Tag Archives: Norway Rat

Keeping household pests as pets

Rats, cockroaches, ants and wasps might be household pests to many of us, but to a group of enthusiasts, they are liked, if not loved, as pets.

Perhaps the easiest pest pet to relate to is the rat. In the wild, these rodents are dark, dirty and riddled with germs. But varieties have been bred which, to some, are attractive to look at and can be taught some simple behaviours.

The Norway rat is a pest across the whole of the UK, and indeed much of the world. Highly adaptable and quite intelligent, it often lives off the waste that we humans create. Rats are extremely social animals, preferring to live in colonies where they also breed very quickly.

It’s the intelligence and social qualities of rats which some believe make them ideal as pets. They can be friendly animals, responding well to attention, and enjoying the company of their owners.

But while they might be much cleaner than their wild relatives, they share the same traits. Rats can be extremely destructive, chewing their way through many materials. They’re also nocturnal, preferring to be active in darkness, and they don’t live for very long.

Insect pests can also be a form of pet

Cockroaches, ants and even wasps are bred in captivity, either by insect-lovers or as a source of food for other creatures.

This is sometimes the fate of cockroaches, which can be kept as live food for reptiles. Cockroaches are chosen because they are very easy to breed and will eat almost anything.

Not all species of cockroach are thought of as a pest and some of the more exotic varieties are kept as pets in their own right. Madagascan hissing cockroaches are popular because they make a noise, while giant cockroaches make for a curiosity.

Every cockroach breeder, particularly those keeping the common German cockroach as reptile food, must take care that the creatures don’t escape. Outside a controlled environment, their rapid breeding cycle and adaptability can quickly create a pest control problem.

Ants and wasps as pets not pests

Many people are fascinated by the complex structures and societies built by social insects such as ants and wasps. As a result, some choose to keep them in captivity, to see how they live.

No insect display in a zoo seems complete without a colony of leaf-cutter ants, who slice up vegetation and carry impossibly large pieces back to their nest. Many ant farms kept in homes are less ambitious, with the highlight being the view of the complex web of tunnels, exposed by their being kept in slim glass-sided tanks.

Not surprisingly, keeping wasps as pets is much more unusual. It requires a lot of space and strong nerves, but these requirements don’t deter a dedicated bunch of enthusiasts. They venture out to find young nests in the spring, and relocate them to a purpose-built enclosure. Here the wasps have space to fly, and are supplied with a steady source of food.

Despite their captivity, the danger of these pets becoming pests never goes away. The creatures are always looking for food, and will exploit every opportunity to escape. It doesn’t take much for pet control to become pest control.

How common are Rats in houses in London?

Every few months sees a new story appear in the media about rats in houses in London. These tales can be worrying, particularly if you know that rats are a problem in your area. Unfortunately, rats can be a common issue in houses where the basic principles of pest prevention are overlooked.

The Norway rat, also known as the brown rat, lives all over London. They make their nests anywhere they can find, including old drains, in burrows or in buildings. They have an excellent sense of smell and they are always looking for food. Being extremely agile, they can climb, jump swim or dig their way into places where they think they will find something to eat.

Problems rats cause in houses

Rats are not just unpleasant to look at, they also damage property and carry disease. They can get into London houses of any age, although it’s usually easier for them to get into older properties. Broken pipes, gaps in brickwork and the spaces between floors and walls can all become real rat runs. Here the rodents can scurry out of sight, finding their way all over a house.

Out of sight in these places, rats can do considerable damage. They can chew through wood and electrical cables, as well as into containers, causing a variety of different problems. They also spread the germs that they carry.

The most common infection associated with rats is Weil’s disease, which is potentially fatal. They can also cause food poisoning by contaminating surfaces and stores with their droppings.

Rats have been known to bite people in houses. The rodents can be bold in their search for food and have sharp dirty teeth that they will use to defend themselves.

Signs of rats in houses

When rats are a common problem in a house, there will be no shortage of evidence. Even if the rodents themselves remain out of the sight, they will leave obvious signs of their presence, such as gnawed boxes of cereal and other foods, smeary marks on surfaces and footprints. They also leave a distinctive, unpleasant smell.

If you are concerned about rats getting into your house, take a look at all the possible entry points. Small gaps in the walls and old pipes are common ways for them to get in. A professional pest controller will have the experience to spot potential entry points, and will know the signs of rat activity.

Rats Pest Control in London houses

By taking a few simple precautions, you can dramatically reduce the chances of a rat getting into your house. The most basic is to make sure all sources of food are in sealed containers that rats cannot get into. It is the smell of food, including food waste, that attracts the attention of these unpleasant rodents. So keeping your house clean and not leaving food lying around, either for you or your pets, is a big step towards Rats Pest control.

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Rodent Bites Can Hurt More Than Your Pride

It’s bad enough being bitten by a rat. But it’s particularly humiliating and distressing to be bitten on the penis.

That’s what an American claimed to have endured recently, when he’d been locked up for a short spell in a rodent infested prison cell near New York. He said that the rat came out of a mattress and bit him twice, once once on his hand and once in a much more intimate location.

He was probably attacked by the extremely common Norwegian or Norway Rat, also known as the Brown Rat. These are the dirty, unpleasant rodents that thrive on the rubbish we too often leave around us. With their sharp teeth these sewer-loving vermin are a major pest control problem, gnawing through wood and thick plastics on their relentless search for something to devour.

The chances of being bitten by a rat are relatively low in Britain, if official statistics are to be believed. But rats aren’t the only pest that can attack with their teeth.

We were all shocked by the headlines, last June, which reported how an urban fox viciously injured twin baby girls as they slept in their Hackney home. More recently a female lawyer lost part of an ear to a fox in Fulham and woman from Sussex had the tip of a finger bitten off by one as she slept.

Other furred vermin, such as Grey Squirrels and Mice, can also inflict a nasty injury with their teeth. But quite aside from the shock and pain of being unexpectedly bitten, victims also risk catching something very unpleasant from their attackers.

The American man who suffered the unfortunate bite complained that he’d subsequently been forced to endure a series of injections to protect him from rabies. While British pests are highly unlikely to carry this disease, they can transmit a host of other potentially fatal conditions including Weil’s disease, salmonella and tuberculosis.

Anyone unlucky enough to be bitten by a Rodent or fox should get medical help. In 2007 a Sussex businessman died after he was bitten by a pet rat and ignored advice from NHS Direct, who told him to visit his doctor.

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