Never pick up a dead rat! Why not? Rats may have infected fleas, when the rat dies the fleas need a new host hence the flea could select you as the host. While we can control disease we need to be careful.
In your travels, if you notice garbage that has not been collected, please be aware that there is always the possibility that rats could find a new home. Rats have been on this earth a very long time and most likely will be even longer.
What can you, as a homeowner do to try reducing the dangers of a rat infestation?
Here are some thoughts;
- Do not leave pet food out and on the ground (we continue to emphasize this as a way to protect the home from a variety of pests)
- Use metal trash cans as rats will chew through plastics. This is especially true if you think there may be a problem. Rats in a home present a clear danger to a family.
- Keep firewood off of the ground, 12”-18” if possible
- Keep the foundation of your home free of debris
- Seal all openings. Steel mesh and chalk may work. Crevices as small as 3/8’s of an inch will allow a rat access to the home. A rat over 20” in length can enter through an opening of 3/8” in diameter!!
- Use gloves to pick up a dead rat, then wash, wash, and wash some more at least two times, reciting the “Happy Birthday” rhyme every time. Better yet, use an implement to secure the rat and then wash the implement.
- Traps will take time to be effective: rats tend to be cautious
- Remember: capturing and eliminating one rat will not solve the issue. Remaining rats will shorten their reproductive time, sensing the threat.
- GET HELP IMMEDIATELY!!