It is never good when you spot a rat, but when you see it in your garden, or worse, in your house or business premises, it’s particularly bad. In most of the UK the brown rat is the most common type. they don’t carry the Plague like black rats, but can carry Weil’s disease, an illness similar to influenza, hantaviruses and leptospirosis, amongst other diseases. Some of these can be fatal, in rare cases.
Like most pests, rats seek warmth and food. Allowing food for wild birds to collect on the ground is an effective way to attract rats, so best to use a bird table with a rat-proof support if possible. Make sure dustbin lids fit securely and compost heaps are well contained.
Catching a rat in a basic rat snap trap is cheap and effective, although some may find them cruel and they must be cleaned and maintained. More humane methods involve electronic rat killers, rat cages and bait boxes. Delivered rat poison today tends to contain Bitrex, a bitter-tasting chemical that is effective at discouraging children from eating it.
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