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How to Humanely Get Rid of Rats in Your Home


Rats are very successful at surviving and thriving in different environments. One of the reasons for their success as a species is that they are extremely resourceful and can get nutrition from a wide variety of foods. They are omnivores, so they can eat pretty much anything we eat. That's why our homes make a popular sanctuary for these intelligent animals.

And although having wild rats in your home can be pretty scary and unpleasant, these animals are actually very smart and likable - ask anyone who's ever kept rats as pets!

If you're like me and don't like to end the lives of these innocent rodents just because they're doing what is natural to them, there are humane ways to get rid of them. There's no need to make them suffer or kill entire rat colonies when it's possible to get this issue sorted with simple, humane measures.

Here are some suggestions on how to keep rats away from your home without causing them harm.

Don't Leave Food Out

Rats come into your home for one thing - to eat. And if there's no food in reach, they won't have a choice but to leave and search for food elsewhere.

The first thing you need to do to discourage rats from entering your home is to remove access to food sources. Keep your kitchen and dining room clean, don't leave crumbs on the table, store food in airtight containers, and keep bags of food in closed cabinets or the fridge. Also, don't leave your pet's food dish filled with food throughout the night.

Use a Repellent

Several things work as rat repellent. Try soaking cotton wool balls in non-toxic repellent liquid, peppermint, spearmint or eucalyptus oil and placing them where the rats are entering your home. A predator's urine also repels rats, so cat owners can try putting their cat's litter box where the rats enter the home (that is, if your cat approves).

Another option is ultrasonic devices which transmit high frequencies that deter rats. These devices need to be installed in close proximity to where the rats are, so you might need to install them throughout your home for them to work.

Seal Entry Holes

Rats are coming from somewhere, and it's not through your front door.

Your home has a hole or a crack in your foundation or walls where they can enter and exit as they please. The hole doesn't have to be large - rats can get through holes as small as 1 inch! They can also get inside using heating vents or gaps where the pipes enter your home.

Even if you decided to eradicate the rats in your home, a new family of rats would soon move in, and you'd be back to square one. So the entrance they're using to enter your home needs to be sealed, or you're never getting rid of them.

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After rat-proofing your home, use humane traps to get rid of the rats still in the house.


Catch Them With Humane Traps

If rats don't leave by their own choice, you can catch and release them using humane traps. This should be done as a last resort, as this can still be dangerous for rats. There's a high chance that rats, once released, won't be able to survive in unfamiliar territory.

There are, however, some steps you can do to increase the chances of their survival. When releasing the rats, release them no further than 100 yards from where you caught them. Releasing them far away might seem logical, but it's dangerous for the rats as that's completely new territory for them. That's why they should be released close to your home, where they've lived their whole lives and are familiar with the territory.

When rodents are released in an unfamiliar area, not only are they away from their usual food sources and shelter, but they might also be at risk from other rodents or predatory animals occupying that territory.

If you've sealed the entry points on your house, releasing them nearby shouldn't be an issue, as they won't be able to go inside anymore.

You can purchase a nonlethal trap in many different stores. They are inexpensive and simple to use. Put some food, such as peanut butter, on a piece of cardboard inside the trap and then it's just a matter of time before they get captured.

Ideally, rats should be released in dense vegetation, or somewhere they can shelter, such as a shed. If you find a nest with baby rats without a mom nearby, contact your local wildlife rescue to see what's the best step forward. If you end up having to care for them yourself, this baby rat care guide might help you. And remember to use hygiene precautions when dealing with wild animals.

Call a Humane Pest Control

Some pest control companies offer humane solutions that don't include extermination or harming the rats in any way. If nothing else works for you, this is also a viable option. Just make sure you're on the same page with the pest control professionals that come into your home.

Hopefully, this has given you some useful ideas on how to get rid of rats from your home while not harming them in the process. There's no need to cause suffering for these animals just because they're doing what they can to survive.


© 2022 Monika Flora

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