There are very few duos that are as iconic as rats and cheese. We’ve all heard about it, we’ve all seen it on TV, but the truth is not as it seems. The truth is that rats are not really that fond of cheese, especially when they have other options. Let’s take a look at this “rats love cheese” myth and how it impacts pest control.
The origins of the myth that rats love cheese
Don’t get us wrong, rats do eat cheese – it’s filled with protein and fats. But they are not that fond of it. In fact, believe it or not, they do not like the smell. They are much more attracted to nuts, meats, and processed foods such as peanut butter. So where does the myth that rats love cheese come from?
It is believed that the myth originated in the medieval ages in Europe. Ideal rat foods such as meats and grains were stored in inaccessible areas and containers. Cheese, however, was often stored in caves, sheds or cupboards, so it was much more readily available to rodents. As such, rats would often go for the cheese and not for other foods. Naturally, people believed that rats really love cheese, and since then, it became a part of folklore and entertainment.
Disproving the myth
The myth has been disproved as early as 2006, when during a study from the University of Manchester, researchers tested out different types of food to discover which one the rats preferred. What they found is that cheese was not at the top of the list when it comes to food. Furthermore, people who keep rats as pets are recommended to reduce the quantity and type of cheeses that they feed their rats, since certain types of cheeses can harm the rodents.
So what is the rats’ ideal food?
While rats will not be excited about cheese, they love peanut butter. Peanut butter is their favorite food, and it makes sense if you think about it. Peanut butter is super high in calories, protein and fats. It’s a superfood for both people and rodents. On top of that, rats are naturally drawn to nuts in the wild, so it adds that extra punch as well. This is useful information for pest control professionals, who need to bait their traps and poisons appropriately. If you have a rat infestation, or if you have any questions about rats, contact us today.