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Are You Sharing Your Yard With Rats?

By Chris Williams on February 9, 2017.

I just found a large hole in the ground at the corner of our porch slab that has fresh dirt around it. Something obviously is living there. My son said he saw a rat yesterday! Would a rat live so close to the house? L. W., Concord, NH

Although rats normally don’t like to be around people, whether they will nest nearby depends on many factors, including how often the area is disturbed by people, the proximity of food, and the size of the rat population. You don’t say whether you live in a dense urban area where rats are common or whether neighboring properties may harbor rats. Rats on the fringe of a population may get pushed out into less desirable nest sites such as your yard. On the other hand, if you are providing a buffet for rats, the available food may overcome their shyness.

If You Feed Them, They Will Come!

Do you have a bird feeder on your porch or nearby? Seeds are a favorite food of rats and mice and spillage under a feeder will easily attract nearby rats. Likewise, if pet food is left outside on the porch or there’s a garbage can nearby, that’s easy rat food (see Manage Food and Garbage to Manage Rats).

Rats especially like to burrow under concrete slabs, or other heavy objects. The size of the burrow opening is often the key to whether you are dealing with rats or some other burrowing animal. The main opening to a brown rat’s burrow is 2 to 3 inches across. The fresh dirt around the opening probably means that this is a new burrow (see Could Those Be Rat Holes?)

Colonial Pest Knows Rats

Give Colonial Pest a call and have one of our rodent specialists inspect your property. We can determine what is living in the burrow and can set up live traps if it’s a larger mammal such as a woodchuck or raccoon, or we can initiate a trapping or baiting program if a rat is the occupant. We can also advise you on what could be attracting rats and how to rat-proof your property.

Photo Credit : By Losch, Attribution, Link

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