How to get rid of rats? (Humanely)
Rats can be rather annoying pests to have to deal with, especially when they attempt to infest one’s home. There are multiple ways to go about getting rid of these rats, but some prefer to go about it in a way that is more humane than simply laying out various poisons all across the home and yard. Fortunately, there are a couple of these more humane ways to go about removing these pests.
Note: one can go about using these removals themselves, but it is always a good idea to consult with a professional both before undertaking these methods and after if they do not work as expected.
- Live Traps
The first of these more humane ways to remove rats are live traps. These traps are for those who are seeking to avoid killing the rats who have infested the area, and are looking to simply remove them. However, these traps require regular check-ups and resources to maintain their humaneness. Food, water and nesting material should be included in these traps so as to not allow the trapped rats to starve or die of dehydration. The trap must also be inspected thoroughly so that it does not trap the rats tail or catch some other body part when closing.These traps need to be inspected every morning to see if they have caught any of the rats. Leaving the rat to die slowly in these cages is most certainly not a way to remove them humanely. These rats can then be relocated to either the wild or a nearby veterinary clinic. Those released into the wild do tend to die rather quickly, so some prefer to leave them to local veterinary clinics in order to have them killed there in a humane way.
- Snap Traps
The second humane method of getting rid of rats from a home are snap traps. These traps are quicker than the live trapping method, though some do not like it as it means that there is the possibility of handling dead rats. These traps should also be checked every morning in order to see if any rats were caught and if they might still be alive so that the homeowner can end their suffering. The snap traps are designed in such a way as to kill the rat as quickly and painlessly as possible, thus, making it more humane in nature than some of the poison traps on the market. This is especially true since those poison traps usually contain chemicals, called anticoagulants, which cause the rodent to die slowly and painfully from internal bleeding.
When using snap traps, one should make sure that they are well designed. It should kill the rat quickly and be easy to reset. When luring rats into these traps, the bait should only be placed within the marked bait area and keep the rest of the trap clean of any food matter. Peanut butter, nuts and fruits are all valid types of bait for these traps. If one bait isn’t working, switching to another type usually does.
How to Keep Rats from getting into your house?
As any homeowner or renter will know, the potential of a rat infestation is a serious threat. Rats are agile, nimble creatures able to get through the smallest of gaps, breeding frequently and in large numbers. They are also carriers of disease that pose a high risk to both humans and pets within the home. One female rat gives birth to a litter of 6 or 7 pups but can have as many as 14. She can have 5 litters within a year if conditions are favorable. Female rats are sexually mature and able to breed from 5 or 6 weeks old. That means once a female has given birth, within 5 weeks at least one of her female babies will also be pregnant and this continues to grow. This is why a small infestation can grow out of control in such a short span of time. The more populated areas are the most likely to attract rats since there is a higher volume of household waste and food recycling. There are also more places for rats to build nests and generally fewer predators.
So just how do you prevent rats from getting into your property? Following these steps will help:
- Fill in the cracks! Rats are able to squeeze through holes as small as an American Quarter or 1 Euro coin. Have a thorough check around your home of all window frames, doorways, brickwork, decking, foundations, dog kennels or pet hutches. Any cracks or holes must be filled with sturdy wood, hard-wearing plaster or cement. Also check that these holes are not exposing wires. Since rats like to chew, damaged wiring is a fire hazard and will need replacing.
- Locate the toilet. Rats tend to leave droppings in concentrated areas and usually away from wherever their food source is. If you find droppings, this is probably a commonplace for rats to be and also one of the best places for traps or baits to be located.
- Remove any food temptation. Rats are scavengers and will eat anything they deem edible, especially food waste. If you have an outdoor bin or recycling container, ensure that these receptacles are rat proof. They will stop the odor of decomposing food that rats find so attractive. If you have outdoor pets such as chickens or ducks, only scatter their food during the day and make sure to clear away any left-over food before you go to bed.
- Destroy potential nests. There are several places rats like to build their nests. If you keep logs for a log-burning fire, ensure they are kept at least 8 inches off the ground and covered if possible. You will need to check this area regularly for any rat activity. When gardening work is done, ensure all vegetation is removed. Rats love to make a nest in heavy vegetation as it provides warmth and a place to hide from predators. Rats are also known to utilize discarded appliances or abandoned cars, as these are rarely disturbed. It is important to make sure these items are removed from your property as soon as possible.
- Trim bushes and trees. Rats are excellent climbers and can also jump wide gaps. If you have trees, bushes, shrubs or hedges on your property, trim them back so there is at least a 4ft gap away from the outer walls of your home. Even agile rodents cannot jump that far!
- Set traps. There are several types of traps you can use, ranging from cheap to expensive. Even the cheapest options do a fair job. Most traps are safe for children and pets so they can be used indoors. It is important to follow the instructions when setting traps and place them in areas that you know are heavily used by rats. Most traps are rat-friendly such as cage or pressure traps. You can also use the more traditional rat traps, but you must not dispose of the dead rats in your home garbage as this will just attract more rats.
- Baits and poison. You can also try using baits or poison pellets, but these must NEVER be used in the home as they are potentially lethal to children and pets if accidentally ingested. As with the rat traps, you must dispose of the rats responsibly, so you do not attract more. Do not dispose of them in the countryside as the poison you used can be lethal to other wild animals that may eat the rats.
- Check on your neighbors. If you are struggling with a rat infestation, the chances are your neighbors are as well. Discussing the issues as a community is helpful and you can assist one another in dealing with the situation. If you share communal areas with your neighbors such as areas where recycling is stored, it is important that all of you are aware of the need to keep the area clean and free of potential temptations or nesting areas.
- If in doubt, call in the professionals. Exterminators and pest control companies have years of training and access to the best equipment. They will be able to give you sound advice about the potential dangers within your home. They will also be able to locate and destroy any nests you may not be aware of. It can be expensive, but if the problem is beyond your control it may be your best and only option.