As well as protecting you and yours from the elements, you may also have to be prepared to ward off some particularly unwanted visitors this festive season.
Experts have warned that certain creatures may be seeking shelter in our homes, and these are no ordinary rodents. Along with mice and squirrels, 10-inch rats could be doing their best to infiltrate our walls.
"With forecasters predicting the harshest winter the U.K. has seen in half a century, pest controllers are now advising people to make sure their homes are fully protected against invading rodents," said Paul Bates, Cleankill Environmental Services boss. "At a time when we feel like bolting our doors and keeping winter cold outside, it is hardly surprising that mice, rats and squirrels are trying to join us in our sanctuaries of warmth."
And if any of us have any doubt about what type of house guests 10-inch rats would be, Bates has this further warning: "They will not only scratch, gnaw and rip items apart to make nesting materials, but they will also chew beams and joists, causing structural damage, and through electrical cables, which can cause fires."
To stop giant rats from destroying your house this winter, bear the following tips in mind:
Other useful tips include cleaning out stair cupboards and kitchen units, inspecting pipework for holes, attaching brush strips to doors and giving the loft a once-over for any signs of rats.
Ladbrokes has cut their odds from 4/1 to 7/2 on Britain experiencing its coldest winter for a century after sleet, snow and ice swept across the country.
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