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Large holes in lawn

Hello all, 
3 large holes have appeared in the centre of our lawn. I am almost certain they must be rat holes but I'm not 100% sure so please can someone advise? They are approx 12cm diameter and too deep to see the end when we shine a torch. 
Our next door neighbour puts out a mound of food at the bottom of their garden (right by our fence) each night for the foxes but it is such a huge amount of food that there is always leftovers. It is usually 2 whole loaves of cheap white bread, a kilo bag of white pasta, which she boils up and then any dinner scraps. I have delicately asked her to stop putting out so much but she snapped back that "the rats were there long before you" so I don't feel like I can mention it again. 
We love wildlife and wouldn't want to hurt anything but this is a little too close to the house for comfort. Would really appreciate some advise
Thank you


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,102
    Hi and welcome  :)

    As a country girl, those don’t look like rat holes to me ... they’re too big and just look wrong ... any wild rabbits around your area?
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,932
    Delightful neighbour you have  :/
    I'd agree - too big for rats. More like rabbits, although foxes will often dig anyway, even if they have a McDonalds next door to dine at.   

    If you do see rats, don't hesitate to call the appropriate council department though.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • kat.berrykat.berry Posts: 2
    Thank you both for your quick responses. I have set up a camera to try and catch what is causing it! Thank you
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,932
    I was going to suggest a camera, but if you don't already have one, it's a big expense just for one thing!
    Let us know how you get on  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Joy*Joy* Posts: 571
    Have you looked for droppings? Rabbit is round pellets (bunny currants when we were children! ) rat is longer and more crescent shaped. Fox is more like dog poo. If they are eating locally you might find droppings. You have my sympathy when you're getting the consequences of the stupidity of a neighbour. The food she is putting out for foxes isn't a good idea as they are carnivores. Rats will eat absolutely anything and carry Weil's disease so you really should be careful as they are incontinent and their urine can carry it. Rabbits will eat dry bread but somehow the diet being provided wouldn't be their first choice.  They would be more likely to eat your plants as they prefer green stuff. 12 cm sounds very small for a fox. I don't think it would get its head in let alone dig a deep hole as narrow as that. I think the food offered is a recipe for disaster and as you suspect will encourage rats. Perhaps your neighbour might have seen evidence of them already when she says the rats were there before you were and just doesn't care.
    I should also have added, are there holes in the fence where they are coming through. Rats will leave greasy marks where they push their way through. As a farmer's daughter I have had experience of all sorts of pests! 
    I can't remember whether the council have rodent operatives now or if they do, whether there is a charge, but I would want to be rid of rats at any cost. 
  • Joy*Joy* Posts: 571
    I've just Googled 'rats in the garden UK ' and I'm even more convinced that this is your problem. Unless the food source is removed, they're sadly likely to get worse. Several sites mention keeping food waste in a covered bin and making compost heaps contained. I also suspect that if you got someone in to deal with the problem they would look for a reason for the infestation. They might want to deal with source of the problem on your behalf which would be less difficult for you as it would be a third party pointing out the error of her ways.
  • TopbirdTopbird Mid SuffolkPosts: 7,572
    If you're not a skitty kat (like me) you could try (gently) putting a bamboo cane down each of those holes and seeing just how far the excavations extend.

    If they are relatively short and there's just a dead end they may be rabbit scrapes. They're shallow burrows made by a female rabbit when she's expecting. I had one making scrapes all over the garden this time last year.

    The females don't live in there with the babies. They give birth, cover the kits over, go off to feed / do whatever rabbits do and then come back, uncover the babies, feed them and cover them again. Repeat until the kits are old enough to fend for themselves. At least that's what the pest control man told me last year.

    I put down a couple of humane rabbit traps but didn't catch anything. I kept filling up the scrapes and tacked down some chicken wire in the areas most frequented. I also found what was likely to be the easy entry point into the garden and blocked that up.

    The babies hadn't been born when all this was going on and, in the end, mummy got fed up and found somewhere else to have her babies. Probably back to one of the hundreds of paddocks and fields surrounding us. I don't mind sharing a bit but when there's lot of open space all around I don't need to share my garden with wabbits!
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,102
    edited July 2019
    This may help

    to me it backs up the rabbit theory ... rats typically do not dig tunnels in open ground. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

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