Why New Zealand's long summer could lead to influx of rats in our homes

It's been a beautiful, hot, dry summer in New Zealand, but winter is just around the corner - and so is an inundation of rats.

"With a longer, hotter summer, it extends the breeding time, so more rats will have bred over that time," Doug Morris, owner of Direct Pest Control, told Newshub on Monday.

With autumn potentially arriving late this year, Mr Morris said rats will continue to thrive, as there's more food for them.

"There are more plants and seeds around for them to eat, so we can expect more rats around at the beginning of winter," he said.

If you want to stop rats infiltrating your home, the recommendation is to keep your grass short, and make sure there are no plants close to your gutters.

"They like to come in to the ceiling, because it's warmer," said Mr Morris

"So keep any tall plants back from the gutter. If you let the grass get too long, that also gives them another habitat they can live in."

And the rats spell bad news for New Zealand's native species.

"[The rats are] not so much a big deal for native plants, but native birds - well the rats need to eat something," Mr Morris told Newshub.

"So in the winter if there's not enough plants around then they will start to look for birds they can eat."



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