Do All Rat Species In New York Pose A Potential Public Health Issue?

While many people cannot help but to find some rodents adorable, such as guinea pigs, most rodents are considered less than desirable to have within a home. No rodent is more detested than the rat, and for good reason, as these critters facilitate the spread of disease, and are uniquely filthy. Most of the common rats that people may encounter, either indoors or outdoors, grow to be around 10 to 11 inches in length with a tail measuring around 7 inches in length. As far as everyone is concerned, this is large enough, but, as it happens, there is one rat species that dwells in upstate New York that grows to be around 16 inches in length, and weighs up to a pound as opposed to the common brown rat’s weight of half a pound. This rat is commonly known as the Allegheny woodrat, and unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your attitude, these rats are close to extinction. However, large congregations of these rats are still found infesting homes on occasion.

While brown rats can sometimes grow to be 2 pounds heavy and up to 20 inches long, it is generally agreed that the Allegheny woodrat is a relatively larger-sized rat species, as their average size is comparable to that of the common grey squirrel. In fact, experts claim that this rat species is the second largest member of the native American group of rats, which belong to the Sigmodontinae family. Although these rats are known for infesting latrines, most of which they construct themselves, they are relatively gentle and calm when handled by humans, and they do not often scatter upon being released from traps.

Unlike, their siblings, the Allegheny woodrat species does not generally cause a nuisance within urban and suburban areas, but they still congregate toward feces in rural areas where they can access homes. Not long ago, a historic home in rural Albany was found to contain a basement full of Allegheny woodrats. The rats scattered after the homeowner poured cement into the basement. It is not known for certain what is causing this rat species’ die-off, but experts point to growing raccoon populations that prey on these rats, as well as disease.

Have you ever spotted a rat that did not seem disturbed or threatened by your presence?

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