Rat Life Cycle
Only the life cycle of the Roof Rat (rattus
rattus) is discussed on this page, since this is the only rat that is
common here in central Florida.
||Roof Rats are born in a nest, in a litter of 6-8
young. The nest is often in a secure place with nesting debris such
as in an attic in the insulation. They are born tiny and hairless
(pinkies), with eyes sealed shut. After two weeks of nursing, their
eyes open, and within 4 weeks, they are weaned. After three months
of life, they are independent and on their own, although they
typically use the same habitat as their birthplace (i.e. they live
in the same home or attic).
|Here we can see a photo of a juvenile rat and a
mature adult rat. Older ones sometimes tend to brown a bit, although
most of the rats we catch are gray. A lot of the rats that we catch
are small rats. This is because they breed in such high numbers, and
there are so many young ones. When we're trapping rats in an attic,
we'll often get a big one or two, and a number of small ones. This
is not the rule, but it does happen from time to time, indicating a
possible family of rats.
familiar territory. They are not explorers. They find an area that suits
their needs, with shelter and food (human homes and attics quite often fit
the bill) and rarely venture more than a few hundred feet from that area.
They rarely die naturally, but when they do, it's often in safe place like
your attic, and you'll notice the smell. Most will be killed by predators or
OrlandoRats, Inc. However, they'll leave their damage and their offspring
||Rats don't live particularly long in the wild.
Like all rodents, they rely upon breeding in high numbers and eating
a lot and growing quickly. In this respect, they are somewhat like
insects, and thus can sometimes swell to large numbers given the
right conditions. In normal circumstances, disease and predators
keep their numbers in check. Rarely do rats live for more than a
year in the wild. During that year, however, they can create a lot
of new rats and a lot of damage. Just one adult female can create
more than 40 new rats in a year. In their lifetime, rats tend to
Read more educational articles I wrote here:
Do rats bite sleeping babies?
Will a rat in the attic have a nest
Why do rats exist?
How rats communicate using
What is a ratís mating habits?
(both Black Rat and Norway Rat)
If I have one rat, are there
What are some of the symptoms of a sick rat?
Do rodents like rats feel pain?
Can rats hurt you?
Why do rats die inside houses or attics?
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