RAT FACT ONE: Rats carry at least 60 communicable diseases, including Hantavirus, leptospirosis, typhus and meningitis. Know to bite people when they’re sleeping, rats transfer diseases through saliva, including rat-bite fever which causes symptoms like fever, vomiting and joint pain and can be fatal if left untreated.
RAT FACT TWO: Rats can tread water for three days and survive being flushed down a toilet. Worse, they can return to the building they were ‘flushed’ from via the same route.
Once mice and rats discover a barn or other farm building, they move in and wreak havoc. These rodents create a number of problems, including:
Problem 1: Contamination — Barn mice, even in the smallest numbers, contaminate hay needed for livestock. Even if just two mice are active inside a barn for six months, they can devour as much as four pounds of grain and leave up to 18,000 droppings. Rat and mouse droppings are the most damaging because they contaminate food, water, and other supplies.
If you do end up with mice or rats in your outdoor barn space, here are some safety tips to keep in mind. Following these tips will help ensure diseases and other bacteria aren’t spread as you work to eradicate the infestation:
Safety Tip 1 -- Disinfect areas where mice and rats have been — If you suspect mice and rats have defecated or been present in a particular part of a barn or outbuilding, don rubber gloves and wipe all the walls, surfaces and objects in that area with a disinfectant solution of 10 percent bleach and 90 percent water.