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The Rattus Rattus rat is known by many different names such as the roof and ship rat, but the most common name in the black rat. These rodents grow up to 20 centimetres (8 inches) in length with another 20 centimetres tail length, meaning a full grown adult black rat being 40 centimetres long. The black rat is not as common as the brown rat, but can still cause devastation and disease wherever they can be found. Black rats can live for up to three years, are nocturnal creatures, and are omnivores, preferring fruit and grains. They originated in Asia and like many other insects, arachnids, and biting creatures have spread through Europe and America by being transported on cargo vessels.
Black rats carry diseases which are extremely harmful to humans, especially in very young children and the elderly. Without prevention and control the black rat population would explode and every home would be inundated with 40-centimetre long disease-carrying vermin. Black rats carry typhus and Weil’s disease also known as leptospirosis, as well as a multitude of disease-carrying germs and fleas. Weil’s disease attacks the spleen, causing it to swell creating severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and many other medical issues, and there are no vaccines for this disease. The fleas on the Rattus rattus carry the bubonic plague, and an infestation of the roof rat should be dealt with by professional pest control services.
Female black rats can reproduce at an alarming rate, giving birth to litters of 10 nearly every two months. Social groups or colonies of black rats can easily be formed with up to sixty roof rats living in the same condensed area creating a hazardous and potentially lethal situation. Once a colony is established the breeding becomes erratic with thousands of rat litters being born over a short space of time. A colony of roof rats in a small area is classed as a large infestation, thousands of rats would be called a catastrophe causing possible outbreaks of typhus and cases of the plague. On average two people, a year die and thousands more are taken seriously ill from diseases from rat urine, which can even be found dried on top of tin cans which is why cooks always clean the top of a tin can before they open it. This disease is named Epidemic Arthritic Erythema, and it kills, it can be received through urine, faeces, and rat bites.
Climate change across the globe are increasing the black rat breeding patterns, as the black rat is normally located in warmer climates. A professional pest control company is the most efficient method of dealing with a black rat infestation. Black rats are not all black and can vary in colours and shades and are occasionally mistaken for the common sewer rat which is brown. Rat baiting and trapping are popular, tried, and tested methods of prevention and control of the rodent populations. Rat bait is placed near to or in rat holes or rat runs where the vermin usually travel and are a poison which kills the rat stopping breeding cycles and decreasing the population.
Roof rat trapping can involve the rodent being caught alive and taken far away to either be let loose or to be disposed of in the correct manner. The black rat is very seldom kept as a pet and is classed as pests by agricultural departments because of the vast damaged they cause to crops. Medically they are classed as a potential threat to humanity, dogs, and cats as well as other household pets through the diseases they inflict on them and humans.