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Something is living in my compost bin...

owd potterowd potter teapot townPosts: 834
Other than worms that is...
I turned my 2nd compost bin today. Upon lifting the carpet cover I found what appear to be burrows or runs at the surface of the compost just under the carpet.
Although I have not seen any, I'm assuming it is a rat(s) but what could be attracting it (them)? 
Could they be feeding on something there? I deposit plant matter from the garden & vegetable waste from kitchen, peelings, egg shells, tea bags, banana skins etc, plus paper and cardboard waste.
Anyone else experienced this? 
Just another day at the plant...
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  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,141
    Rats just love that environment that’s why it’s advised that you turn your compost with a garden fork as often as you can, preferably once a week. Apart from aerating your heap,  rats just hate disturbance. 🐀 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 21,232
    edited March 2020
    Yes, probably rats. Could be voles or even field mice.

    They are probably enjoying your discarded carrot tops and so on. And the warmth of a blanket to sleep under.

    As I live in the country it is absolutely pointless my trying to kill or evict them.  There are thousands more waiting their turn.

    I just let them get on with it. They do a fine job of turning the mixture over for me. As soon as it’s time to dig out the compost, I give the sides a good thump with the flat of a spade. They skedaddle and let me empty the bin in peace. I usually find a little nest or bed in there but have so far never found any young ones in it.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Derbyshire but with a Nottinghamshire postcode. Posts: 16,470
    I had a toad living in one of my bins all last winter. When it was warmish he sat on top. Cold he burrowed down. He was gone when I tipped it out in April.
    It has a tight lid so he must have burrowed up from the bottom.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,141
    All our compost containers are on fine chicken wire, worms can come up but nothing burrowing. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • owd potterowd potter teapot townPosts: 834
    Thanks Lyn
    Yep, I turn it regularly, but not weekly which seems a bit of a chore...
    I have been turning it perhaps monthly for over a year now but it is only today that I have seen these burrows
    Thought maybe the heat from the pile may be attracting them ? 
    Just another day at the plant...
  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 17,116
    I use closed bins, not on the earth, to avoid the rats.  Gazillion of worms and bugs. It works pretty well, but they are small bins. I'm in London, small garden, colonies of rats close by.

    That is a terrific picture, @fidgetbones

  • owd potterowd potter teapot townPosts: 834
    @pansyface @Fire
    Yep, I assumed rats, which are everywhere and never very far away. They are a distance from the house anyway so doesn't bother me particularly and they can just get on with it as you say.
    @fidgetbones it's great to see the wildlife that share our spaces, I remember Monty Don finding grass snake eggs in his bin a few years ago, that's neat.
    Just another day at the plant...
  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,741
    We also have rats in our bin, every year.  Given that they carry Weil's disease, would you be happy to use that compost on the veggie patch, or am I just being paranoid?
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,141
    We also have rats in our bin, every year.  Given that they carry Weil's disease, would you be happy to use that compost on the veggie patch, or am I just being paranoid?
    Probably a bit paranoid Keen, after all they are running around all over your garden at nights, it’s the pee that’s the problem and they pee on everything.  All you can do is wash your veg very well and hope for the best.

    If you see one, dispose of it as quick as possible,  not much else you can do. 
    I was always particularly vigilant when the children were small,  they sit on the grass, put stuff in the mouths.   Make sure hands are washed well after handling soils and composts. 

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • WilderbeastWilderbeast East YorkshirePosts: 1,410
    We get snakes in our compost they love the warmth, infact our old neighbour used to have huge compost heap that the just left to rot all on its own and we got to see the snakes all emerging after hatching 
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