There isn't really a foolproof way of making sure rats can't get in your garden. They are wild animals, and they are small and nimble wild animals at that. There's a good chance that rats will always pass through your land, whether you want them to or not. The trick is to make your home totally unaccessible to these critters. There's plenty of things they want inside your home, but if they can't get in, they'll move on. That means they'll be someone else's problem, but rats are always going to be someone's problem. We don't clean up after ourselves enough, or repair the damage in our homes enough, to keep the critters out completely. Well, that's in our experience anyway.
If you make sure that holes are sealed, damage is repaired, and you aren't leaving food around for these animals, they will be less inclined to try and break in. That's what it all boils down to. You can try to keep these animals out of your garden as much as you like, but there will always be insects and bugs and other tasty treats to entice them in. You need to make sure they can't get any closer. Unfortunately, there's no easy way of doing that. You simply need to repair the damage that happens to your home over time, and make sure all holes are sealed up.
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Gardens are great nesting spots for rats because the gardens look like an extension of their natural habitat in the wild. Rats enjoy staying in gardens because they give a sense of home without the predation and struggle for survival that the rats experience in the wild.
In gardens, rats get ample supply of discarded food and waste and so they will not go hungry; your compost pile is a feast to them and the trees, wooden structures, benches, and plastic ornaments are available for them to chew on.
The garden also provides good hiding spots for rats: behind furniture, in shrubberies, under grass piles, leaves or firewood, inside sheds, and under barrels. This makes eliminating rats from the garden a difficult task.
You know that there is a rat in your garden when:
- You see them: Apart from their activities in the garden, rats often travel on power lines especially at dawn or dusk. You should watch for rats on fences and trees too. Many other pests may be living in your garden, so seeing the rats makes you sure that they are there.
- Plants disappear during the night: Rats are nocturnal animals and they feed at night and so you will notice that new plantings, seedlings, and sprouts will disappear overnight without a trace.
- Tunnels in the ground: When a rat colony is in your garden, you will notice the tunnels they make connected by small entrance and exit holes. These tunnels are highways that enable the rats to destroy your garden plants and escape unnoticed.
- Mounds: Rats create mounds on the soil to mark the entrance of their burrows.
- Droppings: When rats enter into your garden, they leave their droppings behind after feeding on your plants. When you see rat droppings in your garden, you should know that rats have infested your garden.
How to keep rats out of your garden
You can keep rats out of your garden by doing the following:
- Improve sanitation: The plant debris and compost pile in your garden attracts rats more than you know because it gives them shelter and food. So to keep rats out, make your garden very organized and clean. If you keep garbage or recycling bins near your yard, make sure that they are always clean. Take out your trash regularly and dispose of food remnants.
- Make fences: Most yards have very low fences with hedges around them. These will invite rats and other rodents into your yard. Make your fence high and deep, this covers for both the rats that love climbing and those that dig.
- Eliminate food sources: If your bird feeders attract rats, you must take them down for a few weeks and prevent bird seeds from spilling from your feeders. You should also store bird food in metal bins that the rats cannot chew through. Pick fruits that are ripe and you should not allow them to fall and litter the ground.
- Remove their shelter: Clear your garden and make sure that the rats have no place to nest in your garden. This will discourage them from staying.
If you already have rats in your garden, you should call a professional wildlife removal company to help you get rid of them as soon as possible.