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The Rat has to be amongst one of the most successful mammals on the planet, as human civilization has advanced the Rat has advanced with it, living along side man and exploiting almost every opportunity along the way. There are two main species of Rat in the UK The Norway Rat (Rattus Norvegicus) and The Ship Rat (Rattus Rattus) the Norway Rat being the most common of the two can be found in towns, cities and agricultural environments if their supply of food and water is plentiful they can reproduce at a rapid rate, the gestation period being about 23 days and the young are fully weaned at 3-4 weeks, becoming sexually mature at 12-16 weeks., The reproductive life cycle of the ship rat is very similar.
Rats can feed on a wide variety of organic materials and have even been known to eat such things as soap, glue, putty & plaster board. As a rodent the Rat has to continually gnaw materials in order to keep their incisors sharp and short, this need can result in considerable damage to property, Rats are responsible for 50% of all farm fires in the UK as a result of chewed electrical wiring.
The main methods employed to control Rats are the deployment of anti coagulants, because most Rat problems are encountered out of doors, this limits the type of anticoagulants that can be used, these have to accumulate in the rodents body by continuous consumption and this will have an impact on the time scale of control.
The Norway Rat (Rattus Norvegicus)
The Ship Rat (Rattus Rattus)