This will take a few minutes reading. However, understanding the ways of rats and why they come into your house and garden in the first place. Helps make sense of the methods outlined in this article to deter and get rid of them.
Rats are never far away from our homes! We are there source of food and shelter. If you have recently seen one in or near your home or garden then it is likely to be living nearby and is searching for food, access and shelter. It is unlikely to be alone either, rats live in extended family groups.
Let's look in a bit more detail at what food rats eat, type of shelter rats need and the access we provide for rats to get into our home and garden. And how to get rid of rats.
They eat all the stuff we eat.... And more.....
Rats choose to live somewhere that is dry, offers protection from predators mainly cats and dogs and with reasonably access to food.
The list could be endless, but shelter alone will not attract rats they need food too I/E, a shed in the middle of a field won't sustain rats, whereas the same shed in the middle of a farm will. Simple really isn't it. Cut off the rats access to food.
Rats are poor climbers, but make up for that in the clever ways they get into your home. Using ivy and similar climbers to climb up and in, even using a down pipe as a back rest to climb between the wall and the pipe. Full-grown rats can squeeze through a 3/4 inch gap.
Rats are attracted to your home because they want a safe place to live and breed, protected from predators and with plenty of food. Blocking access to food and shelter will help get rid of rats and stop them returning. However, following these tips blocking access for rats will help put your mind at rest too.
Rats will only feel welcome in your garden and home if you welcome them, by providing food, safe shelter and easy access. Make them as unwelcome as you reasonably can. Cutting out the supply of food is the best way to make your home unwelcoming to rats.
If you think you have rats in your garden or even your house, you probably have! Whilst staking out a garden where the householder suspected rats might be living I saw about 20 rats all scurrying about together.
Before we look at ways to trap or poison rats, a few more facts about them;
The Pros and Cons are;
Rat poison. Pros: Poisoning can be a very effective way of dealing with rat infestations. Cons: Can be a problem where children and pets are present. You also have no control over where the poisoned rat will eventually die. Indoors you could be left with the foul smell of a rotting rat carcass in a wall or ceiling cavity.
Live Rat traps. Pros: Trapping rats is my favoured solution, but remember rats are very wary of anything new or out of routine. So the traps will need to be left for at least a week for the rats to get used to them. Cons: The downside to using the live trapping method is you will be left with a live rat to kill humanely.
Snap traps. The old-fashioned wooden snap trap that kills the rat outright is the most effective method I have found in testing over many years. Pros: When the correct size is used correctly it kills rats quickly and effectively. Traps are reusable and are basically effective forever until they're sprung, so they can be left in "problem areas" semi-permanently. Cons: Can occasionally fail to kill outright and cause non fatal injury and bleeding. Possible to hurt yourself if the trap is sprung accidentally.
As we discussed earlier in this article over the long-term deterring rats by removing or denying access to all food and shelter is the best permanent solution.
Live rat trap.
Live trapping allows you to humanely kill the rat or remove it well away from your property so you know it has gone.
Bearing in mind the habits and routines of rats we have discussed earlier. Place the rat trap on the route the rat takes to get to food. The more traps you set the more chance you will have of catching them.
Rats are very wary of new objects and will avoid them to start with, be patient and don't move them, an old object becomes a new one if you move it.
You can tempt the rats into the traps using bait. Anything edible will work including bread, chocolate, biscuits, fruit, I would avoid meat as you may attract more flies than rats.
Check the traps at least once a day and when you catch a rat humanely kill it as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary suffering. Follow link for More information about this trap here.
The spring-loaded snap trap is a proven, effective way to trap rats. Snap traps work by snapping a metal wire over the rat's neck when it tries to grab the bait. It is important to choose a rat trap that's big enough to kill the rats, using traps that are too small may maim the rat without killing it or lead to a protracted death from strangulation. I use the heavy-duty snap trap here.
Tracking the rats-run.
You think you have seen a rat in the garden or heard a rat gnawing or scurrying around within a cavity wall or loft at night, ugh! And you now want to trap or poison it. Firstly, you will need to find out where it is living and feeding and the route it takes getting from one to the other. The route may lead to neighbouring properties.
One way is to quietly position yourself at sunset and watch what happens. Rats have regular routines and you will get a fairly good idea of where to place the trap or poison.
Rats will also leave droppings in the house and remains of nesting materials and food they have carried to the area and this can help locate the rat. Never handle rat droppings as they could contain disease organisms. Always wear disposable gloves and wash your hands thoroughly.
However, there is an easier way....
A lot easier and quicker way to track rats is to use the fluorescent tracking dust featured here, it is really useful in detecting rat activity. You sprinkle a small amount where you think the rat is active and then when it's dark inspect using an UV torch. The effect is a bit scary seeing how active rats can be during the night. This will confirm entry points to the house and in dry weather can be used in the garden too.
More information about using Flourescent tracking dust at the bottom of this page or by clicking on the picture.
Finding out how rats get into your property and where they go, to enable you to place the traps in the best place, can be difficult. Sitting and watching in the dark or setting CCTV to record the rats scurrying around you property can work, However, by far the easiest way is to use fluorescent tracking dust. The powder shows you exactly where the rats and mice have been and where they are going.
If you have got an hour to spare, read this online book of the account of the life and experiences of an expert Rat-Catcher named Mr. Ike Mathews who caught rats as a professional for about 25 Years in the 1800s First Published in 1898.