Tips for keeping rats out of home and garden | 10/17/2018 | Staff
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Seeing rats in the backyard or, worse yet, in the house, can send people into panic mode, and for good reason.

"There are definite social norms that say if you have rodents living near you it's associated with dirtiness, garbage and waste products," said Dana Sanchez, wildlife specialist for Oregon State University Extension Service. "There's a reticence to admitting to seeing rats or talking about them because there's a fear of public shaming. That works to the rats' advantage because people aren't finding cooperative solutions to a collective problem."

Disease - Incentive - Repugnance - People - Rats

Disease is an even greater incentive for the repugnance people feel toward rats. They can spread the bacteria that causes the bubonic plague, which killed millions during the 14th century but is very rarely found today. Other less serious diseases are also attributed to rats, all of which lead to a healthy fear.

Rats—non-native black (Rattus rattus) and brown (Rattus norvegicus) – are drawn to any sort of outside food sources such as pet food, chicken food, bird seed and kitchen scraps in compost piles. Even compost without kitchen scraps provides insects that rats consume, unless the pile is kept hot enough to kill them. If rats get inside the house, they'll dine on whatever food they find there and look for places to nest and reproduce.

Species - Time - Presence - Humans - Sanchez

"Both species are very opportunistic and have an easy time adapting to living in the presence of humans," Sanchez said.

You can identify the two rats, if you want to, by color and size. Black rats weigh in at 4½ ounces and grow up to 5 to 6 inches long; adult brown rats weigh 9 to 10 ounces and reach up to 16 inches.

Rats - Sanchez - Neighbors - Share - Information

To help control rats, Sanchez said neighbors should work together to share information and help keep areas clean. Finding collaborative solutions includes working to come up...
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