Hedgehogs and rats
14th December 2017 at 3:02 pm #8436
Hi. We have a hedgehog who regularly visits the garden. We have sightings (yesterday) and night camera which picks him out. I have just seen a rat under our bird feeder – which is often where the hedgehog visits. Any tips on how to get rid of the rat. I am reluctant to put a trap or poison down for fear of collecting the hedgehog in error.16th December 2017 at 6:38 pm #8442
I find at this time of year if you get a rat visiting it is a bit of a problem. And I agree, I definitely wouldn’t want to put down poison or a trap, both of which potentially could kill the hedgehog. Especially as most of the hogs around at this time of year are likely to be youngsters and, therefore, smaller than some.
I have found in the past that it is usually what the birds drop which initially attracts the rats and have on occasion gone to great lengths to stop any of their food spilling onto the ground. I got a large tray (as in for carrying things, rather than what you can attach under bird feeders) and put it on top of one of the frames from those plastic greenhouses and attached the bird feeder on top. I placed it away from trees and bushes and where the rat couldn’t jump onto it and it couldn’t climb up the frame. The birds soon adapted to it. That was at a time of year when the hogs still had a fair amount of food available in the wild, so I only left food out for them whilst I was up to watch them. That meant I could scare the rat away (from inside the house) if it approached the hog food. Rats seem to be much more sensitive to slight noises, like a tap or even a key turning in the lock, than hogs are. Also, here, if there is a hog eating rats have always stayed away.
At the same time, I checked the garden for any bolt holes the rat had made and filled them in. Really just making a visit to my garden more difficult for it. Usually the rats have disappeared eventually but, to be fair, that may be because someone else has trapped or poisoned them, rather than my attempts to deter them. At least they didn’t get much food here.
This time of year when the hogs are relying on the food we put out, it is more difficult. Again, I would scare the rat away, if I saw it approaching the food bowls, but feel the hogs need access to food for more of the night than I am able to watch, so just hope the hog/s get there first.
You didn’t say whether you feed the hogs, but if not, what they pick up from under bird feeders isn’t very nutritious for them. They really need some good protein, i.e. cat/dog food or hedgehog food (there is very little in the wild for them, this time of year) You might find the rat isn’t so keen on wet cat/dog food, but you may attract cats instead. But then maybe they would catch the rat!
Good luck17th December 2017 at 3:00 pm #8443
Thanks for the comments. I agree with all you have said ie. trays etc and have being doing that. I do feed the hogs (de lux hedgehog food I am assured) which they seem to munch on quite happily. When I see them snuffling about I can stroll out and put some food down near them and they will finish it off. Continuing to chase the rat away when I see it, I think it is accessing the garden via the ‘hedgehog street’ hole, but want to leave that open for the ‘hog.
Time will tell – if I win or not. I would have though the hog should be hibernating by now (in Perthshire) but still seems to appear now and again.
Beggars18th December 2017 at 6:13 pm #8444
There is a well grown hoglet here too, who is steadfastly not hibernating, although we are a bit further south than you. It has been such strange weather this year, I can’t blame the little thing, but I wish she would hibernate now.3rd January 2018 at 10:41 am #8465
Slightly alarmist reply Lonnie.
If you put down poison you are likely to kill the hedgehog too.
Nic’s ideas above are all well worth trying. You could also try planting mint around the entrance hole. Some say it works but the juries out. Worth trying anyway.
Someone also suggested putting a saucer on top of the hog bowl – they mentioned it as a way of deterring cats but it may work for rats too.
Alternatively getting a cat will do the trick 🙂12th February 2018 at 9:01 pm #8645
I recently found I had a rat and didn’t want to set a deadly trap so bought one of these
Caught the rat within a week and took it to the local quarry and released it.
set the camera to see if there were any more but seems there was just the one. But I have now discovered next door’s cat is getting into what I thought were cat proof feeders and eating all the food I leave.
If I cant find a way to cat proof the feeders I’m afraid I’ll have to stop feeding.
Any advice would be appreciated.25th April 2018 at 10:09 pm #9230
I have seen a big rat in our garden near a bird feeder and want to get rid of it. I don’t want to put anything out that may harm a hedgehog or hoglet so traps are out. I am not sure about releasing a rat back into the environment as its vermin and probably illegal? What about a humane trap then despatching the rat whilst its in the cage by feeding it poison bait, would that work?26th April 2018 at 2:09 pm #9240
I don’t think you can have thought your poisoning a rat in a cage through. It would be an incredibly inhumane thing to do and as you are clearly an animal lover (otherwise you wouldn’t be worrying about the hogs), if you thought about it carefully, I don’t think you would want to do it. The poison wouldn’t work immediately and the rat would suffer a slow and horrible death made very much worse by being trapped in a cage and potentially without access to water. Whatever anyone thinks about rats, they are actually quite intelligent animals and they really don’t deserve that.
In my experience it is usually the bird food which initially attracts rats and perhaps your best course of action is to make sure that the rat can’t access any of the food. If it doesn’t get any food, there is not much point it hanging around. I have written above about things I have tried, usually successful in the end to make things difficult for the rat and suggest you try something along those lines. At this time of year, when there is beginning to be more food around in the wild for the hogs, you could easily confine their feeding time to 2 or 3 hours a night, when you can watch them and scare the rat away. If you try this, you will probably find that watching hogs in real time is so much better than just watching on video. It also has the added benefit that the hogs seem to learn when the food is available and time their visits accordingly. It has been my habit to feed the hogs in this way, for many years and they have always done fine. It leaves them with the opportunity to forage in the wild as proper wild hedgehogs whilst at the same time having some additional food if they need it.
I recommend you try the deterring path before considering anything more drastic. Good luck. Let us know how you get on.
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