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Rats or mice?

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King29
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PostPosted: 21:15 - 15 Jun 2019    Post subject: Rats or mice? Reply with quote

The lady next door is 78 years old, her husband passed away 3 years ago and she has taken up a hobby to amuse her. She has a love for birds and little wild animals. She is feeding the birds from a make shift table on top of an old washing machine in her garden and she has an old chair that she puts a big dish under to feed the ground feeders (birds that like to eat off the floor). She sits for hours at the window at the rear of her house that overlooks the garden, just watching them.


She has a family of rats or mice that have moved into the washing machines internals. They come out at night and wolf down the remaining sunflower hearts/peanuts and fat balls that my neighbour Doreen puts out. She says they are mice, I am not so sure. I've attempted to photograph them but it's via her window as when I open the back door they scarper back into the washing machine. Does anyone know from the pics which they are? I'm worried about rats more than mice, she's counted 17 around 5am when she gets up, she'll top up the food bowls.


I'm at a loss as what to do, the washing machine is staying put (don't ask), Birds/rats/mice are going through 12.5KG of peanuts and the same in Sunflower hearts every 3 weeks and 200 fat balls in the same time. I don't want a plague of anything next to my property.


So anyone know if rats or mice?


https://i.imgur.com/N8WMIfn.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/AhW6OIS.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/YOmPWEP.jpg
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grr666
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PostPosted: 21:21 - 15 Jun 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rats. All day long. Mice are pretty tiny.
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Pjay
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PostPosted: 21:22 - 15 Jun 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

grr666 wrote:
Rats. All day long. Mice are pretty tiny.

^This.
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King29
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PostPosted: 21:26 - 15 Jun 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK thank you. Is this likely to be a problem for me? will they stay near the food source and not cross into my garden or am I better getting traps? I saw one up close the other day as I opened her back door to cut her back lawn. It looked at me, I looked at it. I'd estimate it was .5kg in weight and would just about fit on your out stretched palm.


Bugger, I hope im not in for an expense.
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wr6133
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PostPosted: 21:40 - 15 Jun 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

King29 wrote:
will they stay near the food source


When the food source pops her clogs, is sprouting daisies and giving zero fucks about rats/birds/etc they'll come looking further afield for food (or sooner if they breed beyond what the food sustains before she croaks).

I'd buy an air rifle and turn the property boundary in to a minefield of traps. Or better yet get her to let you turn her garden in to a minefield of poison and traps.
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King29
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PostPosted: 21:49 - 15 Jun 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good idea wr6133, poison traps here we come.
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Riejufixing
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PostPosted: 21:58 - 15 Jun 2019    Post subject: Re: Rats or mice? Reply with quote

King29 wrote:
Birds/rats/mice are going through 12.5KG of peanuts and the same in Sunflower hearts every 3 weeks and 200 fat balls in the same time.


All those rats are eating quite a lot of food!

They are drawn by such feeding arrangements and well-fed rats breed fast.

You can trap them easily enough (Fenn trap MK IV which you MUST use in tunnels, look these up if at all unsure about their use), or poison them, BUT it's much better to fix the source of the attraction for them.

That means stop feeding them. Get your neighbour to remove cover near the feeders that rats can use (they hate open spaces), and STOP putting food down where rats can get at it. Use a big feed tray for the food under a suspended feeder so that the birds don't scatter it on the ground. Use shelled seeds so that they don't get scattered around so much, birds can just swallow them.

Her rats will disperse if they aren't being constantly fed. If you want to find where they live, so you can do something despicable to them (or get a small dog to do it), then just watch to see where they go, with such numbers it may be obvious anyway from sign, favourite places are under sheds and outbuildings, piles of bricks, compost bins, etc.
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Riejufixing
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PostPosted: 22:00 - 15 Jun 2019    Post subject: Re: Rats or mice? Reply with quote

King29 wrote:
She has a family of rats or mice that have moved into the washing machines internals


Oh! Sorry, missed that. You know what to do then.

Either that, or give her an air rifle. as long as there's a good backstop.

Edit: Again, misunderstood. If she likes them, just talk to her about it ("rats are bad for other wildlife, aren't they and they're dirty and spread infections and rat TB" (etc)), and do what you can along your borders.


Last edited by Riejufixing on 22:04 - 15 Jun 2019; edited 1 time in total
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Riejufixing
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PostPosted: 22:02 - 15 Jun 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

King29 wrote:
Good idea wr6133, poison traps here we come.


Oddly enough, these can often be found around fast food McOutlets and similar places....
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Bhud
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PostPosted: 22:53 - 15 Jun 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rats are larger than mice and have no fur on their tails. Those are brown rats. It's a common species.

I wouldn't worry about it - rats are intelligent and they know where the food is and where it regenerates, and the food is coming from her place not yours. Unless you incentivise them, or start keeping a dirty hovel or leaving food around, they won't show their faces around your place.

Remember, you're never more than 10 metres from a rat, and it's likely a brown rat, in England. You can look up that fact. It doesn't matter where you are - they get everywhere.

People are prejudicial against rodents. She obviously enjoys them, and they appreciate her provision. If I were you I would just leave her alone.
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mpd72
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PostPosted: 00:46 - 16 Jun 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

“Never more than 10 meters from a rat.”

If that were true, how many billions of rats are in the U.K.?
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Ste
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PostPosted: 05:55 - 16 Jun 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those aren't rats, they're Siberian hamsters.

As far as you're aware, at the moment they're living in the washing machine but there will be burrows as well and with a good source of food, others will move in nearby and all the time their numbers are going to be increasing.

Wikipedia says: The brown rat can breed throughout the year if conditions are suitable, with a female producing up to five litters a year. The gestation period is only 21 days, and litters can number up to 14, although seven is common. They reach sexual maturity in about five weeks.

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There's no point in wasting your time trying to catch or poison them when the food source is still there and tbh, if she's going to keep feeding them then rather than trying to catch or kill the rats, it would be more straight forward to kill her help her die of natural causes. Whistle

You'll start to notice gaps they've dug under fences and holes in the ground which lead to their burrows. If or when they make their way into a property then the owner can look forward repairing damage and cleaning up their mess. As wr6133 says, they'll also be looking for other food sources.

Removing the big source of food that gets topped up daily is the first step in getting them to fuck off. If your neighbour doesn't remove the food source then you're going to have your very own plague of rats. She's seen 17 of them so there'll be a lot more than that around.

Other neighbours are going to notice and it's fair to say that most people are going to be unhappy about her army of rats (won't someone think of the children etc etc). Then someone will end up reporting her to the environmental health or pest control people at your local council. She needs to stop before you end up with hundreds of the things!!

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo6/12-13-14/55/contents
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Sister Sledge
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PostPosted: 06:33 - 16 Jun 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

'Pulls jaw back up'

Oh blimey that looks fun!
Rats are cute yes but they spread disease - if you don't stop it then you'll end up with this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leptospirosis

I've had it and it took two years to recover fully.
Rodents are basically incontinent and every surface in every part of the gardens will be carrying it.
A question: How did they get there? They don't stay in the same place and will be constantly searching for new pads to live in. If there's none then they'll make them by digging.
They got there across other gardens such as yours. Rats are everywhere.

Getting rid is like extinguishing fire. Rats are there because of two reasons - food and shelter. Forget about them living in that old washing machine. The machine is cover that's nearby to the food and stops hawks and other predators from catching them when in the open. It's a stop gap position.

By the sounds of it there's a massive population. See one and there's probably 12 hidden or something like that.
I used to kill rat populations as a pocket money earner. I'm a poachers son and understand animals and behaviors. Have some classic examples..

Local car scrap yard. Huge infestation.
The cause was people coming to remove parts for their own cars. They'd arrive with a burger and only eat half of it and throw the rest into a nearby car. That meant for rats they had an armoured home to live in where food came to them!
Scrap yard banned food and I fettled the population before they moved to nearby units.

Local Indian takeaway on an industrial estate.
They'd stack peelings and other food production waste beside metal bins outside because they refused to pay more fora bigger bin.
Rats saw food and actually found cracks in the concrete car parking floor outside. They made a massive tunnel system and would only show to eat food and then go beneath the concrete again.

Finally, a local authority care home here had a rat problem.
The surrounding narrow border of land around the home was a mix of small bushes and lawn. The old folk (basically poor sighted!) thought they were feeding the birds on the lawn and would enjoy watching them eat.
No - it was rats haha! The rats had tunnel entrances beneath the small bushes.
Fixed by killing rats off, removing bushes and banning the feeding of birds.

I know telling the neighbour will upset them - we all have comforts. It has to be done though. Weils disease can replicate meningitis and believe me you don't want that.
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doggone
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PostPosted: 08:10 - 16 Jun 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Feeding birds has this drawback, even if they can't reach the feeder birds are messy eaters.
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andyscooter
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PostPosted: 08:15 - 16 Jun 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

father in law nearly had a breakdown because of them


came through a cracked pipe in the garage and were all over the house

put traps in the loft and could hear them dragging them around at night above his head

chewing wires etc

wife had a problem with them chewing diesel pipes on her car when we had a bush in the front garden this happed twice in a month so she stopped parking on the drive until I removed the bush

need to get shot of them quickly
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Easy-X
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PostPosted: 09:20 - 16 Jun 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm surprised no one's mentioned it: get a cat, an effing big cat. Don't feed your cat too much and they'll supplement their diet with rat Smile
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Ste
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PostPosted: 09:40 - 16 Jun 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

HardlyDavidson wrote:
get a cat, an effing big cat.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNMpFShrBuo
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grr666
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PostPosted: 09:59 - 16 Jun 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd rather send a dog after rats than a cat. Rats are pretty badass and will literally flying attack you when cornered,
I have been on the receiving end many times as I was a flour man working for Spillers milling at Tilbury Dock for
a few years back in my teens and have delivered more sacks of flour and grain to more bakeries, silos and store rooms
than a human ever should. It was rats and pigeons delivering round South London, I'd see them every day
somewhere or other and they would appear out on nowhere if you spilled some grain from a split bag.

My Grace would round them up in 10 minutes flat. Dobermans have a 600lb bite strength, far greater than they have
a reputation for. Easily enough to break a mans arm, never mind a rats back. Shocked She's quick enough to have already
caught a squirrel in her back catalogue of kills and near misses. Laughing A rat ain't getting away from her, she's almost taken
down a deer when under the heady influence of her prey drive. I recently had to re-home a hedgehog and her 4 babies
as they had taken up residence under a log pile in my garden and Grace was gonna get them. Had to take them to
This place or there would have been blood. She was trying to work out a way into them and she's very determined with
zero pity or empathy when she's in Terminate mode, you can spot this mode easily by her full back length mohawk. Laughing
The whole lot of hedgehogs made it by the way, the rescue place rang us last week to tell us mum and all 4 little ones are
doing well despite Graces best efforts to shit them up a bit.
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Kawasaki Jimbo
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PostPosted: 10:40 - 16 Jun 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem is she's putting out more food than the birds can eat in a day, so the night shift have every reason to stick around. The birds will stick around longer and be more entertaining if a small amount of food is widely scattered in a few handfuls across the lawn so they have to hunt for it. They'll find it all. Top-up as required, but not at dusk!
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Ste
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PostPosted: 11:22 - 16 Jun 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kawasaki Jimbo wrote:
The problem is she's putting out more food

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If she's going to continue putting food out for birds then it needs in a place that's completely inaccessible to the rats.

With that in mind, I don't think scattering the food around on the lawn will help with the ever growing army of rats. Laughing
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Kawasaki Jimbo
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PostPosted: 11:27 - 16 Jun 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kawasaki Jimbo wrote:
more food than the birds can eat in a day,

King29 wrote:
(The rats) come out at night.
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Ste
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PostPosted: 11:51 - 16 Jun 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

They mostly come at night. Mostly.

Apart from when they come out in the day.

King29 wrote:
I saw one up close the other day as I opened her back door to cut her back lawn.


You can absolutely guarantee that scattering the food around the lawn will make things worse. The only solution is to put the food somewhere that' inaccessible to the rats. I mean ffs, the little old lady is putting food on the ground in a bowl for them. She's providing stupid amounts of good, I dread to think how much she's got stockpiled for them!!

She might want an infestation of rats but no one who lives nearby will
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grr666
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PostPosted: 13:05 - 16 Jun 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ste wrote:
They mostly come at night. Mostly.


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Kawasaki Jimbo
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PostPosted: 14:03 - 16 Jun 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ste wrote:
The only solution is to put the food somewhere that's inaccessible to the rats ground-feeders.

Counter-productive then, although admittedly a hanging feeder would still attract some birds and might dissuade all but the most desperate and acrobatic rodent.
Ste wrote:
I mean ffs, the little old lady is putting food on the ground in a bowl for them. She's providing stupid amounts of food.

My point also.
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Ste
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PostPosted: 14:08 - 16 Jun 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

OP and little old lady are going to end up in a long drawn out neighbourly dispute and they will both become famous thanks to Angry People in Local Newspapers. Wub
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