Well!, We have another Brown rat in the garden, had 2 young ones earlier on in the year, a contractor is building houses on land bought from a farmer near the actual farm where farm buildings have been knocked down, and there has been a grand exodus of rats crossing the road into the housing estate and spreading out, what's your take on them?, get rid of them, or leave alone? it has chewed through a fence panel on one side of the garden and has dug a hole under the gravel board on the other to give itself access to other gardens, my neighbour to the left has 2 small children who play in the garden, I'm worried about weil's disease and will tell her about the rat. your comments please,
As many rats have spread out from the farm buildings I'm guessing what looks like a small problem now could become something bigger, especially if there are areas to shelter(eg under sheds) and food sources.
Getting rid of them now will not be easy. In a farm building, where the rats could be at least somewhat contained, a few terriers would have done a good job. Spread out in gardens it looks as if poison might be the only way, which has its drawbacks. I have a feeling that would be the response of the local authority if they were contacted.
I have already put some out, I use a Rat Pasta type of poison, it looks like a little individual bag of blue tack, not as big as a tea bag but with the same kind of paper, I have had some good success with it so here's hoping it works this time as well, I still put the hedgehog food out and with the moth trap light on we can keep an eye open for Ratty, and chase it off, when I'm sure it's gone I will fix the hole in the fence and block off the hole under the gravel board by digging mesh down. Duncan
Is Rat Pasta poison safe for other animals? I wonder if other animals might be attracted to it or if there is a danger from an animal eating a dead or dying rat that had consumed the poison. However, I appreciate you wanting to control the rats.
Would it be possible to set killing traps accessible only to the rats?
I come across a few rat runs under the plastic sheets on my allotment. I used to come across old nests that were annoying as they were usually full of chewed up plastic. Yesterday I came across a live nest. I'd wondered why an adult had bolted from near my feet, when a while later I dug up some young. I thought of your post about rats, but mine have been here a while and it's not a very built up area. So I found an old flower pot, put in some sawdust and some of the nest material (no plastic in this one!) and managed to scoop the two young I could see into it. I left it near the undergrowth the adult had fled to and left them for nature.
I have put out a wire cage trap with a lump of pork and peanut butter on it, I love wildlife but when I see three rats in the garden at the same time I have to do something about it, I can't leave the shed or garage door open, I still put out bird seed in the feeders, yes I have put rat pasta poison out in 2 plastic containers specially designed for the job, these are positioned along the side of the back fence near where they have dug a hole under the gravel board from next door (left) and next door (right) has them and the house next to her has seen rats, I have hedgehogs come into the garden every night for their food, (Iv'e not seen a rat at the food as yet) I took the wire trap into the shed for the night and will put it out again in the morning when I do the moths, the hedgehogs cats or birds cannot get into the traps with poison in them, so they are safe. I said before about houses going up where there were farm buildings, the buildings were knocked down and of course the rats that were in those buildings have invaded the gardens of the houses nearest that farm, the brown rat can have up to 5 litters a year, gestation period is only 21 days, litters can number up to 14 although 7 is more common, they reach sexual maturity in about 5 weeks, that's a hell of a lot of rats, Duncan
I am not in favour of poison, but I do agree it has to be used in certain circumstances. Years ago rats were everywhere in the town and spread out to the park and down the river in plague proportions, they soon decimated the ducks,swans, cotes and geese on the lake, taking their eggs and young and down the river the water voles. They even attacked the squirrels and some of the plants suffered by having their roots eaten. Unfortunately the rats were encouraged by people feed the birds on the lake and even throwing food to the rats, which could be seen everywhere. Eventually the council did have to do something about it and poison was laid, signs were put up to try and stop people feeding the bird, squirrel, pigeons and rats. It took a couple of years for the wildlife and flora to recover. Unfortunately nothing seemed to be done about those in the town.I was resorted to using poison.
In rural areas I don't think the matter is serious, as the rats are more likely to hang around where people are, like farms who deal with their problem mainly with cats, a lot of which,unfortunately, become feral. I have caught six so far and had them neutered, but there are still five hanging around here, unfortunately they seem to like peanuts and sultanas which I put out for the Pine Marten, Red Squirrels and Badgers.Thankfully they do not come that often, usually during the night so I see them on my trail cams.
Your problem is that you may do something about the rats but I doubt a lot of neighbours will not and, at the rate they breed it won't be long before the area is overrun.
I have bought several sheets of fine sturdy mesh which I will cut in half and will dig them in alongside the gravel boards and down about 18 inches to try and stop them from digging under the gravel boards, Hopefully that may deter them from digging
That is one thing good about having so many foxes hanging about- I think they see off the rats pretty quickly, (they certainly seem to have caused our woodmice to vanish this summer.)
I've also tried to keep as many of my feeders in cages with mesh trays as I can, in order to try and keep seed from being spilled on the ground. I did see a huge rat several years ago around my neighbour's pond, and that's the last thing I want to encourage!