Rodents are found everywhere- in homes, offices, bushes, schools, market places, shops etc. They are always with and around us. Not surprising to see a rat or a couple of them run past the living room, pick up some food fragments from the floor and dash off to the kitchen to see “what’s cooking”. Right in there all sorts are done, especially when no one is in sight and the light is off. During such time, the rat has all the time in the world to survey everything it ran muster strength to handle for self’s sake.

With occasional “human intrusion” it flees to hiding where it can watch what’s going on, with much hesitation to go out too soon. But for the brave one, or perhaps by grown familiarity with the house owner, it jumps out as if to say nothing is going to happen. The perceived permission from the house owner (as the rat’s instinct suggests) makes the rat invite other rat friends to come to party.

Sometimes, the rat may not find it funny with the house owner who might be fed up with the reckless littering of the kitchen or book shelf or wardrobe and the irritating accompanying smell from urination and defecation, and an option of vengeance is imminent. Wielding an object of punishment or death, as the case may be, by the house owner like stick, broom, foot wears etc suggests a quick run for cover. But such escapade may turn out ugly, as it is sometimes, for the rat(s) that may be caught.

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This scenario has been the usual in many homes. And for crying out loud the possibility of eating rat-infested food is imminent. Or does Lassa fever not echo in your memory with this? Yes, it should. Many people have paid the price of suffering death from this infection, known to be cause by special rats, (of the genus Mastomys, also known as multi-mammates).

We would not go into that now but we must ensure this piece enable us find preventive measures to put to practice in keeping the rodents away. Prevention, as often said, is better than cure. And that is what we intend doing with this piece.

Let see how the following ways could help out:

Rodents are attracted by food litters- by the smell and sight- and the strong sense of smell they have will enable them get to it in no time. So, ensure dining area and tables are cleaned of any food left overs. Same applies to the Kitchen, pots and plates containing cooked food- all must be kept away from reach or dispensed with. Adult and children alike must watch their hands off the smell of food handled in quick time.

Rodents are generally small and that stand a good “competitive advantage” over larger animals to wander in through holes, gaps, openings, cracks etc. House owners must be wary of these and ensure all loopholes are fixed.

Not forgetful of the potency of sewage tanks (soak-aways) and receptacles as hiding places for rodents. The natural habitat for rodents is the bush, from where they migrate to the surrounding area outside the house before possible entry is meditated.

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Every house owner must ensure keeping a bush-free environment; and also putting in place a tight lid for septic tanks. Blocking all holes, crevices, openings, etc, is a must-do for all home owners to keep rodents at bay.

To crown it all, make it a point of duty to fumigate your house once in 3 months. That is to say your house fumigation program should be done 4 times minimally in a year. At such times, ensure all food materials are kept far away from contact with the fumigant. You cannot afford to do harm to yourself, family and possible guests, as you intend to do to those “intruders”.

Keeping rodents away is a necessity for everyone, especially in West Africa, where rats of the genus Mastomys (Lassa virus host) are believed to be found. Do yourself a world of good with this and rodents will be reduced if not wiped out completely. Hence, our world would be free from the problems associated with rats.

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