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How rats took over the planet

Abell Pest Control

If you're dealing with a rat problem in your home or business, you can take comfort in knowing you aren't alone with this issue. Rats are among the world's most successful pests, and since the age of exploration have managed to settle in every corner of the globe.

Pest removal specialists are necessary for eradicating these creatures because they are so well-adapted and persistent. Here's how rats conquered the globe and why they're so abundant.

The most successful stowaway

Native to the chilly regions of northern Asia, the brown rat has spread around the globe, from tropical beaches to the arctic tundra and from farmhouses to the city streets. Also known as the Norway rat, wharf rat or sewer rat, these pests now number in the billions worldwide.

These animals have long been adept at following human travelers for a chance at an easy meal. Rats traveling along the silk road helped carry the bubonic plague into Europe in the Middle Ages, and as colonists and explorers connected the world's civilizations, rats were quick to follow. As a result, these animals can be found in most major cities and even in some of the world's most remote islands. And it's the ability to harbor disease seemingly anywhere on earth that makes these pests so dangerous.

The New York Times reported that a recent study highlighted that rats continue to travel the world today. DNA sequencing from individual animals in New York City yielded strains from South America, Asia and the South Pacific.

Exercising powerful survival skills

While rats were able to spread across the earth with the help of human travelers, it was their own unique survival skills that really helped rats explode in population. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game found that rats are exceptional swimmers. An individual can swim in near freezing water for almost three days on end. To make matters worse, they can hold their breath for nearly 30 seconds. This means that rats can not only survive in the murky underbellies of a transoceanic ship but can even infest a home through a toilet or drainage pipe.

Aside from being tough little creatures, rats are also rather intelligent and good at problem solving. This gives them a unique ability to take advantage of human settlements even when food and shelter are seemingly unreachable.

Rats have another advantage in the form of a very fast life cycle. A female's gestation period is just a few weeks, and can result in a dozen or more pups. Because female rats can have up to five litters a year, populations can quickly balloon under the right conditions. In cities and towns with accessible food and a lack of predators, rats can become a serious nuisance in an unbelievably short period of time.

Unlike other animals, rats might not be turned away from simple pest prevention methods and require a more concerted effort. A professional expert is your best resource for keeping these pesky animals out of your home or business.


About the author:

Abell Pest Control is a family owned Canadian company dedicated to providing effective, professional and courteous service in pest management.Started in 1924 with one office, Abell now employs several hundred people with branch offices across Canada and the United States.

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