After 800 years, a new study has concluded that rats were not to blame for the spread of 'The Black Death' (bubonic plague), which wiped out entire towns and eventually killed 60% of the population of medieval Europe.
Instead, the culprits are now believed to have been giant Gerbils!
That's not to say that rats aren't a health hazard. They can carry a variety of nasty diseases such as salmonella, leptospirosis, rat-bite fever and even rabies (in some parts of the world).
Weil's Disease (Leptospirosis ), is a form of a bacterial infection and can be caught by humans (and their dogs) through contact with rat urine, most commonly occurring through contaminated water. An infection can result in liver and kidney damage.
Most rats carry fleas, and these can also spread serious diseases such as typhus.
It's therefore important to dispose of dead rats carefully, with gloves or a litter picker - and be certain they are dead!
So, the poor old rat is used as transport by viruses, worms, ticks, fleas, ......(you name it!), and they are hunted by humans, foxes, stoats, snakes, Birds of Prey, dogs, cats.......but we still have rats everywhere. Why is that?
The rat is at the bottom of the food chain - they are a popular dish on many menus, so the only way to survive is through a secret weapon: mass reproduction.
Rats will breed 6-8 times a year - and they have large litters, with 10-15 babies being common. These babies will in turn begin to breed at 3-4 months old.
Autumn will be here next month. The fall in temperatures will see rats searching for a nice warm place to spend the winter. If you see a rat on your premises you can be pretty sure it's not alone. Rats are gregarious and it's said that for every rat you see, you can assume there are another 10 hiding.
Don't wait for your problem to multiply. Act fast and call us on 0800 028 7111 before you suffer a large infestation with possible damage to your property - or your health.
Bathtime for Ratty - from an original photo by Sciadopitys (CC BY-SA 2.0)
- See more at: http://www.contegoresponse.com/news/82/not-guilty-mlord#sthash.Ewxd9YlK.dpuf