Do rats hibernate?

Rats, unlike many other animals, do not hibernate when the temperatures plummet. They are animals that are renowned for being active all year round, and this is what has made their population levels soar all over the world. Wherever you will find people, you will find rats, and normally, the population of these rats far exceeds the population of humans.

Rats will continue to hunt for food, scavenge, chew, gnaw, and even breed throughout the year, even when the weather gets colder. If they can find a mate, they will continue to reproduce. They just need to find somewhere warm and dry to have their young and rear them for a little while, and human habitats tend to provide the perfect solution to that particular problem. That's why so many rats enter human homes and commercial properties when the weather gets cold - they need somewhere much safer than their outdoor environments to take care of their new family members.

The colder weather has been known to slow down the rate at which these animals reproduce, but they do still continue to do so at a staggering rate, and if they find a human home or commercial building to break in to, that slowed down pace will just speed right back out again. If you have one rat in your home, it will only be a matter of time before it's two rats. And when you have two rats, you have a very big and very continual problem on your hands. One that you will need to deal with, and fast!

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Do rats hibernate?

Rats are a constant nuisance in an ever-changing world, as they have been for thousands of years. These little creatures love to live near humans, as there are many benefits to cohabitation with humans. They can eat leftover food, use houses, sheds, and garages for warmth, and use trash as nesting materials. One of the most commonly thought myths about rats is that they are hibernating creatures. As it turns out, rats do not hibernate. Continue reading this article for more information.

Why Do People Think Rats Hibernate?

Many people believe that rats hibernate because they are often not seen as much when winter arrives. Especially in big cities or other areas with a built-up rat population, people are used to seeing rats more commonly. Once it gets cold and the weather changes, they might see rats less often, making them believe that rats hibernate. As it turns out rats never hibernate, though they do cut way back on their activity when the weather gets colder. While they do not hibernate, they do use some different techniques so that they will be able to survive in the winter.

Storing Food

One of the most common reasons that humans see rats at all is because the rats are out looking for food. They require a pretty good amount of food in order to survive, so most of their activity has to do with scrounging around for food. As winter and cold weather approaches, rats begin to store more food in their burrows. This serves a few purposes. The first, and main purpose, is that in the cold weather, rats burn a lot of energy just staying warm. Burning more energy means they require more food, which defeats the point of looking for food. A second purpose this serves is that food is oftentimes less plentiful once the weather starts to change, so they begin stockpiling food early to keep starvation at bay. Once the cold weather hits, rats will try to stay in their burrows and conserve their warmth and energy as much as possible. This is one of the main reasons people believe rats hibernate.

Tunnel Time

Many times in the warmer days of the year, rats live in nests and build them anywhere they can. They might dig tunnels and holes as well, but they really start to do this a lot once the weather gets colder. When the weather is nasty enough, rats spend most of the day in their burrows, coming out only when absolutely necessary to find food. This goes hand in hand with their food storage as well. Depending on how much food they have stored, they may be able to spend days at a time in their burrow. 

While it makes sense that many people believe that rats hibernate, it turns out that they don’t actually. Rats limit their activity and this makes people believe that they hibernate because they are not seen nearly as often. Stockpiled food and the search for warmth and shelter keep these little creatures hidden for days at a time.