Rats and Mice Move in for the Winter


Rats and mice feel the cold too — prompting a rush of rodents to squeeze their way into Tasmanian homes.

Pest management professionals say the state’s long, warm summer provided bumper breeding conditions for rats and mice, but now the swollen numbers are desperate for food and shelter.

Pest controllers are already fielding extra calls about the problem and have warned that the onset of sustained wet weather will hasten the rodents’ determined march indoors.

People have been urged to become extra vigilant by keeping homes tidy, cleaning up around pet food bowls and storing all food in sealed containers.

The rat infestation is affecting buildings all over Hobart with older homes being more susceptible because of gaps and holes but even modern homes are being infested by rats who have found their way into homes through walls and roof cavities.

Even piles of clothes and papers, if left undisturbed for long periods, could become cosy corners for vermin who chew through fibres to make nests.  Mice can squeeze their way into a house through the tiniest of gaps.

Elsewhere in Australia, hundreds of horrified drivers complain of vermin vandals chewing wiring or other parts each year, insurance claims data reveals.  One motorist even blamed rats for brake failure that caused a crash.

Winter is the prime time for vehicle invasion as the rats seek shelter from the chill.

Insurance giant Suncorp Group’s brands, which include AAMI, GIO and APIA, receive about 200 rodent damage claims nationwide every year, and have paid out $3.5 million since 2011. Rats are the main culprits.

Vehicle owners could be susceptible if their cars are parked near infested gardens, garages, homes or workplaces.  Some oils used in plastic coating for wiring appeared more attractive than others.

Suncorp Group spokesman Jake Krausmann said: “Rodents routinely do several thousand dollars’ damage, typically costing $3000 to $4000 to repair”.
Chewed wiring, brake and fuel lines, radiator hoses, and brake fluid and wiper water reservoirs are reported woes.

“Customers have reported a wide range of symptoms including cars not starting, airbag warning lights and other warning lights going on, air conditioning not working properly, brakes not working and vehicles unable to accelerate properly,” Mr Krausmann said.

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