Halifax Pest Control: Are Rats Social Animals?

Are Rats Social Animals

It is easy to think of rats as blundering, solitary animals that also happen to procreate with astonishing speed. However, this picture of them denies credit for how incredibly social, enterprising and resilient they can be. As fellow mammals, rats share a surprising number of traits with us that allow them to quickly colonize new spaces. This is why it is so important to contact rodent removal services as soon as you detect an intrusion. Here are some facts on rat communication and socialization within colonies.

Rats as Test Subjects

While rats lack the complex ability to speak that humans have developed, their social relationships aren’t all that different from ours. At a basic level, they communicate, raise young, bond and procreate just like we do.

Rats have long been test subjects for medications intended for future use on humans. More recently, however, researchers have begun to use them in social experiments that take into account their overall happiness and satisfaction. In one such experiment, for example, researchers found that rats who were allowed access to both cocaine and other friendly rats actually preferred the company of friendly rats. Extrapolating, researchers suggested that troubled humans might perhaps forego drug use if given access to improved social connections.

Rodent Communication

Rodents communicate in simpler ways than humans, but they are still perfectly capable of expressing themselves to form surprisingly complex messages. To succeed, they use a combination of vocalizations, pheromones and body language.

  • Vocalizations can let other animals know where a single animal is, and mother rats use chirps to locate their young. Although scientists are still decoding rat vocalizations, different sounds appear to convey different messages.
  • Pheromones disseminated through urine can affect the behaviour of other animals in many interesting ways, most of which have to do with mating. Male rats often spray a distinctive scent to attract females and deter other males from encroaching on their territories.
  • Just like dogs, apes and “higher” mammals, rat body language can subtlety communicate an animal’s internal state to others. Other physical behaviours like grooming also let other animals know that they are welcome and accepted into a colony.


Rats are famous for their ability to reproduce rapidly and prolifically. In fact, a single breeding pair can found a population of as many as 1,250 in a single year under ideal conditions. Naturally, this level of industriousness requires near-constant communication and socialization. Fortunately, the speed at which a colony can increase depends largely on the availability of food and space. As a homeowner, it is vital that you deny both to prospective rodent residents. As a colony increases in size, it becomes more destructive and difficult to remove.

Rats as Pets

While it is possible to raise a wild rat as a pet, doing so is not recommended, as wild animals can become unruly with age. Wild rats that have matured somewhat may carry diseases that can be dangerous or deadly to humans. On the other hand, domesticated rats can make decent pets who are capable of developing real bonds with their human owners. If you choose to own a domesticated rat, be sure to include a second animal that can serve as a socialization partner.

Pest Control in Halifax

If you have a rat infestation in Halifax, you should contact help as soon as possible. Rats can quickly breed out of control, spread bacteria and invade food stores. After securing your storage areas, a removal professional can work to exclude animals from your home and trap remaining intruders. At Truly Nolen, we understand that permanently removing animals is a comprehensive process that ends with prevention. Call Truly Nolen Halifax today for experienced, professional removal services.