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Rats will chew through almost any material, given half the chance, and that's why it is important to put a very serious plan into action when you discover you have rats infesting your home or commercial building.
Rats teeth can be scored on the Mohs scale, a scale that measures how hard various material are. The score goes from 1, being the softest material, to 10, the hardest. Diamonds are well known to be in highest scoring on the Mohs scale, with talc being at the lower end of the scale.
For the record, the enamel on human teeth weighs in at about 5 on the Mohs scale, and rats teeth are harder still - 5.5. This means that their teeth are actually harder than some metals, including copper and iron.
Find out what to do if you hear a rodent on the roof.
Rats don’t just have super sharp teeth that constantly grow and need to be filed down with that chewing action, they have a very powerful jaw too, and these two things work together to enable the rodent to chew through most materials that it would come up against. This includes many of the common materials found in your home, and also making up your home — cinder blocks, asbestos, brick, plastic, wood, cement, aluminum and lead.
Find out whether or not rodents enter a building through the plumbing.
The ceiling provides almost no protection between you and the rat, and it won’t be long before the rat can chew right through it. It will do this if it needs to escape, and this can often be the case when animals have crawled into a deep space in your home, and then been unable to get back out again.
Rodents are awful creatures, aren't they? They're tiny and flexible, which means they can crawl and squeeze into the tightest of spots. They spread diseases and parasites, and were even responsible for the spread of the Black Plague, and also the thousands of people that were wiped out by it. They're also the subject of horror stories, usually passed down through the generations. You can't tell me that you haven't heard of that one rat who once chewed a baby's face off, or the other one who attacked a human's throat in the night?
The good news is that rats won't generally attack humans, babies, children, or other animals unless they have been cornered, threatened or provoked. If you get the animal in a trap with no way out, there's a good chance it will try to bite you. That's the nature of wild animals, and also serves as a warning — wild animals are just that — wild — for a reason.
If you have spotted rodent holes, you should keep a well-trained eye out for other evidence, including feces, gnawed cereal boxes (and other food packaging), and even dead rodents. If you have a cat, it is likely that they will come in contact with each other at least once, and larger rats will defend themselves as best they can, but smaller ones, and mice too, will often come off worse.
The best way to repair a hole a rodent chewed in your house is by first inspecting the rest of your house, and then coming back armed with wire wool, expanding foam, thick, rubber gloves, and some more rodent traps, just in case. You should already have set a number of these rodent traps already, making sure you choose specifically built rat traps for rats, and mouse traps for mice. The rat traps are too large to capture mice effectively, and the smaller mouse traps could have very little effectiveness on capturing the bigger rats too. In fact, when you get the wrong trap, all you end up doing is maiming the creature, which then goes on to die somewhere in your home.
Only when you are sure that your traps aren't catching any more rodents can you then go ahead to seal up any holes left behind. Ideally, you will want to have left one main hole open, sealed the remaining smaller holes, to then allow you to go back to the main hole once all rodents have been eradicated. The kind of hole you're dealing with, as well as the area within your home, will have a big part to play in what materials you use.
Wire wool and expanding foam is a good combination of material to use. The rats and mice can easily chew through the expanding foam, but the wire wool, if packed tightly enough, will form a protective barrier in the midst. The rats and mice can't chew through this metal layer with ease, so are therefore likely to turn around and leave … Or find another hole.
If you find yourself with multiple rodent holes in your building, we would definitely recommend seeking professional advice. A rat or mouse problem is one that can very easily get out of hand, very quickly, and you'll also find that many home insurance policies won't actually cover you if these rodents cause damage.
For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How much does rat removal cost? - get the lowdown on prices.
How to get rid of rats - my main rat removal info guide.
Example rat trapping photographs - get do-it-yourself ideas.
Rat job blog - learn from great examples of rat jobs I've done.
rats in the attic
rats in the walls