They're a nuisance that plague every community, but we might be winning the turf war here in Winnebago County.
They can hold their breath for three minutes, jump three feet and make the average person squirm. Rats are nature's little bandits and Chuck Alvarado of Burr Pest Control sums them up in a sentence.
"They're pretty smart, they're trap shy, they'll avoid traps, so it takes time to catch them, so you have to be persistent," says Chuck.
And maybe it's the persistence that's kept problems, rat problems, at bay in Winnebago County.
"Knock on wood, we really haven't had that many complaints about rats in general in the past year. We had 23 this year. The year before we had 41 and that's out of approximately 10,000 complaints," says Larry Swacina of the Winnebago County Health Department.
"When it's cold they would much prefer to have shelter and so they seek a pile of rubbish or if there's a crack in the home, they'll try to get in," says Swacina.
The presence of garbage and other refuse allows rats to exist in residential areas. Good sanitation certainly won't eliminate rats under all conditions, but it will make the environment less suitable for them to thrive.
Make sure the outside of your home remains clean and seal up all the cracks and openings around your house that could welcome a cold rat inside.