QUIZ: Is your residence rat-proofed for the winter?

When it gets cold and rainy, we humans bundle up and retreat to the indoors. Unfortunately, so do rats. Besides being unsightly, rats spread bacteria and viruses, and they can cause damage to buildings, houses and even vehicles. So, before you settle in for the season, make sure you’ve done what you can to keep rats away from where you live. Test your preparation skills below!

1.TRUE or FALSE: Rats hibernate in the winter, so they won’t bother you when the weather turns cold.
False.
Correct! Contrary to popular belief, rats do not hibernate when it gets cold. Instead, they look for warm, dry places to nest. In fact, we receive more calls during the winter than any other time of year. If your home isn’t protected, it could be very appealing to a rat looking for a comfy place to spend this dreary time of year.
True.
Wrong. Contrary to popular belief, rats do not hibernate when it gets cold. Instead, they look for warm, dry places to nest. In fact, we receive more calls during the winter than any other time of year. If your home isn’t protected, it could be very appealing to a rat looking for a comfy place to spend this dreary time of year.
2.TRUE or FALSE: Rats breed year-round, not just in the spring.
False.
Nope, they’re year-round breeders, and they’re looking for a comfy nest. The average gestation period for a litter of rats is 21-24 days. Pregnant rats will want to have their litter in a warm, dry place, so make sure your residence is not attractive to them.
True.
. Correct! Rats breed all the time, and they do it quickly. The average gestation period for a litter of rats is 21-24 days. Pregnant rats will want to have their litter in a warm, dry place, so make sure your residence is not attractive to them.
3.Which of the following measures should you take to keep rats away?
Tidy up your yard and inspect your homes perimeter.
You’re on the right track, but eliminating places where rats like to hide outside (like wood piles, yard debris, tree branches along the roof line, holes in old sheds or detached garages) is only one step in making your property less attractive to rats. Make sure you also eliminate food sources and opportunities for these pesky rodents to sneak indoors.
Take away their food (bird food, pet off, garbage, and compost).
You’re on the right track. Removing food sources (bird food, pet food, garbage, garden left overs, and fallen fruits from fruit trees) helps keep rats away. But, it’s also a good idea to clear out places in your yard and around your home that might be good hiding spots and make sure there are no holes that would give them access to the indoors.
Check your home for small cracks and holes.
You’re on the right track. Rats can fit through tiny spaces, so make sure cracks and small holes in your building or home are sealed. Additionally, it’s important to eliminate food sources and hiding spots that make for comfy nests.
All of the above
You got it! Rats are looking for warm, dry places where they won’t be bothered so they can explore and eat as much as they want. Declutter your attic and basement, seal small cracks and holes from the outdoors and eliminate all food sources (pet food, birdfeeders, compost, and trash).
4. Which of the following are good food sources for rats?
Birdseed
This is a good start. Yes, birdseed is yummy for birds – but it’s also a treat for rats and other rodents. Make sure you don’t have any birdseed, pet food, fallen fruit, or trash/compost near your residence, or rats will think you’ve invited them to dinner!
Pet food
You’re on the right track. The package may say “dog food,” but rats can’t read. They eat just about anything. In addition to pet food, make sure you don’t have any birdseed, fallen fruit, or trash/compost near your residence, or rats will think you’ve invited them to dinner!
Fallen fruit
You’re close! Rats love fallen fruit even if it’s rotten. But, they also love birdseed, pet food, trash and compost. Rats eat just about anything, so eliminate all these food sources from the area around your residence!
Birdseed, pet food and fallen fruit
You got it! Rats eat everything – birdseed, pet food, fallen fruit, trash, and compost. Get rid of all outdoor food sources or they’ll think you’ve invited them for dinner!
5. Which of the following can a rat squeeze through?
A hole the size of a dime
Rats cannot usually fit through a hole the size of a dime but mice can. If you’re testing for access points in your garage and you see any light passing through, seal it up!
A hole the size of a quarter
Yes, rats can squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter, but a young rat or a mouse can squeeze through a hole the size of a dime! If you’re testing for access points in your garage and you see any light passing through, seal it up!
A hole the size of a coffee cup lid
Rats would have no problem fitting through a hole the size of a coffee cup lid. In fact, they can fit through a hole the size of a quarter! If you’re testing for access points in your garage and you see any light passing through, seal it up!
BONUS! TRUE or FALSE: Rats come up through the toilet.
True.
You got it! A rat can come up your toilet. Rats live in sewers and can follow the food in pipes up to your home. The toilet is usually the first outlet that they find. Some rodents are able to swim as far as ½ mile, hold their breath for 3 minutes and tread water for up to three days.
False.
Don’t doubt rats! Rats live in sewers and can follow the food in pipes up to your toilet. Some rodents are able to swim as far as ½ mile, hold their breath for 3 minutes and tread water for up to three days.

Feel prepared to keep the rats out this winter? If you need more information, check out our website.