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CHAPTER 2
RATS
Learning Objectives
After completion of the study of Rats, the trainee should be able to:
List the physical characteristics of rats and select those unique to each
species.
Identify the habits and habitat of each.
Describe the monitoring procedures.
Describe methods to reduce life support.
Describe physical control methods.
Discuss the use of rodenticides.
Rats have caused more human suffering and more
such as cinder block, aluminum siding, sun-dried
economic damage than any other vertebrate pest. From
adobe brick, wall board, wooden cabinets, lead
plague epidemics (the "Black Death" of Europe) to rat-
sheathing, and plastic or lead pipes. After gnawing a
hole, an adult rat can compress its body and squeeze
bite fever, whether feeding on stored grain or gnawing
through an opening only a half-inch high.
electric wires, rats are enemies of humankind.
In most instances, rats are very wary. Hundreds
Statisticians estimate that rats destroy 20 percent of the
may be nesting in a city block -- in underground
world's food supply every year -- directly by feeding
burrows, in sewers, on roofs, inside buildings -- with
and indirectly through contamination.
few people in the area realizing it. Populations are
Yet, rats can be admired. They have adapted to
dynamic: rats moving in, rats moving out, rats giving
nearly all human environments. They live in granaries,
birth, and rats dying. Within a population, some rats
in fields, in city sewers, on ocean-going ships, on
will be easy to control, some difficult.
roofs, in attics, in basements, in street trees, on top of
Successful long term rat control is not simple.
30-story buildings, and inside subway tunnels.
The key is to control rat populations, not individual
Adept athletes, rats can leap three feet straight up
rats. Rat control requires an integrated approach that
and four feet horizontally. They can scramble up the
includes nonlethal tools such as careful inspection,
outside of a pipe three inches in diameter, and climb
upgraded sanitation, and rat-proofing structures. Lethal
inside pipes one-and-a-half to four inches in diameter.
control often combines the use of rodenticides with
They can walk between buildings on telephone or
nontoxic control measures such as snap traps or glue
power lines, and scramble on board a ship on its
boards.
mooring line. Rats can swim through a half mile of
open water, tread water for up to three days, swim
against a strong current in a sewer line, and dive
through a sewer trap to pop up inside a toilet. They
RATS AS DISEASE CARRIERS
can fall more than 50 feet and survive.
Rats are responsible for the spread of many
Rats gnaw constantly; their teeth are extremely
diseases. Sometimes they transmit the disease directly,
hard. They commonly chew through building materials
by contaminating food with their urine or feces.
Module Three Chapter 2, Pg 1





 


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