Reasons Why Rats Exist

Rats might seem like pointless creatures, and to be fair, we treat them like they are such, but they are not pointless. We often trap them in cages to be tested on in laboratories, and they don't even need anesthetic for surgical procedures, according to PETA and official guidelines.

Rats do have their place in the ecosystem, despite what you might think. Although they are opportunistic scavengers that will often eat the waste left behind by other animals, such as humans, they do prey on smaller rodents and animals, including mice. They also help to keep the insect population down. Essentially, they “clean up” after other creatures, finishing off whatever scraps of food are left behind.

Rats also exist because they are food for other creatures, and that's what you need to remember. If it weren't for rodents such as rats and mice, owls, eagles and hawks would have fewer sources of food. Rats are actually quite far down the food chain, and as much as they are a big pain in the backside to people like you and I, they are a tasty meal to many other creatures. Snakes are also a big fan of rats and mice, particularly boa constrictors. Coyotes and foxes will feast on a rat if it has the opportunity to, as will weasels, and wildcats too. Even dogs and cats prey on rats, although house cats are generally more scared of rats than rats are of cats. Dogs can chase after a rat though, and you should avoid this where possible. Rats can carry and transmit a number of disease which can be passed onto your household pets, and also onto the human members of your family too. That's before you start to think about parasites such as mites, ticks and fleas too, all of which can be a serious problem to cats, dogs and other household animals.

This is why rats reproduce at such a staggering rate - they need to in order to ensure they continue as a species. There are so many predators that prey on rats, and humans are included in this list, so they need to work hard to build the numbers up to ensure they survive. If you have rats in your home or residential property, you should be aware that most humane approaches to removing these rodents often fails. Snap traps are the best way to deal with the problem, despite the end result still being the rat's death. Just make sure you have sealed your home thoroughly before you do. Otherwise you'll just be catching a string of rats that seemingly never ends.

Go back to the Rats in the Attic home page.