I saw my first rat eating bird seed at my bird feeder this morning. It ran into a nearby garden I have near the house. I've been told that there is a rat problem a couple of blocks down. I'd hate to take down my bird feeder, but does anyone have any experience with this and how to get rid of them? I'd hate to put down poison, too, because I have chipmunks at the feeder. Any advice is appreciated!!!
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I use Del-Roy located on LaGrange. He has bait boxes that have rat food in them and which take several feedings to kill the rats, apparently by causing internal bleeding. But it takes several feedings and the dead rats will not harm other wildlife if eaten. You can buy the boxes for about $50. They work real well, too. Squirrels can't get into the boxes.
Personally I prefer the crossman american classic bb handgun, can pump that sucker to like 20 and put a bb through its skull, rat problem abated without risk of poisoning other critters.
"... the dead rats will not harm other wildlife if eaten."
Who said that? Is it poison that kills the rats?
Similar to Linecrosser, I use an air pistol to plunk the rats.
...the dead rats will not harm other wildlife if eaten."
Pete, I appreciate your response, but I'm not sure I understand that part, either. I thought poison is poison. The rat problem down the street was addressed by the bait boxes. I haven't seen the chipmunks at my feeder in the last six weeks. Usually, when I don't see them for a bit, I can hear their difinitive calls in the area because they are at the neighbors' feeders. But nothing anymore.
Chipmonks are rodents too, might have gotten into the bait boxes.
Had to use my official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle on some varmints eating up my zucchini this year.
Do a search of this site, there was a thread about this last summer. Anyway, I ended up just setting out rat traps, which got a few (along with a chipmunk) and then put the feeder away. If you don't want to put the feeder away, you have to figure out a way to keep the seed from spilling on the ground (tray, etc.)
Could be worse...
is this the BB gun you guys are talking about? http://www.amazon.com/Crossman-American-Classic-Variable-Action/dp/B0018LB9A0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314472579&sr=8-1
awesome. do you guys use the stock sights, or have you modified?
if you are worried about them charging after being shot with a bbe gun there is this:
awesome. do you guys use the stock sights, or have you modified?
I use the stock sights. But if you think it will help, you can buy the optional shoulder stock extender for that particular pistol and make it a mini rifle.
Crosman 1399 Custom Shoulder Stock for the 1377 air pistol
Of course, buy a can of .177 caliber pellets. I use the pointed ones for the rats.
Buy some 10 meter targets and set up a little shooting range in the basement or garage. Good for killing time when not killing rats.
You may discover that you're capable of serious .177 air pistol competition, but then you'll probably need to upgrade to a pistol like this that costs nearly $2,000.
I am not an expert on these bait boxes, but as it was explained to me by Del-Roy, after several feedings the bait thins out the blood to the extent that internal hemorrhaging starts and the animal dies. I know it works because I have discarded the dead rats on my property. It takes not one or two feedings, but several. The concentration of blood thinner in the body is not sufficient to kill an animal that eats the rat because the thinner is cumulative. Apparently, the thinner has to be taken over time. It takes several feedings by the rat. That's all I can tell you about this. Contact Del-Roy for more information. And, no, I do not have any relationship with that company except that I employ their services.
Regarding guns, I have shot rodents with pellet guns, 22 caliber rifles, .38s and shotguns. Unless you want to stay up all night with an infrared scope to watch for these babies, I would suggest Del-Roy's bait boxes. They will cost a bit, but they really work. I am too old to stay up after dark looking for rats, which is when they come out.
"I am too old to stay up after dark looking for rats, which is when they come out."
Rats are nocturnal, but they also forage in the daytime if necessary. I've only shot three or four rats in our backyard, and they were all shot in the daytime. The rats started appearing in our yard two years ago, and I noticed them because they ran around during the day.
One theory was the construction of the new elementary school nearby displaced rats around the old building. Whatever, these rats had no problem with feeding in the bright light, especially around bird feeders. I guess if they're hungry, and if they have competition for food, and if they "think" they have no predators, they'll feed during the day.
We have a lot of flowers in our backyard, so maybe the rats felt safe with foraging during the day because they could quickly disappear amongst our backyard vegetation, during the summer and fall. So I don't think it's just bird feeders that attract rats. They need more than just a food source. Rock walls, wood piles, and vegetation may look like attractive areas for rats to setup shop.
It's definitely safer for the rats to forage at night to avoid predators like hawks. Last winter, a Cooper's Hawk eliminated a rat for me. That's why I oppose the poison idea because hawks do exist within the city, and they'll take easy, disoriented prey that's poisoned.
Anyway, you don't need night vision goggles to shoot rats. And it's not hard to shoot a rat. I've shot them by slowly raising a window. The rats are wary, and they get startled easily, so make quiet moves.
But if you observe a rat in your yard that's making foraging runs back and forth between two areas, you should see the rat exhibit a pattern. That is, it's likely to do the same thing over and over. Same running path. Same foraging behavior. Nearly the same amount of time between visits.
Here's a recent example from our backyard:
While watching the birds at our feeders early one morning, I saw a rat making repeated foraging visits. I guess it was collecting seed from under the feeder and taking it somewhere. The rat was hidden from my view at points A and B because of all our flowers. I only saw the rat when it moved between the two points across what little lawn we have in our backyard. The rat moved from point A to point B in one fast, continuous run. Little chance to shoot a rat like that. But when the rat moved back to point A over the same path, for some reason the rat stopped for a couple seconds in the open in the same spot on the lawn. Odd. But it repeated this behavior over and over. Well, that two or three second pause in the same place was the opening for me to shoot the rat. My air pistol was nearby. When the rat disappeared at point B, I raised the window, and stood away from the window because of the rat's wariness. Then I let the rat make another trip to A and back to B. While it was hidden from view at point B, I rested my hands/arms on the window sill and aimed my pistol at the spot in the yard where the rat kept pausing on its return trip to point A. So I was aiming at grass. I waited. The rat ran toward point A and paused in the spot that I was aiming at. I knew I had about two seconds before it moved on. I aimed and shot that rat that was approx 30 feet away from me. It was garbage day, so the timing was good.
It was an unplanned "hunt." It only took a few minutes to see the rat's pattern and to shoot the rat. Took only slightly longer than it takes to microwave a bag of popcorn. Easy. Just like with other hunting, observe the critter's behavior, determine a pattern, and exploit the info you collected.
JR, I'll bet for every rat you shot, there were five or a lot more that you never saw. Shooting them is not the solution. It's just a lot of fun. If one is serious about eliminating the rat problem, one has to take more serious measures. UNLIKE the Lucas County Health Department and their overpaid overseerers, who don't take their jobs seriously!
"Had to use my official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle"
You'll shoot your eye out, kid!
Hey dbw8906 - does yours have one of those things which tell time???
Traps and poison are indiscriminate. You'll kill anything that eats the poison, and most critters will eat it. The use of a bait station is either Federal law or a soon to be enacted Federal law, and it's not all that effective.
Predators are the natural enemy of the rat, so you might consider obtaining a nice rat terrier or dachshund. There isn't much that will go through a sack of rats faster than a dachshund. Some cats will hunt and kill rats; I have two such cats and no rats remain in the barn - a sort of mute testimony to the effectiveness of the cats.
The problem with rat traps is that you're likely to catch a neighborhood dog, cat or kid in the trap, and then it's going to be devil take the hindmost when the pet owner begins seeking out the trap owner for a conversation about the perils of trapping.
I am in favor of JR's approach. When you want to hunt, put up some nice rat bait in a selected location and check it at the end of the day to see if it's been disturbed. When the critters begin eating the bait, limit the time when the bait is available so as to give you a hunting window, so to speak. Remember to bring your friends, a good rat terrier and plenty of beer - as you see fit, of course.
Shooting rats is fun and gets rid of the rat problem. Case in point, ask JR if he has any rats left or if they all just decided to relocate to a healthier climate. Because, according to Pete, he couldn't possibly have shot them all.
We also have the rat problem, under my neighbors 3 sheds. In desperation, we asked our councilman for help. No help, I could have made the same phone call to the health department myself. Anyway, health dept. came out and said no evidence of rats at the neighbors. They wouldn't see any holes because the guy has openings 4" high around the shed. Rats go right under. So much for the health dept. We have been putting a bait box out at night and take it in early morning. Sometimes the bait will be gone several days in a row. We now see young rats and will continue the box, but I don't see a solution to this unless bait is put under his sheds, which we can't do. No way I want my dog catching rats.
Try the bait boxes and good luck.
"Shooting them is not the solution."
Rats still exist with your use of bait boxes. New rats will move into your bait box area from another area that has too many rats. I control what's in our yard. And my way is more environmentally-friendly than your method. We have enough humans who chemically-bomb their yards, trying to make their lawns look like Augusta National, and now humans deploy toxic bait boxes to eliminate critters. I have no problem being the one oddball in our area that shuns the usage of those toxins.
I don't have any philosophical or ethical reasons against your method, JR. I just think it is a relatively ineffective way to rid an area of rat infestations. You might shoot some rats, but you won't get them all. And then they'll just continue to breed. The result is that you'll never win the war. Your method will work only by becoming a full-time sharpshooter, 24/7, because you never know when one will come out. And where there's one, there are probably five more.
I brought in the bait boxes about five years ago when I walked into the back patio and saw a huge rat run across the yard. I brought in the bait boxes and eliminated that family of rats. I know this because I found some of their carcasses. I never found a dead squirrel or chipmunk or another mammal. So I asked Del-Roy next time he came out to check, if he could tell what was eating the bait. Sure, he said, by the teeth marks on the bait. You've got rats and mice eating the bait. I asked about squirrels (which I'm partial to). No, they can't get into the boxes. I asked about possible poisoning of other wildlife that might eat the rats. Nope, not enough concentration of the thinner. Has to be eaten over a period of time.
As far as I am concerned, the boxes are effective, a permanent solution, and cheap. They don't force me to perform my daily sniper duty (which might be fun for a while, but could be a real drag if it becomes a constant job). And regarding the humane issue, I really don't worry about whether a sewer rat has a few bad minutes before it moves into rat heaven.
For three years after the boxes went in, there was NO evidence of rats. No teeth marks on the bait, just a fair amount of mice. I'd say that's pretty effective.
I think anybody living along the I-475 cooridor in West Toledo probably had rat problems with all that digging. Thought there was some articles published. Eliminating the food source not as easy as it may seem sometimes
Entering the war zone again - the rats are back this summer. We used poison baits, and that worked for a bit. Tried like hell to use other options, but nothing was effective. The neighbors last year refused to fight them and they probably multiplied as a result. Now the neighbors are getting involved and putting out poison baits. I hate that stuff. Too many opportunities for collateral damage of backyard wildlife. If a poisoned rat gets into our basement, and our cat gets it, will our cat be poisoned as a result? I've had too many conflicting opinions on this. I am close to getting to an air gun and shooting them. I am running out of options. I am sure I'll see them swinging from the tomato plants in a few months. I wonder if the Douglas Road area, which had a pretty bad rat infestation a few years ago, ever got rid of them. I heard they were actually in some of the houses out there.
I am close to getting to an air gun and shooting them.
Which is what you should have done in the beginning, and should be doing right now. In addition to the air rifle, get a nice terrier and allow the little dog free run of the yard. Dachshunds are good for this kind of work as well, and even the miniature dachshund makes a good ratter.
I hate poison as it doesn't discriminate. The poison you use on rats will kill any other mammal as well, including chimps and children. My best advice is to stay away from the poison, but if you do use it, make sure the poison is in a bait station that the neighborhood dogs and cats can't get into.
You could also offer the kids a bounty on the rats - say, $1.00 per rat. If that doesn't do it, increase the bounty to $2 or $3. Rats are great moving targets for kids, and any kid with a slingshot or BB gun is pure hell on rats.
Good luck to you.
Watch out with the guns as well. I misplaced shot meant for a rat can easily find it's way into another window or person if it ricochets.
The biggest problem with the rats is if a neighbor has a place for them to live and breed, you'll never get rid of them. They eat birdseed, dog feces, just about anything. I hate those things.
...get a nice terrier and allow the little dog free run of the yard. Dachshunds are good for this kind of work as well, and even the miniature dachshund makes a good ratter."
Interesting that you mention that, madjack, I am close to getting a rat terrier. We would like to adopt a dog, but we're not quite ready yet. Funny that a hawk was resting on our fence the other day, causing a commotion among the local bird population. And one of the rats was running around in the yard. I thought for sure it would swoop down and get it, but the hawk just sat there. WTF? Maybe it was in the mood for sparrow or something. Or maybe he was full already.
"Watch out with the guns as well. I misplaced shot meant for a rat can easily find it's way into another window or person if it ricochets."
More like hit me in the eye and blind me. Not sure that would be a good idea, as well. Regarding an air gun, are there any drawbacks or dangers to that, other than missing the target and hitting or damaging something near it?
The squirrels are bold around my house, falcon sitting on fence and squirrels almost chased it off. Have seen as many as 7 at one time in the spring, they did seem to play with one squirrel and it did run off to hide. As far as squirrels I have had as many as 8 at once around the house. They might as well be rats, they think they are owed some food or something, they have climbed up onto our window screens to get a better look into the house to see if we are coming to give them some food.
Is it just me, or is anyone else alarmed by so many tales of rat infestation? I am kinda grossed out by the idea of living someplace where these rodents are so prevalent. Haven't ever seen one in my neighborhood, thank god, but now wonder if I'm missing something.... The only creatures that hang around our bird feeder are deer,rabbits, and the inevitable squirrels. At least, that's the impression I'm under!
Over a month our next door neighbors discovered rats in their garage. They had a huge rat problem. Then about 4 weeks I saw 2 rats coming out of the creek bank. Called the critter hot line for the city, wrote my city council woman and 3 days later a lady from the Health Department came and talked with my husband.
The next day the Health Dept lady came back with shovel in hand and baited several rat holes along our creek bank.
We also feed the birds, ducks, squirrels and whoever stopped in for food. We stopped that immediately. And all those lovely critters went away. But I have not seen a rat since.
Construction and/or digging bring out all kinds of creatures we do not want in our backyard. Also one unkempt yard with garbage and rats have a feast.
I have the card from the Health Dept. with the "rat lady's name" on it if anyone would like it. I was very pleased with her response.
Rats are just the symptom of poor city and neighborhood management.
"Is it just me, or is anyone else alarmed by so many tales of rat infestation."
I was thinking of that, too. More and more people, it seems, are seeing rats invading their neighborhoods for the first time. I've never had rats in my yard until last year. It may just be all the road construction in the area in the last few years.
"We also feed the birds, ducks, squirrels and whoever stopped in for food. We stopped that immediately. And all those lovely critters went away."
We had to stop that, too. We really miss that! Maybe we'll be able to pick that up again once we get the rat issue under control.
"You'll shoot your eye out kid."
"Now the neighbors are getting involved and putting out poison baits."
Hopefully that will do it. Otherwise, you're just treading water.