Rodents tend to have the same desires and needs. Rats are attracted to people’s homes for the same reasons as mice; they like the free food on offer and the relative warmth and security that human habitats provide. As mammals, rats need to maintain a warm body temperature, which can be difficult during the winter. Winter also means less food, which further drives rats indoors looking for any scraps they can get their paws on.
But food and warmth aren’t the only things that can attract rats to your home. For example, they prefer messy homes that provide them with plenty of material to build their nests with and hide from humans, cats, and other predators. Of course, if any of the mess in your home is edible, that’s a bonus for rats and other rodents.
Well-insulated homes will also attract rats. Warmth and shelter are essential for their survival; they benefit from good insulation just as much as we do. But unlike mice, rats are pretty happy building their nests outside the properties they scavenge from. If you have piles of wood or leaves in your garden or dense shrubbery they can hide in, these make ideal shelters for nesting rats.
Compost piles can also act as a magnet to rats, especially if they contain lots of discarded remnants of fruits and vegetables. The more people there are in your home, the more critical it is to ensure you properly secure your bins. That means bagging up all the rubbish and tieing the bags off so rodents can’t get in easily. You also need to be able to close the lids entirely and keep them securely shut. Mice and rats can squeeze through gaps much smaller than their bodies, and once they’re in your bins, they will keep coming back for more.