The gnawing characteristic of rodents is due to their four prominent incisors that project from the front of their mouths, two in the center of the upper jaw and two in the center of the lower one. Their incisors grow throughout the rodent’s entire life, about five inches a year, and are worn down by gnawing. Rodents must gnaw to survive and they are the only mammals with teeth that never stop growing. Rodents will die if their teeth are not worn down. Either its jaws would lock together and they would starve or the lower incisors would drill through the roof of its mouth piercing its brain.
The edges of their uppers and lower incisors rub together, making their teeth self-sharpening and self-wearing. Their teeth are so razor sharp that they can gnaw through the hardest of substances including lead pipes, cinder blocks, solid wood doors, a four-inch-thick slab of concrete, even a half-inch thick sheet of iron. Rats have gnawed through iron cabinets to access food. By chewing through electrical wires, rats have caused many house fires. Rats and other rodents are believed to be the cause of 25-40% of all house fires through chewing wiring and creating nests of flammable materials like paper, cloth, and other bedding in confined areas. An adult rat’s jaws are 20 times more powerful than a person’s, biting down with a force of 24,000 psi, about the same as a crocodile’s jaws. The bite of rat can easily cut through bone. Rats can and will attack people if they sense that they are defenseless such as the elderly, disabled, and infants. In two tragic rat attacks in 2009, a baby in Louisiana bled to death after being attacked by rats in her crib and in Ohio, rats chewed off the toes of a 6-week old infant.
Gnawing is one of the key tell-tail signs of the presence of rats. Gnawing may be visible on doors, ledges, in corners, in wall material, on stored materials, or other surfaces wherever rats are present. Fresh accumulations of wood shavings, insulation, and other gnawed material indicate active infestations. You usually don’t see rats in action. Rats are nocturnal, doing their business at night so that they can hide from predators. If they are seen during the day when rat populations are high, food is scarce, and they are desperate for a meal. If you see rats scurrying around during the daytime, you should assume that there is a high, entrenched rat population that is competing for food.
If you think rats or other rodents have invaded your home, contact the pest control professionals at Cowleys Pest Services right away. We are New Jersey's experts, serving Woodbridge, Edison, Lakewood, Trenton, Brick, Toms River, Old Bridge, Middletown, Princeton Junction, Piscataway and the surrounding region.