Rats can be a threat to our health and wellbeing. On the one hand, rats can - without intending it - transmit a whole series of serious diseases. On the other hand, they can contaminate food, both for humans and animals, making it unusable, and cause further serious damage. They can bite through building components such as timber beams or floors, insulation material, walls or similar structures by their daily rodent activities, cause fires due to gnawing at electric cables, or bring other pests such as fleas, ticks or blackflies. Therefore the control of rats in the close environment of human life is unavoidable and important. Since rats are nocturnal animals and normally hide during the day, in many cases an infestation is discovered only on the basis of certain indications, for example, by hearing noises in the walls, ceilings or under floors, running tracks, finding excrements and impurities, and above all by damages already caused by rats. Rats need a permanent source of water and drink between 15 to 60ml daily. They eat only small portions, but prefer a wide range of different foods.
There are various methods, even in the Algarve, to avoid an infestation of rats -as well as for ohter rodents - or to make our own environment less attractive to rats. Like most rodents, rats are good climbers and diggers. Therefore, a first step should always be the extensive "sealing" of a building, be it your house, apartment, garage or similar. In their search for food, rats use all existing holes or tunnels to penetrate the interior of a building. Rats have no problem to swim in the canalization or to move in drain systems, and if there is a way to penetrate an area, they will find it – especially if there are left-overs of food coming exactly from that direction. It is therefore always advisable to close the lid of the toilet when it is not in use, to avoid uninvited guests in the bathroom first and then in other areas of the house.
To check the error-free function of all pipes of the sewer is another important factor in this context. Also holes and cracks in walls should be sealed (whether in the living area or in the cellar), because rats can enlarge them so far by their rodent activity that their bodies pass through. The same applies to the condition of the roof, which should be without damages. Rats can use exterior electric cables or overhanging tree branches to reach a roof and then make their way into other areas of the building.
Inside a buiding it is a good option to store food (whether for humans or animals) in metal containers or lockable glass vessels. Food residues and similar should be stored or disposed in garbage cans or containers, and the house and garden should be kept as clean as possible in order not to allow rats to hide.
Equipping a bait box for a rodent control - rat extermination: