Weighing over half a kilo and measuring around 23cm, not including its tail, the brown rat is the largest of the rats in the UK. They are also considered as omnivorous, eating pretty much anything from fruit and seeds to human food waste.
Brown rats are particularly common around towns and cities. Look out for its blunt muzzle, a tail which is shorter than its body and small furry ears.
2. Black Rat
Rats have well-developed senses of smell taste and touch; they also have an acute sense of hearing—frequently using ultrasound to communicate, and are particularly sensitive to any sudden noise.
Moreover, both species breed rapidly and become sexually mature in about three months. Each female may produce from three to twelve litres of between six and eight young in a year.
They also need to gnaw to keep their constantly growing incisor teeth worn down as they often prey on woodwork, plastic, bricks and lead pipes, including stripping insulation from electrical cables.
Brown rats live in any location that provides food, water, and shelter. In homes, they dwell in roof spaces, wall cavities or under floorboards. In gardens, they burrow into grassy banks or under sheds. They are also often found living in sewer systems. Whereas black rats live only within buildings, such as dockside warehouses while they occupy rocks and cliffs on islands.
You may look for nesting areas under rubbish, timber and in drain pipes to spot them. Make sure to also check under decking and inside your garden shed, greenhouses, log cabins, and even your kid’s playhouse.
In addition, they normally come out at night to look for food resources, so you won’t necessarily notice them in the daytime.
Once rats started invading your home and garden, they can be very destructive. Apart from the diseases they carry and the health risks they pose, they can also cause damage to the area in which they are habiting, e.g. decking or inside your workshop.
As they are gnawing rodents, they will chew through wires and pipes, resulting in costly damages. You may first notice their presence through the noise they make at night but what you can’t discern is the destruction they are causing.
Stopping rats without poison is easy but only if you take the right prevention methods. But if you are past this point and need effective action now, poison and traps are the best solutions to get rid of them both in your home and garden for good.
Listed down below are the preventive measures you can start applying.
1. Keep Your Outdoor Space Tidy
If your garden is tidy, rats are less likely to take up home and stay there. Keeping the grass cut short, clearing cluttered storage areas and removing rubbish, especially near fences and garden buildings, are a few of the ways you keep your outdoor space tidy, preventing the rodents to take over your place.
Minimising the overgrown areas of your garden will also help prevent them from finding a spot to nest and hide. Plus, if your outdoor space is clean and neat, you are also more likely to spot them immediately if they decided to pay a visit.
3. Watch Out for Bird Feeders
Your compost bin can also be targeted by rats. With that, make sure your bin or heap is inviting. What you can do is to not add food scraps that include green and brown materials inside so the wastes remain moist.
Tip: Put chicken wire underneath to prevent access. But if they have made a home in your bin, don’t use the compost on edible crops.