Pet waste may be a gross and unsightly mess nobody enjoys picking up, but that’s not all. In developed areas, doggie deposits left on the ground can also serve as a steady, abundant food source for rats and other rodents.
An unwanted neighbor in any community, the presence of rodents can decrease the property values of all nearby homes and presents a host of additional health concerns to residents and their pets. Rats, for instance, as well as their urine or feces, have been linked to a number of diseases that can easily be passed to humans, including leptospirosis, typhus, rat-bite fever and salmonellosis.
While rats are typically associated with big cities, they can also live prosperous lives in the suburbs as well.
Once these rodents have taken up residence, they can be remarkably difficult to evict. This is because rats have an uncanny ability to survive (and even thrive) in inhospitable environments. Rats will eat nearly any type of food; they can climb brick or stucco; swim as far as half a mile; gnaw through wood, metal, plastic and cinderblock; and they can squeeze themselves through holes as small as a quarter. Rats are also successful colonists, reproducing four to seven times per year, with the average litter containing eight to twelve offspring that can reach maturity in as little as eight weeks.
In particular, rats only need three things to survive: Food, water and shelter, all of which they are experts at finding. In neighborhoods without restaurants or commercial dumpsters, and where uncovered trash is not a widespread problem, pet waste often becomes a primary food source for rodents.
With this in mind, best action pet owners can take to prevent rats and other rodents from becoming new residents in their community is to make sure their pets are always picked up after. Pet owners who do not have enough time to deal with the waste – or simply don’t want to – should consider hiring a local pet waste removal service to handle the dirty work.
When it comes to rats, the best defense is a good offense.