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Rat seen in the garden!

(121 Posts)
Purplepixie Sun 05-Jul-20 14:28:27

Well, I posted this in this topic as I feel annoyed.

Yesterday I saw a massive rat in the back garden which is only small and I am worried in case in comes into the house. Now all the back windows and doors are shut. I shouted for DH to come and see it but he was busy and it was long gone before he got there. Last night he said that he had looked around the garden and poked everything with a stick. I know where I could shove that stick! He found nothing, not rat holes, poo or anything. Today I sat in the conservatory, windows and doors shut and again this massive rat trotted across the garden as if it owned the place. I said to DH that we need some professionals in to tackle this thing as it looks like a candid for the Grand National! DH’s response: I’ll cut the hedge! Eh? Is he on this planet! I never put bird food out as the stand broke and that never got fixed but our neighbours on both sides have loads of bird feeders. One of my neighbours always puts the remains of the meat out on the lawn to feed the red kites and I think they are feeding rats as well - we don’t speak to that side neighbours - police involvement etc. So they can keep their rats to themselves! I did expect a bigger response from my DH. What would you do if that was you? I suggested calling out the pest control but DH said that they often kill other animals and birds as well. Not sure. Or should I just knit it an outfit and call it Roland? I think I am going mad!

PinkCakes Sun 05-Jul-20 17:44:04

I've had/got rats in my garden - which is about 60ft long - but I'm not concerned whatsoever. As long as they stay down there, and don't come into the house, they're not harming me.
They're a wild animal and food for a fox if one catches them. All part of the food chain. My cat doesn't bother to even look at them.

PinkCakes Sun 05-Jul-20 17:46:46

Just to add..........if rats eat poison, then whatever eats the rat (fox, Magpie, badger, etc) will also be poisoned. Not a pleasant death.

Puzzled Sun 05-Jul-20 17:51:06

It has been said that we are rarely more than ten feet from a rat. They are a fact of life; unwelcome but there.
We have two cats, but still get mice left around the house.
DW used to help at a cat refuge. Rats actually dug their way into the pit, in the enclosure, that the cats used as a toilet! One cat stood over the hole and wee'd down it. The problem seemed to lessen!
Rats will wander far and wide in the search for food. You are doing the right thing in making sure that you don't leave anything about that they could eat. They will chew their way through plastic items in their search. metal containers are less palatable, so use large tins, or an inverted metal bucket.

Hetty58 Sun 05-Jul-20 18:17:22

I'm also quite horrified at the admissions on here about using poison, especially Magshard20's tale of her husband putting it 'under the fence'. It shows total disregard for wildlife!

The government site states 'You must protect other animals from traps or poison you put down for pests'

If you've checked that they can't get under your floor and chew through electrical wiring, there are no nests on your property and they can't access food, there's no problem.

Of course, a pest controller will take your money, show you bodies, and declare 'problem solved' - then 'laugh all the way to the bank'!

Chewbacca Sun 05-Jul-20 19:29:55

If you've checked that they can't get under your floor and chew through electrical wiring, there are no nests on your property and they can't access food, there's no problem

The family of rats who were living in the space between the living rooms and the cellar most definitely had been chewing at wires. We'd thought the tv was on the fritz for a few days, not knowing what was going on beneath our feet. One of our neighbour kept chickens in his back garden and his chicken feed was attracting rats by the score in the whole row of houses. As he flatly refused to move his chicken feed to an inaccessible store, poison was the only solution and one we all willingly agreed on. And I'd do the same again if I had them on my premises.

BlueSky Sun 05-Jul-20 19:41:03


How sad that people stopped feeding the birds, I would have politely but very firmly refused to stop.

Same here when we have seen the occasional rat a busybody neighbour instructed everybody to stop feeding the birds. I carried on as usual saying I'm only putting a small amount of bird seeds out each morning which are eaten quickly and no bread or other leftovers are put out later in the day. The poor birds!

GrannySomerset Sun 05-Jul-20 19:41:19

Hetty - we had posh bird feeders with saucers underneath but the pigeons soon learned to perch on them and swing the feeders widly so that sunflower hearts (we have very choosy birds) spilled on to the ground below. Saucers removed, it took the pigeons several weeks to learn that that particular party piece was over!

sodapop Sun 05-Jul-20 19:44:25

Borrow someone's Jack Russell for a couple of days purplepixie that will sort the problem. I hate rats too.

ExD Sun 05-Jul-20 19:48:27

We gets rats on the farm - its a fact of life with all the animal feed and grain around.
We use rat blocks and they are put in secure bait boxes (a bit like drainpipes) so that only the rats can reach them. You don't usually see corpses lying around, I understand they die in the nests (often in drains - the smellier the better) and predators don't usually eat them. Most predators, especially cats, don't like carrion or already dead food - but it does worry me that some other animal may catch a drowsy rat and ingest the poison too.
Your rat will take a solid block back to the nest, and will come back on several consecutive days later and take additional blocks away too, so you have to keep 'feeding' them. Three or four blocks are needed to kill a full grown rat.
I really hate using poison - but traps can also catch other animals, cats, dogs, foxes, hedgehogs and birds. What's the answer (please don't say trap them and release them into the countryside - we don't want them either!)
Has anyone an alternative? Live with them?
Send for the Pied Piper?

MiniMoon Sun 05-Jul-20 20:39:31

Do you put food out for the birds?
We have a visiting rat, attracted by the bird seed that DH will scatter on the ground for the visiting pheasant.
I've noticed that when we are out of bird seed I dont see the rat.
I have been told that they mo e on if there is no food.

ValerieF Sun 05-Jul-20 22:05:18

Nobody wants an infestation of rats but just the odd one? well not sure I would freak out so much but then I have cats and dogs who would see them off! (Maybe your solution OP ha ha)

I absolutely LOVE all wildlife so do put out food for birds. Not yet seen a Rat, maybe cos of said previously animals?

Some people object to squirrels, saying they are rats too. Well they might be, but they sure are cute ones. Actually pet rats are pretty lovely also? Still wouldn't love a whole tribe of them in my garden like.

Hetty58 Sun 05-Jul-20 22:43:05

GrannySomerset, thanks for the heads up on the feeders. I believe there are pigeon (and rat) proof ones that close when a certain weight is on them, but remain open for smaller birds.

ExD, it's interesting to hear about what you do on the farm. I expect that you're content to keep their numbers down, rather than having any hope of eliminating them. A few JRTs would probably help!

Grammaretto Mon 06-Jul-20 08:24:33

I am also shocked to hear how many of you resort to poison.
Your neighbours shouldn't put out meat. Even feeding the birds is likely to attract rats. Why wouldn't it?
I don't feed the birds. (except maybe in the depths of winter when I put some fruit on the ground in cleared snow)
I reckon they are designed to find their own food especially if there are plenty of wild areas in the garden. Your hedge may be home to hedgehogs if you are lucky OP.
We have wrens nesting in a shrub just beside the window.

I never put cooked food or meat or fish on the compost heap.

My DGP had a farm and as long as rats didn't get into the house......
Under the bed would be awful but under the shed? We have to share this planet with many species and we can't always pick and choose.

So yes YABU

Witzend Mon 06-Jul-20 09:30:20

Who on earth would put any meat or fish, cooked or raw, on a compost heap anyway? I read somewhere that bluebottles can smell meat or anything dead from a mile away!

We do have food waste bins but any scraps of meat or fish here - (never much at all unless there’s a chicken carcass) still go in a bag in the freezer until the night before the bin men come.

I do put scraps of meat fat out for the birds, but I can almost guarantee that they’ll be gobbled up within about 3 minutes anyway.

Grammaretto Mon 06-Jul-20 09:41:27

It was their neighbours putting out meat for the kites which started alarm bells witzend . There's none so strange as folk.

When I was young I'm sure we were told to bury bad meat.

Alexa Mon 06-Jul-20 09:41:38

I like rats but I had a rats' entrance to the underneath of my house concreted over last week. I don't want rats visiting or nesting in my loft or wall cavities. The main reason being they sometimes gnaw through electric cables. also when they die it causes a bad smell.

Many rat poisons are terribly cruel and can kill other creatures too. They don't even control the rat population as when a lot of rats are killed the females breed faster.
It is much more effective to simply keep the blighters out of your house.

Barmeyoldbat Mon 06-Jul-20 09:46:55

Mr Barmey was pushing the compost down in the compost bin and heard a noise, so he poked into it with a stick and a rat ran out. My fault I had left the little hatch thing at the bottom open. Not seen him since.

spabbygirl Mon 06-Jul-20 10:09:53

My husband has done the course to be able to use strong rat poison. We used to have chickens and for long periods we had no rats but three lots in succession was enough. I hate them and go all girly and jump on chairs if I see rats or mice! They like to live under sheds etc. The course was just 1 or 2 days and showed you how to use strong poison safely, avoiding secondary poisoning of other animals. We found none of the proprietary rat traps worked but there are some ingenious things on the internet which do work, you need a strong stomach though, one involves a plank leading to an empty dustbin which they fall into and you dispose of them as you wish. If I were you I'd have a chat with whoever is putting food down for them & use traps & chemicals safely first and then get someone in if they're still a problem. Many local councils no longer have pest control services but tell you to use a private one. The poison doesn't give them pain, they just go to sleep, we came across one that had made a nest with straw in a box in the shed and curled up inside it never to wake up. It looked very sweet, I could just about manage to look at it without screaming!!!

Madwoman11 Mon 06-Jul-20 10:13:18

I can sympathise. Rats have a "run" from there nest to their food supply, so this rat is cutting across your garden from his home to where ever the food is.
Experts say remove food firstly, so perhaps make neighbour's aware of the problem and ask nicely not to feed birds (they are extremely good climbers), also remove any rubbish laying about where they can nest. Under huts and decking are popular for them, but ant old wood or stones piled up will suffice, and I agree compost bins are a bad attraction for them. You can buy bait boxes that small animals cannot access

Bobdoesit Mon 06-Jul-20 10:23:02

I don’t want to frighten you but we have just gone through the same problem and it didn’t end well. One of the rats got into the house somehow probably via the drains or airbricks. I heard something between the downstairs and upstairs floors and then in the hall wall. My husband told me I was stupid and/or imagining things this went on for a few weeks. Then I noticed a smell but couldn't work out where it was coming from once again my husband said I was imagining things. Over a few days, the smell got worse and worse and eventually, I discovered the source. Not before going all around the kitchen on hands and knees with my nose to the ground! My husband still denied there was a problem until I more or less forced him onto his hands and knees in the kitchen, then he recoiled in horror! We tried to remove the skirting boards but the kitchen units are built in around and over them. We then tried lifting the floors out of one of the units but those units are built to last. One broken unit later we discovered an enormous very dead rat wedged into the base of the units. It took weeks to get rid of the smell and several more weeks to rid the garden of rats (thanks to the local council).
The council workers were incredibly careful with the poison. They put it deep down in the drains where no cats or birds could get. That is not without problems because the rats are likely to die in the drains! We think the one in the house found it’s a way in and then couldn't get out again. It was well and truly stuck – poor thing.

Froglady Mon 06-Jul-20 10:25:13

I have a constant problem with rats locally and I do try and persuade people that I see putting food out for the pigeons not to do it; I try and explain that it attracts the rats and it also attracts bird to perch on my roof and wait to be fed, thus blocking up the gutters with bird poo and weeds when the seeds in the poo germinate. Town centre has got signs up asking people not to feed the pigeons and although I only live 3 minutes from the centre they won't put signs up round here. I have to keep my front and back doors closed now because of the fear that the rats will come in. We used to just have a few pigeons around but now we have seagulls and rooks, crows, etc, etc to deal with. I will probably have around 50-100 birds on my roof at any one time.
I've put poison down for the rats and just try to get on top of the problem; but the problem isn't caused by us, it's caused by the people who put the food down in the first place and it's us that bear the brunt, the expense and the worry about it all. There is no need for rats to be around in the numbers that they are and I don't believe a defeatist attitude is helping the matter at all.

Molly10 Mon 06-Jul-20 10:25:50

I know you said you do not speak to your neighbours that are putting meat for red kites and bird food out but you should at least put notes through all nearby neighbour's doors to inform them of the recent sightings. You could suggest in the note that abstinence of putting food out for a period of time would be advisable. There is a danger to health and a particular worry if there are young children playing in gardens. Informing a neighbourhood watch would also facilitate this.

timetogo2016 Mon 06-Jul-20 10:28:14

Rats and mice have been a bigger problem since covid19 started as no one has been able to have takeaways therefore no leftovers being dumped for them to feast on so they are looking anywhere they may find food.
We see rats/mice constantly as we have a canal at the bottom of the garden.
And in the papers it seems it`s a massive problem all over the country.

Craftycat Mon 06-Jul-20 10:28:38

Rats are much misunderstood. They are actually very clean creatures & eat up a lot of stuff that would otherwise go mouldy in your garden.
He will be more frightened of you than you are of him.
Everyone is always closer to a rat than they would imagine.
Don't encourage him but do please let him be.

Acer Mon 06-Jul-20 10:31:42

You can purchase small bags of rat & mice bait they will take bait to their nest, so no nasty bodies to deal with or harmful to other creatures. Also when bait stops being taken your know problem has resolved. Sadly feeding birds means feeding rodents also simply by the amount that falls to the ground, fat balls being the biggest rat treat ! Good luck ?