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Help! I’ve got rats.

Home Forums Carers / rescuing a hedgehog Help! I’ve got rats.

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  • #38982

    Hi, I need some advice. I’ve had a hedgehog house and feeding station for a few years in my back garden all watched with my garden camera. Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed a rat, a big rat! It didn’t worry me at first but now there’s 3 or 4☹️ I think I need to move everything into the front garden under a big bush. I really didn’t want to have to do that as my hogs are so used to finding their food & water in the back☹️ Will the hogs still find the food & water? I won’t put rat
    traps down, I just couldn’t! Is there anything I can do to deter the rats?
    Any advice welcomed.

    #38985
    Avatar photo
    Nic

    Hi hoggy07

    The following is a link which contains links from several old topics re. rats
    https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/forums/topic/rat-probelm/
    They are all quite old now, but may be useful. There are lots of newer ones if you search through, but, sorry I haven’t collected them – the Forum doesn’t like more than one link per post these days, so not so easy to do.

    But first you probably need to stop feeding birds, if you do (or feed them small amounts which are quickly eaten, on a container on, i.e., a bird table which the rats can’t access, but so that when the rats turn up there is no food there for them). It is often bird food which first attracts rats. But if the rats can’t find food they might give up.

    Then search to see if there is a rats nest in your garden and disturb it, so that hopefully the rats will get fed up doing repairs and move home. You will need to be persistent. But also check for any bolt holes – you will usually see mounds of disturbed soil.

    Some rats won’t eat wet cat/dog food, but you might have to give up feeding the hogs until you can get rid of the rats. If you do stop feeding, don’t forget to keep providing water. Unfortunately rats do tend to go through water saucers, but the hogs will need water. (Water best left available all day every day for the hogs).

    But one other thing you can try, if you don’t mind the rats getting the odd bit of food, is to scatter some cat/kitten biscuits (some rats will eat those, but not all) on the grass (if you have some) which would take the rats longer to find and so give the hogs more of a chance of finding some. But the neighbours may not be keen on that if they see that you appear to be feeding rats. Especially if there are 3 or 4 already. I recall one person being told by the council that they had to stop feeding the hogs because they were attracting rats.

    Then there is the ‘supervised’ hog feeding possibility mentioned in one of those previous posts.

    I can’t really comment about moving the feeding site, not knowing the layout, other than that if the hogs can find it the rats inevitably will as well.

    Sadly there is no easy solution, but good luck. I know what a nuisance it is. Hope you find something that works.

    #39136

    Thank you for the replies. I think the best thing I can do is just leave
    plenty of water out & remove the food for a while until the rats have gone elsewhere. Surely it’s better to try this at this time of year as there’s other food sources out there? I’m going to hate removing their biscuits😞

    #39485
    Avatar photo
    Nic

    Hi hoggy07

    Yes, I know what you mean re. removing their biscuits. I feel the same, but sometimes it can’t be helped. I would try some of the other deterrants at the same time, i.e. filling in bolt holes, etc. to help encouraging them to move on more quickly. When I have had them in the past, I poured water down the hole first to make sure no rat was in there before filling it in – wouldn’t want to bury a rat! I was quite pleased that a rat never came leaping out of the hole, though – which might be a risk! Although they could probably dig their way back out.

    Good luck. I hope they move soon.

    #41671

    I have a feeder made from plastic underbed box. Very successful attracting hogs. But have noticed a couple of rats this year. Next door has dense shrubbery and they are darting through our fence to far side of our garden. Feeder is near end of our largish garden. Last night we had the camera out and there was a constant stream of hogs from about 9.00 pm-5.00 am. But also 4 or 5 rats. We’ve been putting peppermint oil in tunnel and around. Strangely didnt deter some of the rats but couple of others wouldn’t go in. But on several occasions a rat was feeding next to hog, which concerned me as I’ve read they can attack hogs. At a loss what to try next. I feed dry hog food which I buy on line and dry kitten biscuits all of which rats seem to enjoy. Have tried wet cat food but they ate that too. Don’t want to stop feeding hogs. Any further suggestions/ advice?

    #41725

    Hi. I posted earlier with same problem. Tried everything, but nothing helping. Have tried copious amounts of peppermint oil, but not deterring rats. Tried wet cat food but they ate that. Stopped feeding birds. They love cat biscuits. Watched hog and rat routines. Hogs came earlier so left feeder out till 11.30, then took it in. Helped for a couple of days, but one rat got savvy and came earlier and no hogs! Unfortunately my neighbour has dense shrubbery and they are coming back and fro from there. Sadly, think only solution is to stop feeding temporarily.

    #41745
    Avatar photo
    Nic

    Hi Scottiebear

    Sorry not to reply sooner, but I had already said pretty much all the ideas I had.

    Sadly I have been getting the occasional rat visiting all winter, even though there was no hog food and only very occasional bird food. They seemed to ‘know’ when some bird food had been left out and visited after that. I don’t know if there are more rats around than there used to be, but these have been more perisistent than any previously.

    The hogs here haven’t returned yet, even though there is usually one back by 3rd March. Maybe because they ‘know’ there is no food. But when they do return (hopefully!). I plan to sprinkle cat/kitten biscuits on the lawn – spread out fairly thinly, so that the hogs will at least have a chance to get some and it will be harder work for the rats. It is quite natural for the hogs to have to forage for food. But if rat numbers increase (only 2 seen so far) I might have to think again.

    It must be even more frustrating for you, having them come from your next door garden. There is also the added potential problem that if they decide to do something about the rats, the hogs may get caught up in that. It might be worth having a chat with your neighbour(s) and make sure that they know there are hogs around and what steps need to be taken to make sure no hedgehog can be accidentally caught in a trap or eat poisoned bait – should they decide to go down that route. Hogs are protected by law and it is the responsibility of anyone setting traps putting out poisoned bait, etc. that they ensure that they are sited so that a hedgehog cannot be trapped or poisoned by such things, even by mistake.

    Good luck. Hope those rats disappear!

    #41759

    Thanks Nic. Been monitoring with camera. Putting feeder out at dusk and bringing back in before going to bed, so giving hogs a chance to eat early. Strangely, last night brought in at 11.45 pm, but food hadn’t been touched. Very wet and quite mild so wonder if they found more natural food. Put out again tonight with camera. We actually had a dead rat in our eaves about a month ago, so we are very cautious. We think we know how it got in. Have remedied and all been well since then, fingers crossed. I have had a word with my new neighbour and made her aware of hogs and rats. Hope I have discouraged her from rat poison. I think one small rat that was coming was maybe feeding babies. It was running into feeder, grabbing biscuit and running out the back of our garden. Back and fro dozens of times. Felt quite sorry for it. They are only trying to survive. But obviously have to discourage them.

    #41803
    Avatar photo
    Nic

    Hi Scoittiebear

    I know what you mean re. the rats – they are only trying to feed their young ones and I wouldn’t want to harm them. Just wish they weren’t competing with the hogs for food, etc! So I usually try the deterrant route, too – although it doesn’t always work.

    Well done talking to your neighbour re. the hogs (and rats!). Hopefully if you both try to deter the rats it might have more impact.

    I still have no hogs back, here, but also haven’t seen any rats on the cameras, which is good! They have recently done a lot of work on a nearby railway, which might have put the hogs off, but I’m hoping one, or some will turn up soon.

    Hope all goes well there.

    #41946

    There are two things I remember about the rats and hogs issue.

    I’m told rats prefer a grain based diet – so, if the kitten / cat food you’re using has meat listed as its first ingredient, rats are less likely to go for it.

    Also, rats are neophobes : change unsettles them. So, apparently, putting the food in a different location every night can help put them off from coming back.

    #44551

    I appreciate your concern for both the hedgehogs and the rat issue. You can try elevating the feeding station, using rat-resistant containers, and ensuring hedgehog access while keeping the area clean. This should help deter rats without harming your beloved hedgehogs.

    #45117

    Hi,
    We’ve been lucky enough to have hedgehogs visit our garden for the past 5 years.
    This is the first year that we suddenly have a rat on the patio taking the wet and dry food from the hedgehog feeding station.
    I have read all your comments and wondered if anyone finally found a solution ?
    Like others, feel it would be such a shame to stop feeding them especially as first week they have arrived this year.

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