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What Season Are Rats Most Active?


Updated: Dec 29, 2022

Maybe you’ve noticed that rats and other rodents show up in waves. Sometimes, everything is quiet and empty, and other times, you’re constantly spotting or fighting off pests. So during what season are rats most active?

We’ll answer that question, and explain what’s behind the odd schedule that rats adhere to all year round. When you understand how rat activity varies over the year, you’ll have an easier time knowing when and how to prepare your home.

During Which Season Are Rats Active?

Rat activity varies greatly from region to region, since it’s largely influenced by weather and access to food. In most of the United States, rats are most active in fall, when the weather starts to get cooler.

The change in weather triggers rats to start searching for a place to hide in the lead-up to winter. This is when they’re most curious and active about what you have in your home. They’re not only looking for a place to hide, but they’re also looking for food they can stockpile so they can survive the winter.

Some areas even see increased rat activity towards the end of summer, but in California, it usually comes a little later.

Part of what makes rat activity in autumn so acute is that it usually follows their mating season. While rats reproduce all year round, they tend to have more offspring during spring and summer, when the weather is warm and food is plentiful.

To us humans, rat activity seems low during these warmer seasons because rats don’t need indoor shelter quite as desperately. It’s only as things start to cool down that rat activity indoors starts to increase, and we start receiving a lot of calls from worried customers.

Do Rats Hibernate?

Though they might be fuzzy, rats aren’t bears and they do not hibernate. However, they do reduce their activity in the wintertime. The cold weather and lack of easy access to food mean that rats will reduce the amount of energy they expend. Their high-activity season is fall when they prepare for winter. Once winter does come around there’s less rat activity, and you probably won’t see as many of them running around.

How to Prepare for Increased Rat Activity

So how can you avoid an infestation when rat season comes around? Prepare for it in advance, and make sure your home isn’t attractive or accessible to the creatures.

We always recommend the following rat prevention practices:

  • Seal up and remove any potential entryways, like holes and vents. Focus both on the foundation of your home as well as entry points to your roof and attic.
  • Don’t leave food easily accessible. Clean up crumbs and leftovers, and store shelf-stable food in plastic containers or cupboards that rats cannot easily access.
  • Identify potential hiding spots for rats both inside your home and elsewhere on your property.

When is the best time to practice rodent prevention? The answer is as soon as possible. No matter the time of year, it’s also a good idea to keep your home and property sealed, hygienic, and entirely unattractive to rodents.

If it’s too late and you’re already dealing with a rat infestation in your home, building, or yard, our professional, we can help! Our rodent control service will eliminate them quickly and easily. In addition to getting rid of pests, we can also help you identify what’s attracting rats and rodents to your home, so you can prevent future infestations.

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