How to Get Rid of Garden Rats

Rats can be a major annoyance to those who keep gardens on their properties. Rats will eat available vegetables and climb up trees to reach hanging fruit, as well as chew through wood or wire. According to Island County Public Health, rats are attracted to yards or gardens that contain litter, garbage cans with loose lids or overflowing contents, spilled bird food and rotting fruit that has fallen from trees. Compost piles are also a favorite place for rats to investigate and live. It’s hard to find a solution that guarantees a rat-free garden, but you can take some steps to lower the chances of attracting them.

Things You'll Need

  • Sheet metal
  • Rat traps
  • Peanut butter
  • Rubber gloves
  • Plastic bags

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Wrap sheet metal around the base of fruit-bearing trees to deter rats from climbing or chewing them. Tony Tomeo of warns that this works best on isolated trees; rats will be able to jump from branch to branch on trees that are part of a heavily wooded area.

Set snap traps around the perimeter of your garden. You can buy snap traps in hardware stores, and they work best when baited with a sticky substance like peanut butter.

Check the traps daily to see if any rats have been caught.

Dispose of dead rats by using rubber gloves and wrapping them in plastic bags before putting them in the trash.

Tips & Warnings

  • Rats are difficult to completely eradicate from outdoor places, so lower a garden's attractiveness to rats by keeping sources of garbage or rotting food at a distance. Rake leaves and clean up any spilled bird seed or fruit that has fallen to the ground. recommends keeping a cat or dog around to discourage or kill rats.
  • Setting traps outdoors can be tricky. If you're concerned about accidentally trapping other animals, you might want to install a fence around your garden or place the traps in areas that rats are most likely to frequent (wood piles, under bushes or tall grass, garbage cans or compost piles).


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