Finding a rat in your home or garden is a major shock – both to you and the rat! Rats are typically nervous animals and the reason that they have found their way into your home, garden, shed or garage is because there is shelter, warmth and, above all food!
Wild rats are unwelcome guests as they transmit diseases, contaminate food and carry fleas and ticks. Harmful to both humans and their pets, rats are destructive creatures that can easily gnaw through wood into your cosy insulation, and potentially start a fire if they chew through an electrical cable.
Signs That You Have a Rat
Even if you do not physically see the rat, there are plenty of tell-tale signs that you have one lurking in the vicinity of your home. Rats will find shelter in walls, ceilings and under floors, behind cupboards and under bathtubs, and particularly enjoy being close to hot water heaters – particularly in cold weather.
If you see any of the following signs, you potentially have a rat!
- Droppings which are 12mm to 18mm in length and are black, moist and thin (you are advised not to touch them with bare hands!).
- Food debris which has been discarded by rats after gnawing. This would include snail shells, nut shells and animal bones (Again, it is advisable not to pick them up with bare hands)
- If food left for animals has gone missing without explanation. This could be food which is left out for your pet, or nuts for squirrels, bread for birds etc
- When “runways” are formed from rats using the same path to enter and exit your home or make their way through vegetation in your garden.
- Burrow holes close to sheds or under debris, or gnaw marks where a rat has tried to chew an entrance into a shed or garage
- Rats are feed most commonly at night, but if you see one active during the day it means that there is probably a nest nearby and you have provided a good source of food.
Ideally, you will be looking at this web site because you are trying to prevent rats from getting into your home. The best ways to ensure that you do not encourage rats is to:-
- Ensure external rubbish bins have a tight-fitting lid and are emptied regularly
- Keep sheds and storage areas clean and clear of clutter
- Check your drainage and sewerage pipes for holes – and repair if necessary
- Do not use open compost heaps nor leave animal products to decompose in them
- Invest in a rat repellent
The following pages show a selection of cost-effective rat repellents and items used professionally for rat control. We explain briefly how each works, and the pros and cons of each method. Rat repellents are ideal from preventing rats in your home, but if a colony of rats is already established, it is better for you to speak with your local council’s environmental health department or call in a professional pest control company.