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poisoning rats and hedgehogs worry

Home Forums Carers / rescuing a hedgehog poisoning rats and hedgehogs worry

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    Hi All, I am new to this forum and wanted some advice please. My neighbour keeps a lot of exotic birds, chickens, turkeys, geese and ducks. The garden contains a lot of debris and food deposits. As a result, year on year I have a massive rat problem. We use to feed the hedgehogs and had as many as 5, one year. Last year we didn’t have any, as I had to stop putting food out. Worse still, I found out that my neighbour was putting down rat poison to resolve the problem. We had a first sighting of a hedgehog last night on our security cameras. What can I do about my neighbour’s poor animal housekeeping, attracting rats and putting down poison? I worry about our neighbourhood hedgehogs and other wildlife. Any advice greatly appreciated. Thank you.


    I don’t think there is a lot you can do about your neighbours housekeeping.
    I would speak to them about the dangers of poison when hedgehogs are around unless he can bait somewhere where hedgehogs cannot get access to it which is very difficult.
    I would personally buy an air rifle to control the rats your side


    It might be worth asking your neighbour to take the rat traps and poison off the ground and put them on a pile of bricks, on top of a bucket or a garden table or chair. If rats are going to be attracted to the traps at all, it doesn’t matter where you put them, the rats will climb to get to them. Keep in mind that hedgehogs are pretty good at climbing too but not in the same league as rats.


    Thank you for your advice. Our neighbour doesn’t respond to ‘friendly’ chats about anything unfortunately. We have got a couple of humane rat traps near the rat holes, in case a hedgehog uses the same hole, it will not be harmed and we can release it. We have an air rifle. I really don’t like putting down poison, not just because of hedgehogs but we have barn and tawny owls in the vicinity.

    Thank you for your help.


    My sympathies! The way I see it the rats are not the problem – they’re a symptom. To be attracting rats and then killing them with poison is not taking responsibility. I’ve had a similar situation where I live. Unfortunately rat poison is eaten by the neighbourhood badgers and foxes (I’ve seen the evidence) and so I believe is undoubtedly eaten by other species: field mice, voles, and shrews, and any hedgehogs if there are any here. Cats are also at risk. Bait boxes are not an answer as the rats (as everyone knows) keep returning every year without fail. Killing is not a solution to anything.
    I managed to stop the situation here by shaming the neighbour (it’s a close community). I put leaflets through every local door (including hers) explaining why you should NOT use poison, and giving helpful links to advisory websites about how to control rats humanely.
    What kind of bird feeder does your neighbour use if any?
    Have you contacted your local environmental health officer? If you explain your frustration and objections abd that the rat poison hasn’t worked, they might be able to inspect her patch and influence her into acquiring a
    rat-proof feeder such as a poultry treadle-feeder and cleaning up her garden.


    A more humane way of keeping rats away is by moving garden furniture about every few days as they don’t like change (though I appreciate that may be difficult for your neighbour). I think the only thing you can do is speak to them about your concerns and offer them a different way to resolve to the rat-problem.

    P. S. It’s refreshing to see that there are others who are concerned about the use of rat poison. There are some petitions regarding this issue on if you’re interested.


    Ask your neighbour if they could use humane rat traps. Any rats caught can be shot with an air rifle in the cage, or taken out to the countryside and let free. If a Hedgehog is caught in error then it can be released with no harm done. It may be safe to use bait stations during the winter months when Hedgehogs are in hybernation, but they would have to be very careful as Hedgehogs can wake up hungry, wander out for a snack then go back into hybernation. I dont like bait as the rats carcass can be eaten by other animals and of course they do smell really bad.

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    As it is illegal to trap heddgehogs, even a ‘humane’ trap should be located where hedgehogs cannot access it – and would need to be checked very regularly in case they did manage to.


    Have you tried buying some lockable rat boxes? They allow the rat in thru a small hole front and back. Midway thru the box is the chamber where the poison goes.
    No hedgehog can access poison but I know hh eat mice Ive seen this on my night camera.
    I’ve found that rats go off to – tucked away- places to die. Also it’s worth buying the top of the range quick acting poison that professional pest controllers buy. Can’t remember name but it’s on Amazon. Big blue cubes.
    I’ve learnt the hard way – having found rats indoors, in a wall & eating my cats food at night.
    Awful, awful, awful


    Re rat poison boxes….
    Meant to add.
    Hammer sticks in ground all round boxes and put bricks on top. Don’t want the boxes being moved.
    I hate killing any creature. I try never to knowingly step on any insect…but sometimes you just have to do what must be done.


    Surely hoglets could still get in? Young hoglets can be the same size or even smaller than rats.


    I have had to use these lockable rat poison boxes myself. As Jenny says, with an infestation spreading to your house one has to do what must be done.

    These boxes can be put in raised places, shed roofs, lofts, or maybe garden tables well out of hedgehogs accessibility. I have not placed any at ground level myself and I abhor the thought of placing them under sheds/decking (rat hidey holes) because of any risk to other wildlife.

    A rat only needs a 20 mm hole (less than 1 inch) due to their flexible structure so can clearly access every gap and crack. I sometimes have a box on a shelf in a shed when seems necessary – rats have chewed through my brand new shed door to access chicken feed.
    Like you Jenny it does go against my conscience, I don’t even kill flies, but their are times we must do what we can. A neighbour of mine had rats hanging from trees to eat birdfood, then in his house. Be careful, responsible and sensible.

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