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Both the black rat and the Norway rat are considered to be omnivorous. This means they will eat anything we would eat. In fact, they would eat anything if underfed, and can be quite picky if they’re used to living on a full belly – just like us. And while we can only assume what was the original rat’s natural diet, we will only be able to know for sure once we can assert that a skeleton pertaining to the first prehistoric rats to walk the earth has been found – and that hasn’t happened yet.
If not dealt with, rats can cause immense problems for farmers as they will destroy, consume, and contaminate agricultural crops. Depending on the environment they inhabit, their diets can be extremely diverse. They also eat carcasses, and they are able to hunt, and eat birds and fish that outweigh them. They are capable of developing new behaviors that help them quickly adapt to never before practiced feeding techniques, and they will transmit the behavior from generation to generation until it becomes innate comportment – as you can imagine, this would not take them a long period of time as it is not uncommon for five rat generations to be born in a single year.
Very competitive when it comes to food, street rats live in groups and nest together, operating under a dominance hierarchy where the top rat always has first dibs on food, and the submissive rat often starves to death. When food is scarce, the ranking order is accomplished through multiple violent battles. They thrive in our urban and suburban settings where food is available everywhere, from dumpsters to trash cans, to our yards and pantries. Pet and livestock food is also among their preferred sources.
Rats invade homes primarily because they have easy access to food. Add shelter and protection from predators to the equation, like they have in the attic of a home or in an abandoned building, and the deal is sealed. Prevent rats from trying to install themselves on your property by making sure you’re not creating an inviting environment for them. This means securing your trash cans, not living pet and farm animal food outside, and making sure there’s no way for them to get inside your home. Don’t delay any needed exterior home repairs, and if you know you live in an area endemic to rat infestation, check the exterior of your home and interior of your attic regularly for rodent access points. For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How much does rat removal cost? - get the lowdown on prices.
How to get rid of rats - my main rat removal info guide.
Example rat trapping photographs - get do-it-yourself ideas.
Rat job blog - learn from great examples of rat jobs I've done.