Rise of the rats

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Rise of the rats

Scurrying in the shadows and lurking under the streets, you can be sure that in any place where there are humans, there are almost certainly rats.

Known for their fierce survival instincts and preference for urban sewers and human dwellings, the damages that rats bring about should not be taken lightly. Besides damaging foodstuffs, rat infestation could cause food poisoning and fatal leptospirosis.

In city centres like Kuala Lumpur and Penang, some experts say there are as many rats as there are humans, while more conservative estimates put the ratio closer to one rat for every four humans.

To full understand how the rise of the rats has happened, you must understand the staggering rate that they reproduce.

Swipe the images below to see how quickly two rats can breed in an ideal environment

Rat reproduction facts

Will rats outnumber humans?

The speed that rats breed is frightening, but there are many factors that help to stop a population from spiralling out of control.

In a real world scenario, the death rate usually increases as the size of the population grows. Whenever food or space is limited, mortality is high, which partially keeps the rate of population growth in check.

The rise of the rats in numbers

Rentokil saw an increase in rat-related enquiries from 2016 to 2017. In both years, there were spikes of rat call-outs in Apr and Aug.

Based on enquiries made to Rentokil until September 2017.


  • References

    Auerbach, J. (2014). Does New York City Really Have as Many Rats as People?. Significance, Volume 11 (4), p. 22–27. (link)

    Chace, Z. and Dzotsi, E. (2016). Becoming A Badger. This American Life. (link)

    Long, J.L. (2003). Introduced Mammals of the World: Their History, Distribution and Influence.

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