The presence of a rat in your garden is not necessarily something to worry about. It is likely that there are rats visiting lots of gardens, especially where there is food freely available, such as bird seed, compost waste or when rubbish bags are left outside, etc.
If you wish to discourage rats from coming into your garden or home, the first thing to do is to make the area less attractive to them and try to proof buildings and other structures to prevent them entering.
To make an area less attractive to rats:
- Ensure all rubbish is kept in closed bins and then disposed of properly.
- Do not leave any edible material such as kitchen waste on open compost heaps. Instead, compost kitchen waste using special bins or put it out for collection with the rest of the household rubbish in secure bins.
- Any food put out for wild birds should preferably be supplied using suitable bird feeders or up off the ground on a bird table. Food should not be left out late in the day when it is unlikely to be eaten and will be a possible attraction to rats and mice.
- If domestic pets are kept, such as rabbits or birds, their food should be stored in secure containers and any waste disposed of carefully. Care should be taken to avoid spilling animal food in the area of hutches and waste bedding material should not be put onto open compost heaps or bins, as it may contain the remains of animal food.
Good house maintenance will minimise the risk of rats entering a house.
If a rat is found inside your property control would be necessary for public health reasons. Contact your local authority for further advice.