There's a rat in my garden...what am I going to do!?!

(31 Posts)
wiccamum Sun 16-Oct-16 17:20:39

Help needed! Lived in my house for around 5 years, and worked tirelessly on the garden. We now have two lovely outbuildings (big shed and garden office), veg patch, small pond, fruit trees and gorgeous lawn. We cleared tons of rubbish when we first moved in, and Dh always keeps,on top of everything as far as maintenance goes...so far, so good.

But for the first time ever, this year we have spotted rats about the place! First time was earlier this year. The got under the shed and went for the wild bird food we had in there. She'd was a bit knackered so we got rid, dug up new foundations and installed a better quality shed. We got rid of the bird food and now only buy as we need it. Problem solved.

But now, over the last week or two, we keep seeing a brown rat running out of one of the hedges, and across the lawn. It seemed to be attracted to the bird table. We have cleaned away all traces of bird food, checked bins, done everything we should do. We have even written a letter to all the neighbours, letting them know and Offering suggestions (such as some of the things we have already done) as I know some of them are keen on putting food out for birds and hedgehogs.

Anything else I should do? Anyone else had a rat pop up out of the blue?
Also, I feel bad for other wildlife! I can't feed the birds and winters coming! I also can't risk chemicals/traps as I don't want to poison cats, and I have two dogs.

wiccamum Sun 16-Oct-16 17:21:35

Sorry "shed" not "she'd". Sorry for typos!

Lilacpink40 Sun 16-Oct-16 17:23:31

Watching as my neighbour has reported seeing rats in her garden.

wiccamum Sun 16-Oct-16 17:25:19

Lilacpink40, did you get a neatly typed letter through the door today? Might have been me!...I may be outed 😳😆

Qwebec Sun 16-Oct-16 19:07:46

Can't say much about rats, but don't feel bad for the wild life. rat bird feeders can be damaging for them. Where I live plenty of people put out food for the birds, but wildlife specialists are against it. It messes with their migratory patterns, natural behaviors and makes the creatures dependant on us. If you absolutely want to feed them, the most best way is to grow plants that have seeds at the right season.

I would call the exterminators to see what they suggest.

wiccamum Sun 16-Oct-16 19:22:28

Thanks Qwebec, I never viewed feeding birds in that way. We built one of those bug hotels, to encourage creepy crawlies, so I suppose the birds can feast on those!

The other sad thing was we were hoping to get some chickens next year, from a local rehoming charity. But I have read about rats stealing their eggs and biting their feet 😢. And any stored food would just encourage the little lighters back. I'm hoping the neighbours will get back to us of any reported sightings, then on to the council tomorrow. Apparently we have a legal duty to report sightings to local councils, and they have a duty to send round an exterminator...who knew!

wiccamum Sun 16-Oct-16 19:25:02

On the plus side, my dogs are on to the little bastards! My spaniel cross has discovered her natural instincts...the fluffy menace is toast 😏

Tigresswoods Sun 16-Oct-16 19:27:16

What are you going to do? You're going to call your local council who will send someone out to deal with the problem.

There you go.

Vvlgari Sun 16-Oct-16 19:27:51

We had rats in the garden, we put down poison blocks and it seems to have sorted it. Don't bother with traps, they're useless in my experience. Failing that, a dog or cat will put them nesting in the garden.

wiccamum Sun 16-Oct-16 19:50:39

Calm down Tigress, I was just putting it out there to see if someone had SUCCESSFULLY delt with a similar problem. Do you think a local council has a magic fucking wand? Rats are notoriously difficult to get rid of...as you can see from my post, I have attempted before.

wiccamum Sun 16-Oct-16 19:52:09

And thank you Vvlgari for some constructive advice...there you go

blondieminx Sun 16-Oct-16 20:02:53

I used a trap baited with Nutella to successfully get rid of a rat in my garage which had been chewing my garden furniture and all sorts of other things (the rubbish is all in secure bins).

Flumpnugget Sun 16-Oct-16 20:10:46

Afraid we've had rats on and off for last 10 years. Council rat-man advised once rats have been, they leave a scented trail that other rats pick up and follow. They come into our out-buildings despite house standard foundations, all the recommended anti-nesting advice...it's a problem we live with and have adjusted to. We never actually see them these days, just hear them scratching and gnawing, then the unmistakable rotting smell of their carcass once they've taken poison...

wiccamum Sun 16-Oct-16 20:18:53

Flumpnugget..rotting carcass smell...nice! I am feeling a certain sense of glee at watching my smallest dog diving into the hedges, willing on her snapping jaws 😈

Vvlgari Sun 16-Oct-16 20:36:05

wicca no problem. smile It's a common issue where I live as we're on the edge of forest and rural areas.

I'm not sure about where you are, but certainly our local council don't send exterminators out for rats or foxes any more. You could pay someone to come out, but I'd probably go for the DIY attempt first.

In our case, the rats were living under an outbuilding, but because there was nothing to eat in our garden, they were really just using it as a base and had created runs through to neighbouring gardens. We blocked off as many as we could, and put the poison blocks down in the remaining ones. You need to nail the blocks down and check them every week or so. We had a couple of goes at it, but after a few weeks, the blocks weren't being touched and we weren't seeing any signs of the rats either. There was also no smell - if any died under the outbuilding, that is. We told our neighbours both sides and they also put poison down so hopefully it's put them off for now.

Vvlgari Sun 16-Oct-16 20:41:38

Apologies, I just saw that you didn't want poison, but the run in our garden was very clearly under a paving stone so there's no way a dog could have got at it by accident.

I never leave bird food out and fortunately, no-one around here leaves food out for foxes (it gives me the rage when people get all soppy about feeding foxes). It sounds like your dogs are the best deterrent.

wiccamum Sun 16-Oct-16 20:47:13

Thanks again Vvulgari...I'm getting my girls on the case, they need to earn their keep 😄

We live in a semi rural area, lots of surrounding farm land. I'm not optimistic about my local council, I hardly think our little issue is their priority.

Palomb Sun 16-Oct-16 20:55:28

Doesn't everyone 'have rats'? I live in my last house for 10 years and saw the occasional rat outside, it never bothered me. Our garden here is much bigger and the cats have bought in a couple of rats. If you live rurally then it's just life isn't it?

Rats are absolutly everywhere. And unless they're actually in your house or you have an uncontrollable infestation then they have as much right to exist as anything else. Just leave them be.

KERALA1 Sun 16-Oct-16 21:01:35

We called out a company and a man came and told us how to make garden less attractive (minimise hiding places and food availability) and laid poison. Sorted it so far

Vvlgari Sun 16-Oct-16 21:03:58

I'd always try and exterminate/discourage rats because of the potential diseases, TBH.

Yes, they're everywhere, but that doesn't mean you can't take steps to get rid of them or try and stop them from nesting in your garden.

wiccamum Sun 16-Oct-16 21:10:05

Yeh, it's the disease thing that wigs me out.

Fun fact though, while I've been googling what to do about them, I have learnt a lot about rats. Apparently they are amongst the few mammals (us and dolphins aside) that have sex for pleasure! There you are then, saucy little devils.

Nigglenaggle Sun 16-Oct-16 21:11:42

You can poison them if you are comfortable with them either dying by metastatic calcification (internal organs calcify) or bleeding to death slowly over up to 2weeks. Anyone genuinely comfortable with that has issues in my book. Traps and terriers are both more humane options, but unless you sort out the reason they are there to start with then you will just get more. This is one instance where Dr Google is your friend, some of the barn owl sites (also not a friend of poison) have excellent advice. Good luck.

JillJ72 Sun 16-Oct-16 21:17:31

I have read a few times that they don't like the smell of peppermint, so I'm going to try peppermint oil. We have four or five little ones visiting as we have chickens. I bring their food in every night but guess there are bits that they get to, and our neighbours have rabbits so imagine there are offerings there too. Going with peppermint oil and also battery operated repellant devices, see if they help.

JT05 Sun 16-Oct-16 21:28:48

Don't know if this really works, but I was told ferret bedding, placed around gets rid of them. We can't smell it, but they can. Apparently it gets rid of squirrels in the loft, as well.

wiccamum Sun 16-Oct-16 21:47:35

Some great suggestions, like the ferret bedding and peppermint one. I don't like the idea of poison. I knew they can die by slow bleeding, but two weeks? That's awful. I don't want them but I couldn't do that. The key is definitely to tackle what's attracting them. As long as I can get the neighbours on board then we just take away their food source...and throw peppermint oil all over the place.

Really want to get some chickens next year...🐣🐓

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