London: Increase in 'plague of rats' investigated by team
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Rats are smart creatures, but a rodent infestation can be a very serious problem in your garden. They will eat your fruit and vegetables, camp in your compost and potentially gnaw through fences, planters and more. A female rat can give birth to six litters a year, including up to 12 babies each time – which means leaving the problem unchecked can quickly lead to an infestation.
Rats are an unwelcome visitor in most gardens.
They are considered to be vermin and can spread potentially dangerous diseases such as Leptospirosis.
These vermin can make homes under your decking, in your sheds, in greenhouses and even compost heaps.
Rats are nocturnal so you may not see them, but you may begin to spot their tunnels or see teeth marks in your garden.
How to deal with rats in your garden
Like any living creature, rats require food, water and shelter to survive.
To effectively banish these pests from your garden, you should remove at least one of these to make it trickier for them to remain alive.
Express.co.uk has compiled some helpful tips to get rid of the rats visiting your garden.
The first step in getting rid of rats is to stop feeding wild birds and animals, therefore effectively cutting off your food supply for rats.
Many rats are attracted to the fallen food at the bottom of bird feeders.
Rats are also able to climb up feeding stations to get their food, so keeping these stations clear of food for a time will deter rats.
You can also stop feeding birds and hedgehogs if you suspect an infestation, and secure chicken runs.
Also make sure to store all your bird and animal food in secure containers – rats can gnaw through plastic so you may need to move food inside where they cannot access it.
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Another way to keep your garden clear from rats is to maintain garden maintenance.
Tidy gardens are less attractive to rats as they provide less cover for them.
Cutting your grass regularly and ensuring your storage areas are kept clear helps to cut down on the number of pests.
You should remove rubbish and reduce overgrown areas, especially near fences or garden buildings.
Changing your garden around could help to reduce the number of creatures in your garden.
Rats are neophobic, which means they do not like new things.
Changing around your garden is a means by which you can attack the pests in a game of psychological warfare.
Disrupting the setting in your garden, particularly by placing obstacles in their runs and moving things around frequently, means you can alter their natural behaviour.
Another means by which you can banish rats is to disrupt access to their sweet spots.
Rats love areas below decking as it is sheltered, hard to reach and often food scraps will fall into the pit underneath the wooden boards.
If you can figure out how they are entering the area, you can effectively block them from getting in, making your garden less attractive to this vermin.
In addition, rats enjoy getting into other spaces in your garden including greenhouses and sheds.
Blocking access and plugging holes in the walls, floors and doors of these spaces can help keep rats at bay.
Adding a metal kick plate to your shed door can prevent entry.
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