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How to get rid of rats in your backyard

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So you suspect you’ve got rats… while it’s not the nicest news, there’s some really simple steps you can take to ensure your New Zealand home and garden is a pest free one. In this article, we step through how to get rid of rats in your backyard, and talk to someone who’s actually done it, Tom. 

Meet Tom

Tom lives in Wellington, New Zealand. He owns a flat in the central city with a small backyard and shares it with his four flatmates. He needed the most simple, effective way to catch rats, one that would keep on working even when he’s away, and boy it has!

Toms caught 19 rats from his backyard in the last two years, and with his new Chirp installed, we can keep on counting. Before he could get rid of rats, there’s a few critical steps he needed to take. 

1 - Finding the rats 

Maybe you’ve got a suspicion, you’ve seen rat droppings around or might have spotted a brave rat racing past late at night, but it’s important to know exactly what you’re dealing with before you spend any time trapping. 

Often, where you see the rat isn’t where you’ll catch it, so making sure you do your research before laying a trap can be a critical and often missed step.

An easy way to do this, is to set up chew cards. These are an easy and affordable way to find where your rats are happy feeding. A bait can be spread onto a plastic card, which demonstrates which types of pests are engaging with the card. 

Goodnature Rodent Detector Cards are an easy way to gauge where rats are happy feeding, and introduce them to the bait that will be in your trap. The rats will learn the smell of bait in the Rodent Detector Cards, and with some additional pre-feeding will get used to hunting this out as a food source. 

Attach cards in any spots you may suspect rats are. Within a week, you should start to see which cards are being interacted with, the video below will show you how to get rid of rats. 

Rats have larger jaws than mice, so will chew further up the triangle on our scratch detector cards. You may notice that you have a lot of engagement on one card, and not the others. Rats move around a lot, but generally, like to feed in certain places. The detector card with great engagement is a great place to put your trap. 

Tom had seen rats in his rubbish, so had a good indication it was rats he was after. He then found a suitable position, and spread some of the lure around the trap as pre-feed, giving the rats a good taste of the bait in the trap. 

2 - Removing food sources 

Rats are smart. They’re always going to look for the easiest, safest and of course most delicious food they can get their teeth into. If you’ve got other baited traps, a compost bin, rubbish bags or even pet food left out, they’ll have no reason to explore the trap you’re providing. Naturally very suspicious, they’ll stick with the food they know is a safe bet. This is why people are often left wondering how to get rid of rats. 

Removing any other sources of food is critical to the success of your trapping. Place rubbish into bins, remove other traps or poison, clean up compost and remove food to drive rats to your trap. 

Tom’s backyard isn’t large. In fact, it’s one of the smallest we’ve seen! There’s no garden, but there are two small compost bins. He blocked off the compost bins from rats and covered his dog's pet food so there’s no chance rats could help themselves. 

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3 - Choosing your trap

The next step when asking how to get rid of rats is making sure you’ve got a trap that works for you. Snap traps, poisons or more high tech designs all differ depending on your needs. 

Tom wanted a solution that would do the work for him. He’s often away for weeks at a time, so there’s no way a snap trap would work for him as it would need to be reset after every catch. Poisons and bait weren’t an option either because of his dog Missy, so he was in the market for something different. 

To catch his rats, Tom employed the Goodnature A24 Stoat & Rat Trap for the job. It’s automatic and self-resetting, so he doesn’t have to go out and check it. Free from nasty toxins, the trap is safe for his pup and super easy to install. With two Goodnature traps set up on either side of his backyard, and hasn’t looked back. 


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4 - Still wondering how to get rid of the rats?

Toms got rid of 19 rats in the last two years! It keeps on working while he’s not home, and it’s so small that he doesn’t have to worry about it getting in the way. With limited space, sometimes a box trap isn’t going to work - so the A24 was perfect. 

“It’s reliable and always there, but also resets itself so we don’t have to manage it so much.”

It’s important to remember how clever rats are, and once they learn to avoid the backyard there’s a chance they’ll a new place to invade. The next step for Tom would be to ensure his house and ceiling are well protected, just to be sure the rats aren’t going to move indoors. The last thing you want to do is start asking how to get rid of rats in your house!

For someone who's super busy, Tom sure knows how to get rid of rats in his backyard, and we reckon every little bit counts.