses they can carry.