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How to get rid of rats in your garden

Knowing how to get rid of rats in your garden is important. Whether you’re a fan of rats or not, there’s no denying they’re pests. Sadly, they spread quickly and carry diseases such as Leptospirosis, which can lead to Weil’s disease.

Knowing how to get rid of rats in your garden is important. Whether you’re a fan of rats or not, there’s no denying they’re pests. Sadly, they spread quickly and carry diseases such as Leptospirosis, which can lead to Weil’s disease.

You’ll tend to find them under your decking. However, they also like to hang out in greenhouses, sheds and behind structures such as compost heaps. As they’re nocturnal, you’re unlikely to see them during the day. However, there are signs to look out for that will give you a few clues.

Signs of rats under decking

The most common signs of an infestation are:

  • Tunnels and ‘runs’, which are found along walls and fences. They’re around 10cm wide
  • Small cylindrical droppings
  • Gnawed wood/teeth marks
  • Teeth marks on any vegetables you grow
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How to get rid of rats in your garden

How to get rid of rats in your gardenAs rats require good sources of shelter, food and water, we advise removing one of these things from your garden initially to see if the issue goes away. If this isn’t possible or you have a larger infestation, then you might need to call in a professional the help you deal with the issue.

Check out our rat exterminator cost guide for more information on pricing up your project.

Alternatively, our following blogs have more information on dealing with rat related infestations:

How to get rid of rats in the garden without poison

We’re often asked ‘how do I keep rats out of my garden?’ And the answer is, prevention is always better than cure. No one enjoys calling in an exterminator to deal with the issue. So, if you’re looking for how to get rid of rats in the garden humanely or avoid having to altogether, then follow these tips:

  1. Stay on top of garden maintenance so the rats have fewer places to hide
  2. Stop feeding other wildlife until the infestation is under control
  3. Remove your bird feeders or make them squirrel-proof (rats enjoy the fallen seeds!)
  4. Make your decking airtight!
  5. Move your garden furniture around every few weeks to stop rats settling in your garden. They’re neo-phobic!
  6. Check for holes in your walls, floors, and doors and plug them up
  7. Keep your compost bin secured with chicken wire
  8. Make sure your garden hose or taps don’t leak
  9. Cover and secure drains and pipes with mesh
  10. Use humane traps to catch the rats

How to get rid of rats in the garden shed

How to get rid of rats in your garden shedRats enjoy living in sheds. As they’re dry, warm, secure and usually hidden away, that’s where you’ll most likely find them hanging out.

Using snap traps or poison will get rid of them quickly; however, there are humane ways to deal with the problem too. By removing all clutter and plugging up any holes, you’ll cut off their entry to your shed and force them to find somewhere else to live. Live cages also work. However, when you trap a rat (or two), you’ll need to release them at least a mile from your home to avoid them returning.

Top tip: We commend your humane approach, but make sure you never touch the rat or let it infect your home or car by covering the cage in old sheets. Dispose of your new friend immediately to avoid a recurring infestation.

How to get rid of rats in a vegetable garden

Growing your own food in this age of climate instability is both wise and commendable. However, as most keen gardeners will tell you, wild animals will feast on the fruits of your labour.

Thankfully, there are many ways to secure your vegetable garden without resorting to drastic measures like poisons.

  1. Use peppermint oil to deter rats from setting up camp; mint for you, not for them
  2. Catnip is a natural rat deterrent, so grow a few of these minty plants to stop them from moving in
  3. Cover or remove water sources. If you have a pond, try to raise and/or cover it
  4. Build a raised bed with soil netting to give your plants a chance. Our guide on how to build a raised bed will help
  5. Install strong and secure polytunnels

How to get rid of rats in the garden with pets

If you own a garden-roaming pet, such as a dog or cat, then they should earn their keep and help you with your rat infestation. However, if you have pampered pooches and/or kitties who haven’t known a day’s work in their lives, then use any of the aforementioned humane methods of rat control. Avoid traps and poisons as these can accidentally hurt or kill the pets you chose.


How to fill rat holes in gardens?

How to get rid of rats in your gardenThe best way to fill rat holes in your garden is with cement, soil, dirt or gravel. Mesh or chicken wire also work, as does wire wool. Try to plug the holes at night when the rats won’t be home. This lets them find a new home instead of perishing in the hole.

How do I get rid of rats fast?

Sadly, traps are the quickest way to get rid of rats. However, this isn’t for the faint-hearted, so if you find yourself unable to lay them but you want a quick fix, don’t hesitate to call in a professional.

Should I kill rats in my garden?

Sometimes, extermination is your only choice. If your garden is brimming with life, plants, food sources and shelter, then rats will inevitably move in. And if all humane methods haven’t worked, it’s likely time to hire a professional.

What do rats hate the most?

Other than traps and poison, rats hate peppermint oil! So, why not add some to a spray bottle and give your garden a minty mist once every two weeks? Alternatives include naphthalene and cloves.

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