RAT invasions may plague Brits' homes as numbers rise during cold snap – here's what to look out for.
As homeowners take to their lofts or garages to retrieve the Christmas decorations this festive period, they should also be on the look out for rats.
Rentokil Pest Control experts have predicted that rodent activity is usually at its highest in late November to December.
The increase in rat invasions is caused by the animals seeking warmer sheltered spaces, such as lofts, to escape the harsh temperatures of winter.
Paul Blackhurst, Head of Technical Academy at Rentokil Pest Control told Wales Online: “Rodents are a key public health concern, which can cause considerable damage to both residential and business premises, as well as business’ reputation.
"After a mild autumn we’re expecting to see a surge in enquiries as soon as the temperature drops, as rats will be looking for somewhere warm to spend the winter.
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"While most of us may associate rats with sewers and holes in the ground, brown rats are very agile climbers, and can be found in loft spaces.”
He added that homeowners should look out for nests, droppings, signs of gnawing and greasy rub marks on joists in their attic.
Each rat will leave behind about 40 dropping per night and can often be spotted in the corners or rooms or boxes.
The animals will also shred loft insulation, cardboard and other soft materials to make their nests.
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If any of these signs are noticed, Mr Blackhurst advised Brits to call pest control services straight away.
"Pest specialists can use tools and technology to monitor and safely eliminate any rodent activity, helping make sure that the only footsteps you may hear on your roof this Christmas, are from Santa and his reindeer," he added.
Rat activity has risen by 30 per cent in commercial buildings, according to the expert.
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