They fall under the category of rodents and
apart from rats; we also have the mice and the
squirrels. They are differentiated from other
mammals by the presence of a pair of incisor
teeth in both the upper and the lower jaws.
However, all rodents are known to be active all year round hence they do not hibernate. Instead, during the cold season, they tend to shift their environment to move to warmer areas but within the same home range as they are believed to be constant in regards to shelter due to their territoriality nature. Rats usually isolate themselves during winter, and use stored food during this season. Some of the convenient shelters that the rats use during the cold season include;
Houses and sheds
The dark, hidden places in homes are the best places for the rats to take advantage of and find shelter during the harsh conditions. They will look for the interior most areas in the houses and sheds for accommodation as they are afraid of exposure.
The abandoned vehicles in driveways and garages also provide a good environment for the rats to shelter themselves from the cold season. They will build their nests in parts that are concealed and protected such as engines and ventilation compartments.
Mostly, those rats that live outside the human home range will use cave in the wild for shelter during winter. Due to the adversity of the weather, small groups may find themselves in one cave and so they will have to share the space. However, they urinate on food as a way to mark territory for the different groups.
In other instances, rats will burrow to build their nests. The place they burrow is usually free from any human activities to prevent any disturbances and they will dig very deep up to the point where the surface conditions are not felt at all. These regions are almost as constant as possible as compared to the surface which changes from time to time.
Basically, during the cold season, even if they are still active, most life activities of rats are disrupted. From low amounts of food, to the harsh conditions and so is their breeding. With these challenges on their side, it makes it easier to fight and eliminate rats at this time from homes. Ranging from limiting food spills and locking away leftovers, they won’t last long before dying or moving out. Also, if you discover the place they are hiding, use of a pesticide will kill most of them.
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