What Can Rats Chew Through?

It is estimated that there may be as many as 235 million wild rats living in the United States today. There are two primary species – the Norway rat and the roof rat. Norway rats are not actually Norwegian. Both rat species originated in Central Asia and then spread across Europe in the 18th century. They stowed away on ships and found their way to the U.S. in 1775. One interesting characteristic of both species is that their front incisor teeth never stop growing. Due to this fact, rats must continually gnaw or chew on materials to keep their teeth worn down. A common question is, “What can rats chew through?” The answer might surprise you.

Power to chow down

Friedrich Mohs, a German mineralogist, developed a scale in 1812 to measure gemstones and minerals' ability to scratch other materials. The scale ranges from one (the softest) to 10 (the hardest). Rat teeth are ranked 5.5 on this scale, which means their teeth are harder than copper and iron. The jaw muscles of a rat can exert up to 12 tons (or 24,000 pounds) per square inch. By comparison, a great white shark bites with a force of 1.8 to 2 tons per square inch.

Rat proof materials

A rat can chew through anything that’s not harder than their teeth. Below is a list of questions to specifically answer "what can rats chew through."

Can rats chew through wood?

Yes.

Can rats chew through brick?

Yes.

CAN RATS CHEW THROUGH CONCRETE?

Yes, but only if it’s not cured properly.

CAN RATS CHEW THROUGH METAL?

Not likely, unless the material is rusted.

CAN RATS CHEW THROUGH STEEL?

Not likely, unless the material is rusted.

CAN RATS CHEW THROUGH WALLS?

Yes, rats can chew through most materials used for home construction, including wood, vinyl, plastic, sheetrock and aluminum

The hidden danger

One fact unknown to property owners is that rats are the cause of many building fires. In their quest to keep their incisors filed down, they gnaw through electrical wiring. This can cause the wires to short circuit, potentially starting a fire.

It’s very difficult to completely prevent rats from entering your home, but there is assistance available. Call the pest management specialists at Terminix® today.