Rat Facts & Information

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Vancouver Rats

Rats are the most destructive pests in the world and the most common pest in the Lower Mainland. They can spread disease, damage structures and contaminate food sources. The following are some more rat facts and rat information for Vancouver homeowners:


Urban: The Norway Rat and the Roof Rat are not native species of North America. They were brought here on ships by early explorers and quickly invaded the continent due to their adaptability and fertility. They now persist as urban pests and can find shelter in, on or under almost any structure.


Very frequent: Female rats are in heat every 4 - 5 days and can be in heat again within 48 hours of giving birth. The gestation period is between 21 and 23 days.

Litter size: Female rats produce litters between 5 and 12 pups depending on the species. Amazingly, female rats can produce as many as 7 litters per year which means up to 84 offspring per year.

Sexual maturity: Newborn rats reach maturity very quickly and can reach sexual maturity in as little as 3 months..

These breeding characteristics are the main reason why rats are so persistent in urban settings.

Food and Feeding

Frequency: Rats feeds every day and are known to store considerable amounts of food to eat later.

Time of day: Rats are most active at night.

Diet: They are omnivores which means they will eat both plants and animals as a primary food source. They prefer meats, eggs, fish, flour, fruits, vegetables, seeds, grains and any other food products that are typically found in the garbage.

Morphology and Lifestyle

  • Body length: 6 - 10 in
  • Tail length: 6 - 10 in
  • Weight: Between 6 and 17 ounces
  • Lifespan: Typically 1 - 3 years but some may live up to 4 years

Did You Know?

  • Rat fact: Rats can squeeze through holes the size of a Loonie.
  • Rat fact: Rats urinate as they travel to mark their path.
  • Rat fact: Due to rats breeding and inbreeding practices - two rats in a vacant warehouse with ample food supply can populate into more than 1000 rats in one years time.
  • Rat fact: Rats are afraid of new objects in their environment which can make them very difficult to trap.
  • Rat fact: Rats can swim as far as 1km in open water and sometimes through sewer lines exiting into ground floor toilets.
  • Rat fact: Rats are excellent jumpers and can leap 36 inches vertically and 48 inches horizontally.
  • Rat fact: Rats can fall from a height of 50 feet without getting seriously injured.

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