Can Rats Swim?

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Most people will think of rats as animals that live on the ground or on dry land, but in many cases people will underestimate the swimming abilities of these talented rodents. Indeed, some species of rats are such good swimmers that they actually prefer to spend their time in the water rather than on the ground. This also leads to some stories in the cities, particularly in older apartment buildings, of rats actually being able to climb into apartments through the toilets via the sewerage system, which certainly isn't a pleasant thought.

The Habitats Of Rats In Urban Areas

Many rats who are living in urban areas will actually spend much of their time in the sewers and the waterways that flow below the streets of the city itself. For this reason they do have to be able to swim to survive in this kind of habitat, while in many cases they will also be able to find additional food sources in the rivers and streams and other underground waterways.

The Swimming Abilities Of Different Rat Species

Although rats are generally quite good at swimming, there are some species of rat that are better than others, and this can depend on a variety of their physical features and how frequently they are required to swim. The brown rat is one of the most adept at swimming, while black rats which tend to be a little more likely to be dwelling on dry land are not quite so strong in the water.

Rats That Hunt In The Water

There are several species around the world that are particularly good at hunting in the water, and these will usually be among the most talented swimmers in the range of rat species. One of these which is found in swamps and around waterways is the Marsh Rice Rat, which can eat fiddler crabs, small fish and even juvenile turtles in the Southern States, while in South America the Greater Marsh Rat is another species that is talented at hunting in the water.

The Impact Of Rats On Water Containers

One thing worth considering if you discover a rat infestation is if you keep water containers that collects water, because if these don't have a lid on them you may find that rats will be attracted to the water. If this is then used as drinking water or as water for pets or domesticated animals, diseases transmitted by the rats can then be passed on to other animals.

Go back to the Rat Removal page or read my guide for How to get rid of rats.

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