Can you garden in a wildlife friendly way and not have rats?
Everything I have done/planted in my garden is in a wildlife friendly way. I have built a pond, never use any form of pesticide, planted plants and flowers that are great for pollinators, built a compost heap, feed the birds and have a hedgehog feeding station which attracts on average 4 hedgehogs per night.
But I have now got rats as well. I noticed a pile of dug earth and a hole going under my compost heap so I set my wildlife camera up and filmed a pair of rats going in and out. I love all wildlife and animals but admit that I’m very squeamish when it comes to rats, just the thought of them makes me squirm. As a deterrent I (my husband) put cotton wool balls covered with garlic and olbas oil down their hole and blocked it up and that has temporarily stopped them going in that way but I have filmed the rat climbing up the outside of the compost heap. My bird feeder has trays fitted underneath to catch any food that would drop on the ground and that has worked well for a few years.
What do other people think of having rats in the garden? Should I just put up with it? I’m not happy to use poison as I don’t like the thought of any animal dying a slow death and then poison getting into the food chain. I think I would only be creating a vacancy for other rats to move in as we live in a very rural area with neighbours that keep chickens.
I would like to deter them from setting up home in my garden but I don’t want to kill them using poison. Am I fighting a losing battle?