As California's climate fades to desert, rats are coming out of their hiding places in search of water. They are coming out to parks to steal water from dog bowls and attacking horse troughs in desperate need of something to drink. They are finding new ways into homes and becoming a menace like never before. Pest control specialists are seeing a new wave of rodents this year, and it's not just because it's their normal breeding season.
"It's a very busy time especially with the drought situation," said Kevin Carpenter with Good Earth Pest Control. Rats are reportedly finding spaces as small as the width of a thumb through which to squeeze into homes. Since they need at least an ounce of water a day to survive, rats are taking over any place where water is left unattended. Houses that aren't protected are becoming an oasis for rats seeking shelter from the growing desert conditions.
Rodents climbing trees, taking water from bird baths
"They're moving to homes where people might have pets or water features, bird baths, that sort of thing in search of water," said Carpenter.
Carpenter said the rodents will even go as far as to climb trees that are hanging over houses. "Those rodents will climb right up. They're excellent climbers and they will climb right up the trees and drop down on the roof," he said. He recommends that homeowners cut off any branches that could give rodents an overhead entry onto any household roof.
In order to keep the creatures out of the backyard, Carpenter suggests that pet owners give their pets water periodically throughout the day and then put it up at night. Any bowl of water that is left outside throughout the night can quickly become a target for thirsty rats.
"I would recommend bringing that food and water into the home at night because at night is when rats and rodents forage," he said. "If you remove that, that would discourage them and they would go away."
Poisoning the rodents not smart as it ultimately harms predators
While many people try to kill the rodents with over-the-counter poisons, Carpenter recommends instead that each family take precautions to seal up any potential entryways into their homes. The poisons ultimately harm wildlife like owls and hawks that feed on the rodents. By poisoning the rats, homeowners are inadvertently poisoning the very predators that are needed to keep the pests in check.
"These wildlife are right around us and you might not notice them but they're actually there. And they're helping control rodent populations and as long as you're able to protect them, they will do that for you," said Stella McMillan, a state wildlife official speaking to CBS 13.
Rats coming out to the park to steal water from dogs
Tina O'Keefe of Dirty Rats Rodent Removal told NBC, "There's no water source for them right now so they're going outside to get it. They eat plants. They eat meat. They're going to the dog park because there are water bowls. They're going to horse stables because there's water."
Heron Head Park, which is situated just south of San Francisco, is one example where rats are coming out and taking water from dogs.
"This has not happened before," Renee Dunn Martin of the Port of San Francisco told the San Francisco Chronicle.
"It's an open space, and a natural habitat for a lot of creatures, but regarding the rats, we are definitely on top of that issue and doing our best to address it," Dunn Martin emphasized.
Written by L.J. Devon (Natural News)
Featured image: Brown rat by Jean-Jacques Boujot (CC - Flickr)