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In reality, anywhere that you'll find rats you'll find rat babies too. That means in your attic or home, in businesses, outside in the back yard, in sewers - everywhere. They don't have mating or breeding seasons like other animals do, instead breeding all year round, multiple times per year when the situations are just right. They're right more often than you'd think too.
In most animal species, quality over quantity is important for breeding. Females of certain species will literally abandon a youngster if they think there is a chance that youngster will die or is sick. They would much rather pay all of their attention to the other babies in that litter. To continue to feed and care for a baby that is almost certainly going to die would be a waste of resources, and these animals don't have the luxury of wasting food, heat, water, protection, energy, anything -
Rats don't quite think of things in that same way. Rather than focusing on having big and strong youngsters - one or two of them that are likely to survive - rats will have LOTS of babies. They opt for quantity over quality instead. When you have as many babies in one go as rats do, and then repeat that process many times throughout the year, you have a recipe for success - at least a few of them will successfully grow up to be an adult and reproduce themselves.
A single female rat can have as many as six or seven litters in one year if the conditions are suitable. This means that they need to have a safe and comfortable place to make a nest, plenty of food close by, and a steady source of fresh water too. If they have everything they need to successfully breed, they will do just that.
In each of those six or seven litters, a single female rat can have up to twelve pups - baby rats. Not all litters will have 12 pups, of course; some of them will only have five, some may have ten, and not all of the youngsters that are born are expected to survive.
In one year, a single female rat can have 6 x 12 baby rats = 72 baby rats.
Those baby rats will become sexually active at four to six weeks of age, and they are only pregnant for around two to three weeks. Imagine if only half of those original 72 baby rats were female - 36 rats. They ALL have the potential to go on and have six individual litters of 12 pups each in any one year period too.
In short, rats breed fast. Much faster than you can get rid of them if you use any other method than kill/snap traps.
Go back to the Rat Removal page, or learn tips to do it yourself with my How to Get Rid of Rats guide.