Do rats dig holes?

A simple answer is yes. Rats have the ability to burrow through walls, in the ground, in lawns, in the garden or even through wood.

Why do rats dig holes?

• To create a hidden passage way from their dwelling place to the source of food. For instance, if a rat lives in a nearby bush to a dumpsite, it would be easier to travel the distance underground without many obstacles as compared to the open where it will have to cross paths with people and other animals.
• These burrows also act as their protective safe havens from their enemies and predators. In this case, the burrows are usually located in a hidden place like under bushes and vegetation or under rocks, in the corner of the house where they cannot be easily discovered.
• They dig burrows to create nests so that they can live there. The nesting burrows are deep enough to prevent being found easily by their predators. Before reaching the nest, the rats form a network of pathways, just like a puzzle, to provide for multiple escape routes in case they are ambushed by an enemy. However, there is only one entry hole with several other holes for emergency exit.
• They nurse their young ones in these burrows. This is preferably done when temperatures are moderate. Under too high temperatures or too cold temperatures, the rats will burrow deep below the frost line to create their nests here. But in extreme cases which may disrupt or hinder their day to day activities, rats will abandon their underground burrows and look for alternative place to nurture their young ones to maturity.

What differentiates rat holes from other animals’?
The holes are usually 2 to 4 inches wide. The dirt from the hole during excavation is placed outside the opening in a fan-shaped manner, unlike other animals for instance the moles which form a mound at the opening. In normal circumstances, the holes are not deeper than 18 inches unless if the rats are trying to dig beneath a foundation, and are 36 inches long. For the emergency exits, they are a bit smaller in diameter and are well hidden under objects like rocks or lightly covered with dirt.

Rats’ burrows are usually found under rocks, concrete slabs in thick ground vegetation or under low thick shrubs or bushes.

An active burrow can be identified by filling the main entrance with debris or paper materials or by collapsing it completely, and if rats still live in the burrow, on returning a little later, the opening is already restructured afresh. This behaviour makes it hard to close up their burrows, especially if they are around homes, as they will dig p other ones. The best way is to evacuate them first before filling up the burrows.

Read the How to get rid of rats page for helpful information and to learn more about Do rats dig holes?

Do rats dig holes?

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