Help! Really smart rats!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by KrisCVT, Sep 30, 2016.

  1. KrisCVT

    KrisCVT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Anyone have a recommendation on how to kill rats that will NOT go in any sort of trap? I haven't seen any, but all signs point to them: tunneling into run, tunneling under duck house, tunneling under water basin and base of ramp, half eaten tomatoes on ground in garden (abuts coop area). Digging at base of run. Coop is against 12' very old stone retaining wall- so I have noticed areas of dirt pushed out in various spots. All activity seems to happen between 11pm and 6am.
    Look what they did just last night:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    They ignored ALL traps I had out with pieces of granola bar.
    Ignored the stupid electric trap.

    I'm at my wits end. I've tried:
    Tried bucket trap: nothing
    Set 4 rat snap traps in various locations with different baits- only 1 was set off and 1 fat field mouse was caught. Nothing since.
    Electric trap: nothing
    Was going to try the sugar-baking soda "poison" tonite but having my doubts.

    What else can I do? Although the digging at the edge of the run at times seems to be because of the PVC feeder, otherwise they have no interest in bait and just tunnel and dig. Contemplating ripping out my tomato plants despite still harvesting in case they are using that as food....

    Any ideas? Bait boxes I doubt will work because these rats seem uninterested in bait or crawling into anything foreign.

    Help!!
     
  2. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Since they are not taking the bait, are you entirely certain they are rats?

    I had tunnels show up like that last fall in a horse barn and that turned out to be a skunk. It was going after the cat food inside. The tunnel was not much larger than what you show.......along the perimeter. All digging work was done after dark.

    Have you considered putting down a wire apron around the perimeter? Those will deter most digging predators.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Howard makes a good point.
    Got a trail cam?

    Or maybe just put out a live trap.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2016
  4. KrisCVT

    KrisCVT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    99% sure. My dogs avoid the area, whereas when there were skunks behind our shed they wouldn't leave the spot alone. No smell. They also keep burrowing under the duck house- it's a dog- house style we built so I can tilt it upwards and fill the burrows under it. One time there was a watermelon rind under there that was presumably stolen from the yard (i was giving the girls watermelon this past summer). Rats hoard food so it seemed the culprit. The retaining wall is probably a haven for them. Sucks.
    See what I am talking about- the wall behind my coop......
    [​IMG]
    There is a small apron- only 4" or so. I'm off to Home Depot to get larger landscaping rocks to fill in around it, and caps for my pvc feeder (my ducks won't be happy).
    I just ordered "just one bite" on Amazon. Not happy to go that route but I don't know what else to do.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I'd spend money and effort on HC for an apron before dumping more rocks in there.
     
  6. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, I'm not sure how the wide apron that works so well with predators works with rats. Normally, diggers go to the junction of flat and upright and work up and down from there, never realizing they need to back off a couple feet and start a tunnel. A rat might be one that would start out far enough to go under and apron and dig his way in from a distance. They dig tunnels to begin with and not just a hole to get under the obstacle.

    Still curious though if it is rats why they would not take the bait? (BTW, what are you using for bait?)

    A weasel might dig a hole like that, but tunnels under the rock wall? That sounds like rats, except maybe the weasel has killed all the rats and is now trying to get at your birds?

    A trail camera would really be a help here.
     
  7. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    BTW, I really like your coop and run setup. That is one of my ideal suggested types for a small backyard flock. It looks like you have done a really good job with it.
     
  8. PingoBags

    PingoBags Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Try peanut butter. I've always used peanut butter and have caught tons and tons of rats and mice over the years using it.
    Accidentally caught a squirrel or two as well :( My record is 10 mice in 2hrs
     
  9. KrisCVT

    KrisCVT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! Our setup has worked really well since July of last year- no issues until now!

    The only reason I didn't suspect weasels was because my ducks are left out in the run at night ... and weasels would have killed them.

    I have tried peanut butter, almonds, pecans, tomatoes, granola bar, cucumber hollowed out and filled with chicken food.....

    Put an apron on this afternoon across the backside where most of the digging occurred. Will install the rest this weekend. Unsure what to do about the tunneling in other areas.

    Hubby thinking about getting a pellet gun... I'm worried about birds eating the pellets..
     
  10. paneubert

    paneubert Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had to stop using peanut butter. Caught squirrels, baby bunnies, opossum, birds....
     

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