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Do I need to worry about the rat in my garden?

itsueyitsuey LanarkshirePosts: 42
I spent half an hour the other morning watching a small rat bounding back and forth across my garden, but when I told my friends I'd called him Richard I was told to call an exterminator. But he's not in my house, he's under the oil tank, he doesn't come up to the house that I've seen, unlike the rabbits, but we do live within 10m of a river so I'm somewhat concerned about wiles disease.

Do I need to be worried? Is there a risk of disease spreading if we don't come in to direct contact with him? Or can I just leave him to his own devices because I'm quite happy to continue watching him being scared by tiny birds. 


  • itsueyitsuey LanarkshirePosts: 42
    Apparently Richard has some friends; about 5 minutes after I wrote the original post I went to look at the back garden and found two rats on my bird feeder and one nosing around my patio. Obviously Richard reported back that I wasn't going after him with a pitchfork and flaming torch so it was safe to come out. 
  • The Bald GardenerThe Bald Gardener South West ScotlandPosts: 212
    Richard will have more than 'some' friends; this guy will have more friends nosing around your garden than a lottery winner has begging letters. haha

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 21,184
    edited May 2018
    Even if you disposed of Richard his brothers, sisters, nephews, neices, aunts and uncles would still be around.

    Do you allow rabbit food to be left on the ground or somewhere a rat could find and eat it?

    Do you feed the birds and allow bird food to fall onto the ground?

    Do you leave cat or dog food out in the garden?

    Do you put food scraps on the compost heap?

    Any of these things will encourage rats to visit your garden. But even if you don’t do any of these things rats will still be there just less often and in smaller numbers.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,531
    I don't think you need worry about Weil's disease unless you swim in the river.
  • TopbirdTopbird Mid SuffolkPosts: 7,574
    We all know that rats are everywhere - isn’t there some statistic about never being more than 2m from a rat? - Yet how often do we actually see them?

    The very fact that you can see 3 or 4 ‘playing’ or feeding in your garden suggests there is at least one (possibly more) family(ies) living near by. The bird feeders provide them with easy gourmet food every day.

    Rats carry disease. In my head there is noquestion that you need to stop feeding the birds and get somebody in to eradicate the vermin. If you don’t they will soon multiply. Come winter they will be looking for a warm and dry shelter. That could be your house. 

    Think on.
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • itsueyitsuey LanarkshirePosts: 42
    There's bits of bird food around the base of the bird feeder as the starlings like to swing on them and it all falls out, I reckon that's what's originally attracted them. I've buried vegetable scraps and tea bags in the flower beds as I don't have a compost bin but they don't seem to have any interest in those. 

    I'll see if I can find some sort of humane trap, I'd much rather gather them all up and release them on to the marsh than have them killed. But I'll obviously have to come up with another way of feeding the birds.
  • Daisy33Daisy33 LondonPosts: 1,031
    @Topbird "isn’t there some statistic about never being more than 2m from a rat? "

    An urban myth apparently...ummm...thankfully. Glad to think I am further than 2m from a rat when I am sleeping on the second floor of my house. :s
  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 17,116
    In six years in my house and garden in London I have never seen a mouse or a rat - and I keep my eyes out for them. We have more cats on the street than people. It's no good for the birds, but hopefully it puts off the rodents. A bit.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,138
    Rats spread  Weil's Disease in their urine ... they dribble urine as they walk about your garden. 
    When I was at school a child in the next village caught it while playing in his garden. He died. 
    When I see rats in my garden I take action to get rid of them. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 3,601
    I'm with Dove on this one. In recent years we have developed a view of 'Nature' that simply ignores the fact that some species are better kept apart and humans and rats fall into this category. The rats come to your garden because you feed them: this enables them to breed even more successfully than they normally do. The world does not need more rats so get an exterminator in to deal with them.
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