Hogs v Rats
26th May 2022 at 8:07 am #37269
I’ve just signed up and would like to say hello.
I’ve had regular nightly hog visits for years now and have at least 3 that I know of at the moment. This is the first year I’ve seen rats in my garden and they are stealing the food I put down for my prickly friends. I tried to put the food out later last night, but it had all been eaten before the hogs got a look in! I saw 3 fully grown ones last night so, if there aren’t babies now, there soon will be. I love rats, and don’t want to harm them, but could do with them moving on and was thinking of trying a sonic rat repeller but obviously don’t want to frighten my hogs. Has anyone tried one?
I’d be very grateful for any humane advice.26th May 2022 at 11:24 am #37270
Welcome to the Forum!
Great news that you have hogs visiting your garden. A bit sad about the rats – not easy to deal with, but you will find lots of topics relating to them on the Forum, with some ideas. This is a link to some of the older ones (if you follow the link, it contains links to others), but you will find there are more recent ones, too: https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/forums/topic/rat-probelm/
Re. the sonic rat repellers. I was told a while back by someone who actually made those repellers that they don’t really work outside. They said that if anyone tries to sell you one, ask for a money back guarantee – because some people will claim that they do work. Apparently, partly the reason is that rats are very intelligent and soon learn to avoid, or even tolerate those repellants after a short while.
With relation to hogs and sonic repellants. In reality I suspect no-one has ever been able to do any reliable scientific studies about whether they affect hogs. From my own experience, some years ago I tried leaving a kind of sonic rodent deterrant outside for a short time, only during daylight, thinking the hogs wouldn’t be around. It was really an indoor one, but I had it taped under a table so it didn’t get wet. But a hog turned up early one evening and I saw the hog visibly flinch when it went past the repeller. That was enough for me, it was immediately removed and I would not want to risk using one (or even cat/dog repellers) with hogs around. And we never know when a sick or injured hog might turn up during the day, needing help – so my feeling now is that I wouldn’t want to use them during the day either.
But if you feed the birds, I would suggest stopping that for a while as that is often what initially attracts the rats. But also one thing I tried, when I had a particularly persisitent rat, was scattering food (kitten biscuits), on the grass. The rat still tried, to start with, but it obviously took it much longer to eat all the food, so there was still some left for the hogs. Hogs are quite happy foraging. The rat eventually disappeared (probably shouldn’t say that – there’ll probably be one back tonight now!) but whether because it was too much like hard work or some other reason, I don’t know.
Good luck, I hope you manage to find some sort of solution.26th May 2022 at 12:24 pm #37272
Thank you so much for your reply Nic.
It looks like the sonic repellers are definitely out of the question then, I’m glad I asked and haven’t wasted any money. I used to keep (fancy) rats many years ago, so know how clever they are and my husband would freak out if he knew my ‘little garden secret’ before I’ve outwitted them as he’s terrified of them! The little monkeys take food out of the dish while the hedgehogs are actually eating. Last night I tried moving the dishes more into the open, rather than inside the ‘feeding station’ (a plastic wendy house to provide shelter and to stop the food getting soggy), but the rats stole the food even faster. The cat biscuit trick you mentioned is definitely worth a try, I have three cats so have plenty.
I do feed the birds too I’m afraid, and have taken to taping down the lids on the feeders overnight, as my little furry visitors were hanging upside down, lifting the lids, and helping themselves to the sunflower hearts. It took me ages to encourage goldfinches to visit the garden, so am a bit reluctant to stop feeding them (although I know that isn’t helping my problem). I might try reducing the selection I leave out though and not top up as often.
I’ll have a look at the link you posted later (I’m at work at the moment) and see if there are any more handy tips.
Many thanks again for your help, it’s much appreciated.29th August 2022 at 3:10 pm #39478
A bit of an update. I followed advice on here and took to scattering food in 3 places round the garden, rather than using the dish in my feeding station. This has definitely helped and I very rarely see a rat now.
We could here mating noises while we were sat out last night, so with a bit of luck, I might get some hoglets, just hope it isn’t too late in the year, it’s September this week. I’ll have to keep an eye on them. It looks like ‘something’ has moved into the new hedgehog house I left out a few months ago, just hoping that isn’t where all the rats have gone!!29th August 2022 at 7:32 pm #39480
That’s great that the scattering food worked – hope that continues.
It is quite late for hoglets, but they could still be ok, especially if you are still offering food when they get big enough to ‘leave home’. It sometimes stays a reasonable temperature into November. But the main problem is finding enough food later in the year, so if you are offering food (and water), they have a chance of getting big enough to hibernate. Having said that, some hogs decide not to hibernate at all and don’t seem to mind the cold temperatures, as long as they can find enough food and water.
But hoglets don’t always materialise from courtship. Hogs spend a lot of time circling and huffing, but it doesn’t always lead to actual mating. Then even if it does, there are all sorts of other things that can go wrong prior to birth and/or in the nest. As you suggest – keep an eye on whatever happens.
Fingers crossed that isn’t rats in the hog house!
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