Rats do not hibernate. In fact, they are quite active during winter. Hibernation is a method for many animals, from bears to bats, to survive the cold weather of winter. Without needing to migrate to warmer temperatures or trying to find food in difficult cold conditions, hibernating animals have evolved to be able to dial down their metabolism in order to survive winter.

How Do Rats Survive Through the Winter

Rats need a warm environment with easy access to food and water to survive through the winter months. By the time snow starts to fall in the northern part of the country, if rats haven’t found a place to winter over, they will begin to die.

Because rats are ill-equipped for winter, they head for the warmth of manmade spaces. In residential areas, they build nests in your attic, chimney, walls, and basements. In more rural areas, barns and sheds are popular places for rat nests. They like dark places that are safe from predators and humans.

All About Rats

Rats are agile animals that can climb and jump easily. They can fit through a space as tiny as the diameter of a pen, so any small gaps in your foundation, windows, and doors become an invitation for them to make your home their home.

Rats are nocturnal and live together in family groups. Once within your home, they dig and gnaw extensive tunnel systems, within which they build chambers for storing food and their nests. Their tunnels lead to and from the food sources in your home. In the process of gnawing and digging, they cause serious damage to your house by tearing insulation to build their nests, gnawing on wood and electrical wires, and contaminating food and animal feed.

Rats are active year-round, especially when living indoors. Just one pair of rats can produce between 800 to 1000 offspring each year. And, since their young become sexually active at two to four months old, you can imagine how quickly a serious infestation can grow.

What to Do When Rats Are in Your Home

Rats leave behind telltale signs that are quite clear:

  • Feces on countertops, in drawers, underneath the sink, and inside pantries that are larger than those of their mice counterparts
  • Scampering noises within your walls at night
  • Gnaw marks on walls, cabinet doors, around electrical sockets, and on cardboard boxes of food such as pasta or rice
  • Black oily smudge marks made up of oil and filth that rats leave behind as they run alongside walls and baseboards.
  • Strange dog behavior, such as staring at a wall, barking or whimpering at a wall or the underside of the refrigerator
  • The distinct musky smell of rat urine

A homeowner can take steps to make a house less attractive to rodents, such as sealing all gaps in your home, including where pipes and wires are and covering vents with mesh, keeping all crumbs off counters and out of pantries, fixing any water leaks, and maintaining a yard clear of debris. However, when temperatures begin to drop in the fall, rats will often find their way in, especially in northern states where the climate can be lethal to them. Once inside, and because they are prolific breeders, it is imperative to call Critter Control so we can eradicate the rats before they inflict costly damage or put your house at risk of an electrical fire.

Critter Control’s expertly trained wildlife specialists will assess your situation, create and implement an eradication plan, institute exclusionary techniques to help prevent a future infestation, and restore your home to its original state.

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