If you have ever experienced a rat infestation, you know that there is no limit to the things that they will destroy. When you find toys, furniture, and personal items tattered by these invasive rodents, you might start to wonder if they’re after more than just food. Why exactly do they chew through everything they possibly can? Let’s find out.
Anatomy of the Rat’s Teeth
Rats have four yellow front incisors — and these are the main teeth responsible for their continuous ability to chew their way through tough objects. The rat’s incisors never stop growing, which is why they have to keep gnawing and filing their teeth in the process. For the rats, the gnawing is both a form of self-preservation and a means of survival.
8 Materials Rats Love to Chew
Rats will pretty much chew on any kind of material that make up the interior and exterior of homes including:
Damages That Occur from Chewing
Some issues that can happen from rats frequent chewing are:
- Water Damage – Soft, polyethylene tubing used for water lines can easily be chewed through by rats and other rodents, resulting in significant water damage.
- House Fire – Though rats prefer to gnaw on wood, they are known to chew on the plastic covering of electrical wires, causing millions of dollars in structural damage in the United States each year. Another concern is that rats can electrocute themselves while chewing on the wires, killing themselves, which can not only cause a fire but a massive odor problem when the animal begins to decompose.
- Torn Insulation – Rats tear and shred apart attic insulation to use for their nests. This can cause significant increases in your homes cooling and heating costs. Even worse is the urine and droppings rats leave behind, contaminating your attic, and putting your health at risk.
- Damaged HVAC System – Rats often build their nests inside of heating and cooling ducts, which not only makes your HVAC system less efficient but also exposes everyone in your house to harmful germs and bacteria.
As you can see, rats chewing habits cause many issues for homeowners and therefore needs to be addressed as soon as possible to avoid further health risks and extensive structural damage.
Although the items they are chewing may not always be food, there is a good chance the rats are gnawing on your belongings in hopes of finding some. Because rats are scavengers, they will often find items to eat by tearing through different materials such as bags, walls, and boxes. This does not always result in an edible prize for the rodents, but it also doesn’t stop them from continuing through the trial and error.
Dangers of Rats
While having your belongings torn to shreds is quite inconvenient, the potential health risks are a main concern when it comes to rat gnawing. Coming into contact with items that rats have either chewed or urinated on puts everyone in your home at risk for catching one of the many infectious diseases they commonly carry. And when rats chew through wires that are connected to appliances, lights, and other running electronics, it can lead to extreme fire hazards in your property.
Removal and Prevention
If you are seeing the signs that rats may be chewing on your personal items, call Central Florida’s clear choice for wild animal removal: Critter Control®. Critter Control® of Orlando’s animal removal experts are here to guide you through the removal, prevention, and even the damage control needed after a rodent infestation.