Rats are a major health issue, and if you have a garden you have probably encountered a problem with rats and other rodents. It is not easy to get rid of rats once they discover your garden, and the best way to do it is to contact the professionals. Wildlife rehabilitators are a paid service (and there is no free rat removal available), but they will know how to use traps to quickly and effectively remove rats from your garden. You can protect your garden with poison or traps. However, poison isn't a humane solution for rat extermination because it causes internal bleeding and the animal doesn't die right away. Instead, it will take a few days and eventually the rat will crawl somewhere to die, where it will decompose and this will smell terribly.
With all the above in mind, the best solution to avoid the situation is prevention.
When it comes to rat prevention, gardeners are usually left to handle it on their own.
Rats love gardens because loose, fertile and warm soil is something that provides shelter and a close proximity to food. A rat can dig a hole and create its burrow anywhere in the garden; this will be a deep hole with an entrance and an exit and will be a home to a family of almost a dozen rats. The first and most important thing to know is that rats don't eat vegetables. They eat human food and they usually search for food in the garbage. Thus, to keep the rats away from your garden, you should always keep garbage bins and cans firmly shut so that they can't get inside. Rats need at least 1 ounce of food a day and access to fresh water. If the food source is cut off, they will leave. They will eat fruit and vegetables when this is the only accessible food, but they will search for a food source that includes proteins and carbs and will eventually relocate to the destination where they have such food.
If you make your own garden compost (or keep it in storage for use), make sure that the compost doesn't include food remains, because this will attract them into your garden. It is best to store compost in firmly shut containers. Food for other animals in your household such as seeds or other types of food for pets, pigeons, chickens, etc. that is stored near the garden should also be stored in firmly shut containers so rats can't get to it.
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We are the Pest Education Network, a non-profit organization that focuses on wildlife and pest removal education. Our approach utilizes Integrated Pest Management, a strategy advocating prevention and humane methods.