Rats are found all over the world. For example, the rice-field rat is found in Southeast Asia, the Australian swamp rat is found in Eastern Australia, and the Norway rat, also called brown rats, is found on every continent of the world except Antarctica. The brown and the house rat are the most common rats in the world because they have taken boats to every country over the past few centuries. House rats typically like warmer climates, while brown rats live in temperate climates. They typically live anywhere humans live. Many rat species also live in trees.


Overall, rats live to forage and mate. Most rats are nocturnal, though the brown rat is often awake day or night. Rats usually stick together in groups called packs. New packs are formed when a male and female go off on their own and nest in an area that doesn’t already contain a pack. Brown rats are usually led by the largest male in the pack. Other rats may have several dominant males or females in a pack. Rats can live in burrows up to three meters deep but when the first frost sets in and food becomes scarce they can be forced to leave their home and seek an alternative nesting site. If you have rats nesting nearby and there is an entry point to your home or premises, there is a real threat from a rodent invasion.


The brown rat , has an average home range of 25 to 100 feet from its nest. The rat will typically travel that distance at night looking for food and water. Rats living close to available food will have a shorter range, and some unlucky rats will travel several hundred feet each night to find food. Other factors such as the season and population density also affect the home range of a rat population. Rats that normally live in rural areas or farmland fields may have seasonal migrations, leaving the harvested fields in the fall and moving closer to man and buildings until the spring when they return to the newly planted fields.

As to how close rat nests might be — like any animal, rats prefer to live close to a reliable food source. Brown rats would not likely be living in your garage, but they could be living under it. Unlike mice, who can build nests almost anywhere inside, brown rats prefer to live outside in dirt burrows. And, they like to dig those burrows under foundations, porches, sidewalks, woodpiles, or at the edge of other large objects on the ground. However, rats are not above entering your garage if food is available. If your garbage can area or your garage provides reliable food for them, they will also have a burrow as close as they comfortably can.

They begin searching for food shortly after sunset. If you see them in daylight, it’s often an indication of a large rat population with limited food. If the food is in an exposed area or is too large to be eaten quickly, rats will carry it to a hiding place before eating it.

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