Rats and mice are both examples of pests that are vectors for diseases. Rats specifically were known in the middle ages in Europe for spreading the bubonic plague (“black death”) and were responsible for wiping out 25% of the population. They also spread other diseases such as Murine-typhus fever, which can be transmitted by rat to man via the rat flea). Leptospirosis is also another disease humans can pick up from rats and it is when humans have direct contact with infected urine or rodents themselves. Lastly, they can also spread salmonellosis by contaminating the food we eat by rat faeces. Although rat bites aren’t a disease, they can become infected very quickly because of the vast amount of bacteria in a rat’s mouth.
Rats are also well known for their gnawing in order to keep their teeth in shape. Their daily hunger is what allows us to pick up on their daily activities. They are always looking for food to bring back to their nests, especially when they have rat babies. There are two main types of rats – the Norwegian rat and the roof rat. The Norwegian rat or the brown rat usually feed on meats whereas the roof rat feeds on vegetables. The most common are usually the roof rats as they gain easy access through small openings in buildings or homes. If one hears rats in the day time, it indicates that there is generally a heavy infestation as they are usually active at night.