Fearless rats are sneaking into homes ‘through toilets and letterboxes’

Rats have lost all fear of humans and have taken to invading homes by climbing into toilets and even through letterboxes, say pest control experts.

Bosses at Rentokil said that there has been a 22 per cent rise in call-outs to deal with rats over the past month and that the rodents are now 'so brave' they go scavenging for food in broad daylight.

Worryingly, pest controllers on the ground have told chiefs that the rats they are finding are 'more confident' – with householders saying the rodents are coming into their homes through their letterboxes and toilets.

Rentokil say many of their operatives have reported that rats are less likely to turn tail and run these days – with some standing their ground and eyeballing them.

A company spokesman said: "Rats have also increasingly been seen in broad daylight, despite being nocturnal creatures.,

"This suggests businesses generating less waste during the lockdown period in the first half of this year, combined with larger nest sizes, has forced rodents to search for food during the day.

"The increase in enquiries could be attributed in part to the mild winter experienced last year, which may have extended the rodent breeding season."

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He said the worst may yet be to come: "This could also mean that a larger population of rats will be heading indoors as the weather cools, to search for food, water and safe harbourage."

One mum in Dover, Kent, told how she went to the loo only to find a rat sitting at the bottom of the bowl staring up at her.

She said that when she saw the rat she thought she was going to have a 'heart attack' and closed the door and called Dover District Council to get them to deal with it.

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Rentokil's new PestConnect system helps users track exactly how and when rats come into their business or home.

Data from around the country shows that the most popular time for rats to sneak into a restaurant was 11.47pm, with ten-past midnight the most common time for them to creep into a supermarket and 00.26am the most common to get into a food warehouse.

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The company's Paul Blackhurst said: "Rodent populations increased over the first national lockdown, to the extent that nests are now over-spilling.

"Rats are more often seen during the day if the population has been disturbed and forced to move on, and secondly if the population gets too large then the young males will be ejected from their clan."

He added: "We advise businesses to take proactive measures to prevent pests from taking up residence in their facilities.

"Digital pest prevention technology is particularly useful in the current environment when it is important to avoid unnecessary footfall onsite.

"PestConnect remotely monitors and protects businesses 24/7, providing an alert only when a rodent is detected, so rodent populations can be managed more effectively.”

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