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Wildlife Pond - discouraging rats

Hello - I'm thinking about adding a wildlife pond to my garden but want to ensure I minimise the risk of encouraging rats.  What are your hints and tips of the best way to do this?  Have any of you had any success in using plants that are supposed to repel rats?
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  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,245
    I've never heard of anyone planting to deter rats.
    Most people gain a problem with rats due to bird food being left out. Rats are opportunists and they'll move in on a free supply of food, and the most common scenario is when there's bird food dropped on the ground, and it's still there after the birds have gone for the night. Once rats are there, they can often find a way of accessing the feeders themselves. 
    A pond alone is unlikely to attract rats, so it would only happen if they're already present and visiting for another reason.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,439
    I believe strong-smelling plants like mint and lavender are said to be disliked by rats, though I haven't tried them myself.  Fairygirl is right - if you don't supply them with food, they are likely to go elsewhere... though I'm blowed if I know how to persuade them not to hang out in my dry stone wall.  I'm not prepared to use poison, having been told the nervous system of a rat is similar to that of a dog - it seems unacceptably cruel to submit any creature to such suffering - so it's "live and let live" here, whilst making the area as inhospitable as possible.  So maybe it's time I tried the smelly plant technique.  Watch this space.   :)
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • Fairygirl said:
    I've never heard of anyone planting to deter rats.
    Most people gain a problem with rats due to bird food being left out. Rats are opportunists and they'll move in on a free supply of food, and the most common scenario is when there's bird food dropped on the ground, and it's still there after the birds have gone for the night. Once rats are there, they can often find a way of accessing the feeders themselves. 
    A pond alone is unlikely to attract rats, so it would only happen if they're already present and visiting for another reason.  :)
    Thanks Fairygirl - that's good to know.  We know there's been rats in the garden but we're in a semi-rural area so that's not surprising.  I stopped feeding birds but I know lots of neighbours still do so they've got plenty of food options in other gardens :)  We don't have a compost bin and black bags are in a wheelie bin so the only food source we'd have is things like berries or crab apples falling off trees if they eat that kind of stuff.  

    According to a US site, the following plants are supposed to deter rats, mice and rodents:
    • Marigolds (Rosmarinus officinalis)
    • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
    • Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
    • Lavender (Lavandula)
    • Onions (Allium sepa)
    • Grape Hyacinth (Muscari asparagaceae)
    • Garlic (Allium sativum)
    • Daffodils
    • Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
    • Sage (Salvia officinalis)
    • Cayenne
    • Black pepper
    • Tomatoes
  • I believe strong-smelling plants like mint and lavender are said to be disliked by rats, though I haven't tried them myself.  Fairygirl is right - if you don't supply them with food, they are likely to go elsewhere... though I'm blowed if I know how to persuade them not to hang out in my dry stone wall.  I'm not prepared to use poison, having been told the nervous system of a rat is similar to that of a dog - it seems unacceptably cruel to submit any creature to such suffering - so it's "live and let live" here, whilst making the area as inhospitable as possible.  So maybe it's time I tried the smelly plant technique.  Watch this space.   :)
    Thanks Liriodendron.  It's really hard isn't it?  I don't want them in my garden/near my house but I wouldn't want to be so cruel to a living animal either.  I've never seen a rat or any signs of burrows/droppings.  My neighbour noticed four last year out in the daytime so they must have been looking for food.  We were having an extension built at the time and I think all the building materials/waste lying around wasn't helping.  We've just made some stone walls using gabion baskets near to the house and I'm forever watching them to make sure there's no critters in there :)  I think I'll give the smelly plant technique a go in the vicinity of the wildlife pond just to be on the safeside!  
  • SophieKSophieK Wimbledon, LondonPosts: 242
    What Fairygirl said.

    Alternatively, you could get a cat ;)
  • debs64debs64 West Midlands, on the edge of the Black Country Posts: 4,217
    Alternatively you could just live with rats. Apparently they are always nearby even if out of sight. Personally I don’t worry about them. There is a thriving colony on the allotment and the only damage they have done is to eat my strawberries so this year those plants will go in the garden instead. Otherwise as others have said it’s live and let live. 
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,439
    I agree, @debs64.  Outside, not a lot of problem...  However, our predecessors in this bungalow let the verge pointing on the gable end fall into disrepair, and rats seized the opportunity to find a nice warm place to nest (the loft).  Then they chewed a hole into the airing cupboard, and from there into the kitchen cupboards...   :#  ...we found rat droppings, and dishes of poison, under the cupboards and in the loft when we moved in.  Our builder renewed the pointing and checked for any other entry points and we now have a rat-free house, thank goodness.  
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • SophieK said:
    What Fairygirl said.

    Alternatively, you could get a cat ;)
    There are lots of cats in the area which is helpful.  A neighbour spotted some rats in a corner of our garden behind the garage from their window and at the time time, I noticed many of the neighbourhood cats had started congregating on our drive.  So it seems that they are doing a good job for us!
  • debs64 said:
    Alternatively you could just live with rats. Apparently they are always nearby even if out of sight. Personally I don’t worry about them. There is a thriving colony on the allotment and the only damage they have done is to eat my strawberries so this year those plants will go in the garden instead. Otherwise as others have said it’s live and let live. 
    True - I just didn't want to do anything particularly that would encourage them.  As I've mentioned in my reply to SophieK up above, I think the neighbourhood cats might be doing a great job on pest control too :)
  • debs64debs64 West Midlands, on the edge of the Black Country Posts: 4,217
    I agree that rats and mice in the house are a menace. Hope yours all stay in the garden @welshcake
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