By Chris Williams on June 22, 2017.

We tend to think of rats as city pests. We picture them running in dark, dank city alleys to reach their nests in broken foundations, or scurrying into burrows under dumpsters behind seedy restaurants. That’s why we often have suburban or semi-rural customers who are amazed when we tell them they have rats living on their property. Folks, rats aren’t just for cities anymore!

How could you possibly have rats in your subdivision? Like any living thing, rats are just looking for food, water, and shelter. And they are opportunists, adapted to living in many kinds of circumstances. If you feed them and provide them with hiding places, they will move right in.


  1. You may live in what is basically a suburban neighborhood, but at the end of the block there could be a little strip mall that has a small deli with a big, unseen, overflowing dumpster round back, and rats.
  2. Or maybe there’s a quaint little farmette on the corner, a holdout from pre-subdivision days. It has a few animals, animal feed, animal manure of course, and rats.
  3. Maybe you have a not so desirable neighbor who has a property overflowing with old equipment, construction debris, lots of food garbage and trash that never seems to make it to the dump, and rats.
  4. Down the block, there’s a guy who makes extra money by boarding dogs in his backyard kennel. But he’s not very good at keeping the place clean. No one told him that rats eat dog poop, not to mention dog food, so he has rats.


In all the hypothetical situations above, we’ve placed the blame for rats on activities of the neighbors. Those rats might not stay at the neighbors but could wander into your yard. What will they find? Will your activities welcome them?

  • If your food garbage is accessible, overflowing the can, you are inviting rats.
  • If you have an abundance of bird feeders dropping seed on the ground, you are inviting rats.
  • If you’re not so regular about cleaning up dog poop from your yard, you are inviting rats.
  • If you leave overripe fruit or vegetables on the ground in your garden, you are inviting rats.

Now if you take any of these activities that provide food for rats and combine them with nesting sites in your yard such as wood piles, sheds sitting on soil, abandoned equipment, stacked stone, or debris piles,  you’ve provided the right conditions for rats to multiply right on your property…and you don’t even live in the city.

For more on suburban rats, see these Colonial blogs:

Photo Credit : By Tomas Čekanavičius, Attribution, Link

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