Rodents are the largest order of mammals on the planet, and they’re found all over the world. We have 22 types of rodents in Alabama alone, six of which will try to get in your home to seek shelter and food.
How rodents enter your home, where they live and how they forage for food are all affected by their size. So just how big can rats get? Let’s find out!
Just How Big Can Rats Get?
Rats are the big cousins of mice that aren’t nearly as cute. But exactly how big can they get? One of the best places to answer that question is New York City, a place where rats have been infamous for centuries.
There’s a widespread myth that in the Big Apple rats can get as big as cats. But a recent study by researchers at Fordham University debunked that overgrown urban legend. While studying how hundreds of rats colonize, the researchers were able to determine just how large the rodents can get, and it’s still pretty scary.
Common black rats may not be as big as cats, but they can grow to up to 18” including the tail. The largest rat Fordham University captured was around 1.5 pounds and much larger than a grown man’s hand. Based on physiology the researchers theorize the biggest a rat could get would be two pounds. On average rats weighed about half a pound.
How Size Affects Rodent Behavior
Like other mammals, a rodent’s size can influence their behavior. One of the most obvious examples is how rodents access an area. Rats and mice are amazingly good at squeezing into small spaces no matter how big they are. As long as their head can fit through a hole, rats can get in because their ribs are hinged and can fold up. But since rats are bigger they’ll scratch, claw and chew to make an opening wider.
Here are a few other ways size affects how rodents behave.
- Quiet as a church mouse doesn’t apply to the way rats roam around. You’re more likely to hear rats because they’re bigger and make more noise as they run through walls with their long claws.
- Because of their small size, rodents like mice have to build insulated nests for warmth. The nests can either be flat or covered for extra heat.
- Smaller mice also reproduce more quickly and more frequently. Larger Norway rats gestate 21-24 days and babies are fully developed with fur at 15 days. Mice, on the other hand, gestate for 19-20 days and babies are covered in fur after just 10 days.
- Larger rats will also kill smaller mice. It’s behavior known as muricide. This usually occurs due to hunger but can also be influenced by environmental and social conditions.
Are you dealing with a rodent infestation that you can’t control on your own? Our small rodent removal service can get rid of even the biggest rats. Call us today to get more information on our removal services or to schedule an inspection!