Calls have been pouring into our Sacramento pest control office, with homeowners and business owners reporting that, suddenly, rats have moved into their attics and garages.

Now rat problems always grow worse during our chilly, rainy Sacramento winters, because, like us, the rats are looking for a cozy, dry place indoors where they can build nests and have babies… lots and lots of babies—three to five litters per year, and as many as eight rat pups per litter!

But this year we’re seeing something a little different: The rats our expert pest control technicians are pulling out of the traps they place are huge… some of them nearly a foot-and-a-half long, measuring both body and tail.

What could be creating this bumper crop of plus-size rats? People pouring multi-vitamins down the kitchen sink? Radiation from so many people constantly using their cell phones?

No, far from being a plot line from an upcoming sci-fi movie, the fat and happy rats we’re seeing are simply the products of a series of fairly mild winters in the Sacramento region. Whereas in a normal winter, a large proportion of rats naturally succumb to cold, exposure and scarcity of food, in a mild winter, more rats live to see the spring. A rat whose normal life span might be two years may live to be three, growing correspondingly larger with age. Foods that rats like, such as seeds and grains, are more abundant during mild years, so the surviving rats get plenty to eat.

Unfortunately, rats pose a danger to our homes, families and businesses and to the public health. In addition to carrying diseases and contaminating foodstuffs, rats pose a fire hazard due to their constant gnawing.

Because their four long incisor teeth grow very rapidly and continually throughout the rats’ lifespan, they must constantly gnaw to keep the teeth worn down. If they were to stop, their long, sharp front teeth would grow in spirals and impale them. Among rats’ favorite teething toys appear to be electrical wires, telephone wires, satellite and cable TV wiring and alarm-system wires—at best a nuisance or a repair bill, at worst a fire that destroys a home or place of business.

For more information about rats and how you can prevent or eliminate infestations, visit our Rat Control and Extermination page or contact our trained Sacramento pest control professionals at 916-457-7605.