Rats have a horrible reputation throughout history and for good reason. They are incredible survivors that can live off of feces and carrion. They are one of nature’s ultimate survivors but it comes with a price. Rats are massive vectors for disease and are responsible for millions of deaths throughout history.
The “Black Death” or bubonic plague is probably one of the most horrific examples of how rats can spread massive disease and cause the death of millions of people. It is for good reason that rats are vilified and calling someone a “rat” was, at one time in history, a deep insult.
Later explorers and traders transported those same rodents to the shores of the New World where they have continued to spread their disease. Norway rats are a common vermin that we here in the mountain states have to deal with, and just like the age-old adage they do “breed like rats” and if you do not get to work they can cause plenty of damage to your crops and food producing animals.
How do rats cause that damage and spread disease? Rats can and do live off feces, this bacteria infested “poop”, then clings to their feet and fur that later gets spread to other places that they travel to, like your food storage. They also carry fleas that themselves are vectors of disease, those fleas are what are credited for the cause of the plague in medieval Europe, and rats gave them the ride.
Rats also have veracious appetites and will eat you out of house and home, and the more they eat the more they breed. They also “sh#t where they eat” which means they will contaminate your food and water, opening you up to any number of diseases which in an emergency situation with limited supplies is a killer.
In a long-term emergency situation, disease will kill far more people than marauding zombies or starvation. It is imperative that when you are preparing for an emergency situation, you also gain knowledge on how to eradicate vermin that will make you and your family sick. Killing these pests will also protect your stored food from getting eaten and contaminated, as well as protecting your food producing gardens and livestock.