You might not know it, but rats can turn into real pipe ninjas. Indeed, these have multiple talents that allow them to travel across the globe and even expand their territory into urban areas.
Rats sneak through the pipes
Since the time they first roamed human cities, the rats have understood well that they can take refuge in the sewers by infiltrating the large, conspicuous manhole opening present on every street, which would allow them to travel in complete safety and discretion. Once in the sewers, they then have access to a whole system of pipes through which they thread without difficulty. The video above gives you an impressive overview of their skills.
As skilled as they are flexible, rodents can travel in any pipe, as long as the diameter of said pipe allows the passage of their heads. Then, they manage with neither difficulty nor any pain, to deform their rib cage to let through the rest of their body. Thanks to their clawed paws, they can walk across horizontal and vertical surfaces.
Even more surprising, rats can stay in water for up to three days, allowing them to infiltrate boats. Three days is a long enough time to reach another shore. And these rodents are also able to hold their breath underwater.
If these astonishing properties remain relatively obscure to the public, it is simply because there are not many studies on the city rat, also called the brown rat (Rattus norvegicus). Although they are commonly used as guinea pigs in the laboratory, we probably know more about polar bears than the rodents that often visit and pillage our homes, said veterinarian Chelsea Himsworth.
The most interesting thing about brown rats is that they don't exist in the wild.
That means rats would have followed our migrations throughout history and have thus always lived in contact with humans. Which made them almost totally dependent on us for their food.
How do you get rid of rats?
Chelsea Himsworth studied how rats spread disease in the city of Vancouver. And what she found, aside from the fact that they never stay away from our homes for very long, is that the rats roam in groups. When a rat family is broken up, after some have been imprisoned or poisoned, its members feel forced to move elsewhere. Which explains their spread.
So if you find a rat in your toilet, don't flush the toilet. More efficiently and also less brutally, determine the location of the food source that attracted the rodent and eliminate it. This should deter this rat and its kin from inviting themselves back into your walls for a while. And if the problem persists, all you have to do is call a pest control agency for the nuclear option.