Rats are nocturnal animals — meaning that they are more active at night. But why are rats more active at night and, more importantly, what are they doing at night whilst you slumber? It’s important to answer these questions because you should know what these pests do inside your home when you are sleeping. This knowledge may help you to get rid of these disease-carrying rodents.
What do rats do at night?
1. Rats look for food
Because rats are nocturnal animals, they do most of their activities at night. Their main activity is looking for food. In their search, they can end up in your kitchen because it naturally has food. They can go through your attic, bedroom, and everywhere else where they can find resources. This is bad news for you. It means that they have many opportunities to spread their filth and disease-causing bacteria.
And of course, when an animal eats, it urinates and defecates too. Rat poop and rat urine are dangerous. You can get sick by consuming something that has been contaminated by them. You can even get sick by simply inhaling rat poop particles.
2. Rats look for materials to build their nests
Your home is full of warm hiding places for rats. Your walls, for instance, are a hot spot for rats. The walls are not just warm; they are also excellent sources of water — especially if you have piping problems and leaks. But here’s the thing — rats still need to have nests, the same way you still need blankets.
During the night, rats look not just for food, but also for materials to build their nests. These materials can come in many forms, like cardboard, insulation, and softwood. Rats will gnaw on them and take them to their hiding spot. They can cause significant structural damage if they gnaw enough of these materials away.
3. Rats communicate with each other
Female rats can give birth to up to six litters a year, with five to ten rats each. In perfect conditions, a rat infestation that starts with just two rats can grow to 1,250 rats in just a year. This incredible rate of reproduction is one of the reasons why rat infestations are hard to eliminate. But there is another fact about this that is often overlooked — rats are social animals that live in groups.
Rats use high frequencies to communicate. They can express so much with this mode of communication. They can express distress and pain. Males can express their sexual interest in females. And females can locate their babies.
4. Rats exercise and play
During the night, rats also exercise and play with each other. They are social creatures, so this is to be expected. No, rats don’t do pushups and situps, if that’s what you are thinking. They exercise by simply being active. They look for food, build their nest, and run around. Young rats are also the only ones who actually play with each other. They usually chase or playfully fight with each other. And again, they do this just to be active.
If you see rats during the day…
1. Rats are usually active at night
Rats have developed their nocturnal ways to avoid predators. They sneak and move in the dark to look for food and materials for their nests. This is why you should be concerned if you see rats in the daytime. It’s simply not natural. They have compelling reasons to look for food and materials for their nests in the daytime.
There are three main reasons — you have a severe infestation, they have acclimatized to their surroundings, or they are less dominant rats avoiding competition. All of these reasons should concern you.
2. Rats have overtaken your home
There may be so many rats already in your home that they simply can’t hide anymore. You see them running around during the daytime. Severe rat infestations should concern you. The more rats you have at home, the more opportunities there are for them to be dangerous.
You become more at risk of rodent-related diseases like leptospirosis. Your home also becomes more at risk of structural damage as more rats gnaw on the materials that make your home. In the worst instances, they gnaw on your electrical wires, and this can lead to electricity problems and house fires.
3. Rats are already used to their surroundings
Rats are careful and smart animals. For instance, do you know that they find new objects in their surroundings suspicious? This is one of the reasons why rats are so hard to trap. They become suspicious of this new object in their environment even if the object has an appetizing snack.
If you see rats in the daytime, it means they are already used to their environment. They don’t need to avoid predators anymore. You can view this as something negative. But you can actually use it to your advantage. It may mean you will have an easier time trapping rats.
4. Less dominant rats are looking for food
Yes, seeing rats during the daytime is not a good sign. But in another perspective, it’s not all that bad. Rats have hierarchies. The dominant ones are free to roam around during the night to look for food and materials for their nests without competition. The less dominant ones have the tendency to roam around during the daytime to avoid competing with the dominant ones.
If you are seeing rats during the daytime, it may mean you are only seeing the less dominant ones. It does cause concern because rats are rats. But the good news is that it doesn’t automatically mean you have a severe infestation.
Now you know what rats do at night
Rats are nocturnal animals, so they do most of their activities at night. They look for food and materials to build their nests. They also communicate, exercise, and play with each other.
But it’s also important to remember that rats can still move in the daytime. This is not natural, so it can mean trouble for you and your home. Seeing rats during the daytime usually means that you have a severe rat infestation that needs to be addressed immediately.