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Are Brown Rats Dangerous?

Updated on: December 3, 2020

Brown rats (or Norway rats) are the large rodents that commonly infest homes. When they enter the property, it only takes some time before they start causing destruction in the home’s foundation and spreading diseases to the residents.

So what kinds of danger can brown rats bring to you and your family? These filthy rodents are capable of causing structural damages to a home with their strong teeth that cut through almost anything. They are also known carriers of different diseases such as typhus, bubonic plague, Weil’s disease, rat-bite fever, trichinosis, and salmonellosis. Finally, rats are also aggressive creatures that can inflict injuries on house pets.

What Makes Brown Rats Dangerous?

Brown rats are adaptable creatures that can survive in residential areas. They are typically found in large cities around the country, such as New York. They are omnivorous creatures that feed on plant materials as well as smaller animals, like mice and birds.

More than a nuisance, these rodents are considered dangerous for several reasons: they can cause severe structural damages, they carry several diseases that can be transmitted to humans, and they can inflict harm on other animals.

Structural Damages and Safety Hazards

Rats are known to be destructive creatures. Thanks to their strong jaws and teeth, chewing through plastic and wood is easy. They will leave large holes with rough edges in the walls and floorboards of a home. Brown rats tend to build their nest underneath buildings, which weakens the property’s foundation. They can also live in wall cavities if they find an opening at least the size as a quarter.

Brown rats are also capable of causing house fires and floods. In 2019, it was estimated that around 20% of house fires are caused by exposed wirings that were chewed by rats infesting a property. Their teeth are also strong enough to chew water pipes if they need to find a water source for the colony.

Health Concerns

Brown rats are filthy pests that spend most of their time scavenging for trash in dumpsters. They carry several disease-causing pathogens and parasites with them. Even if there is no direct contact with the infected rodent, consumption of contaminated food and drink is enough to transmit diseases.

Aside from contamination, brown rats can also scratch and bite anyone who gets in their way. This particular action can cause the person to be infected with rat-bite fever. These rodents also carry parasites that can be passed to humans.

Danger to Pets

Cats and dogs instinctively chase smaller animals like rats and mice around the home. However, these pests can become aggressive when cornered. They can inflict serious injuries to house pets by biting and scratching them. Their tails can also serve as extra support whenever they stand on their hind legs during fights.

Even if the pet manages to win the fight against a brown rat, its carcass is still capable of transmitting pathogens and diseases. Your pet is in danger of toxoplasmosis if they decide to eat the dead rat.

Damages that Brown Rats Can Cause on Your Home

Brown rats cause more structural damages to the home the longer they are left alone, which is why calling a professional exterminator is necessary. As they burrow and create nests, they weaken the home’s foundation. They also ruin other things in a home as they scavenge for nesting materials.

Regarding their teeth -- their teeth constantly grow so gnawing on hard materials such as wood, plastic, water pipes, and steel is their way to keep them short. They can chew through electrical wirings and appliances’ cables, which causes the electricity to short circuit. When this happens, there’s a huge chance that a house fire might occur.

Diseases Brown Rats Can Carry

The mere presence of brown rats in a home is already classified as a health hazard. These filthy rodents can contaminate the places where they stay. They are known carriers of several diseases that can cause anything from uncomfortable minor symptoms to serious issues, such as organ failure.

How Can Brown Rats Transmit Diseases?

Brown rats can transmit different diseases in several ways. Direct contact with these rodents can easily contaminate a food or water source. Their scratches and bites are also harmful to humans and pets. Finally, these filthy rats carry ectoparasites (parasites found on their skin or hair follicles) that can cause different illnesses.

6 Diseases Caused by Brown Rats

1. Typhus

When a brown rat’s ectoparasite bites a person, the pathogen Rickettsia typhi is transmitted to them. This typhus-causing pathogen causes the infected person to experience fever, chills, muscle pains, appetite loss, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, cough, and rashes. Patients typically recover from typhus if they have a strong immune system, but severe cases can lead to organ damage.

2. Bubonic Plague

Plague is a serious infection that caused the death of millions of people in Europe during the Black Death. It occurs when the flea bites a person after previously biting an infected rodent. The bubonic plague can also be transmitted if a person consumes uncooked meat or inhales the droplets of body fluids from an infected host.

3. Weil’s Disease

This disease is the second form of a bacterial infection that people are much more familiar with – leptospirosis. People can be infected with Leptospira bacteria if they are immersed in water that contains brown rat urine. Those infected with Weil’s disease will experience diarrhea, abdominal pain, red eyes, and jaundice.

4. Rat-Bite Fever

Rat-bite fever can be contracted by humans in two ways: through consumption of food or water contaminated with rat dropping or through rat bites and scratches. Either way, an infected person experiences fever, vomiting, headache, and muscle pain. Most symptoms of rat-bite fever are delayed, which is why the right diagnosis can be missed.

5. Trichinosis

Trichinosis is typically transmitted when a parasite-carrying rodent comes in contact with a person. The early onset of the symptoms will include stomach pain, fatigue, nausea, and diarrhea. The symptoms may continue to persist even after 2-8 weeks. In rare cases, trichinosis can affect the lungs, brain, and heart without the right treatment.

6. Salmonellosis

This food-borne disease can occur when a person accidentally consumes food or water that has been contaminated by rat droppings. The pathogen is resistant to many kinds of antibiotics, so make sure to treat it with the right one by consulting with a doctor when the first symptom shows.

Dangers that Brown Rats Can Inflict on Pets

Pets tend to be treated as parts of the family by pet owners. But aside from keeping their owner company, pets are also an effective rodent control method. Cats and dogs have a keen sense of sight and smell that can help them detect rodents. If they are active hunters, they can even help locate the rat nest and reduce their population.

However, rats are aggressive creatures that won’t easily back down. They can scratch and bite pets if they feel threatened. Since they are a lot bigger than mice, they can certainly inflict serious injuries to the pet.

Brown rats are also capable of transmitting diseases like toxoplasmosis and leptospirosis to the pet. Although it’s rare for the pets to show signs that they are infected, toxoplasmosis increases the risk of roundworms infecting their bellies. When pets have roundworms in their body, they will show symptoms such as a distended round belly and diarrhea.

Protect Your Home from Brown Rats with PermaKill Exterminating

Are brown rats starting to build a nest in your home? Call PermaKill Exterminating now before these pesky rodents cause more damage to the house. Our technicians use their knowledge of brown rat habits to ensure that these creatures are eliminated from your home as soon as possible.

Learn more about the simple yet effective solutions for rodent problems in your home by calling PermaKill Exterminating now.

Read more: Do Dryer Sheets Repel Mice?


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