The brown rat is nocturnal and is a good swimmer, both on the surface and underwater, and has been observed climbing slim round metal poles several feet in order to reach garden bird feeders. Brown rats dig well, and often excavate extensive burrow systems.
Foraging behavior is often population-specific, and varies by environment and food source. The brown rat can breed throughout the year if conditions are suitable, with a female producing up to five litters a year. The gestation period is only 21 days, and litters can number up to 14, although seven is common. They reach sexual maturity in about five weeks. Under ideal conditions (for the rat), this means that the population of females could increase by a factor of three and a half (half a litter of 7) in 8 weeks (5 weeks for sexual maturity and 3 weeks of gestation), corresponding to a population growing by a factor of 10 in just 15 weeks. The maximum life span is three years, although most barely manage one. A yearly mortality rate of 95% is estimated, with predators and interspecies conflict as major causes.
Controlling rats inside a home can be difficult, a rat can chew through just about anything, and in the city of Chicago rats will often use sewer pipes to enter homes in times of heavy rains. Ingenuity, quality products, and good materials can keep rats on the outside. Traps will be the only tool used if rats are inside a home, using baits will only cause more problems. Baiting programs is the most effective way to control rat populations on the outside. Reducing the population of rats on the outside will relieve pressure to get inside a home or garage under normal circumstances. Their are multiple baits to use for getting different results , choosing the right one for you will make all the difference.
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