In Portland, humane rat removal is something folks are interested in. But what does humane rat removal actually mean? For many, this means live trapping and releasing a rat far away from their home. This is one strategy to get rid of rats from your home. If you choose to go this route, be aware:
- Rats in the city are invasive species. They are “commensal” or “synanthropic,” meaning their habitat is alongside humans. Norway & roof rats are totally unfamiliar with and do not belong in our delicate native ecosystems. Their life after release is likely to be a short, frantic fight for survival — or they succeed, and disrupt native rodent habitat.
- If the rat does survive, it will be traumatized by the trapping experience. They are smart enough to learn never to go into another trap again, live or lethal. If that rat manages to find another person’s house to live in, trapping could no longer be an effective rat removal option. That person may be forced to use poisons to rid their home of that “trap shy” rat. Trap shy rodents and squirrels are a huge challenge to pest managers and homeowners.
Can Rats Cause Damage?
Yes. Rats, squirrels and mice can chew on electrical wires and occasionally start fires. They can ruin car electronics and camping equipment, foul and contaminate attics, crawlspaces, and insulation in your wall voids. Rat damage costs Portland homeowners millions of dollars annually. If allowed access to consistent food sources, they can multiply by a factor of 10, every 8 weeks. Yikes!
What is the Best Deterrent for Rats?
Hardware stores sell many rodent & wildlife deterrent products labeled as natural. Many use cayenne pepper, peppermint oil, or even ultrasonic sound. However, professional rat and mice exterminators don’t use or recommend these products. Unfortunately, they’re not known to be effective. Rats are so adaptable, they will become comfortable with strong odors or even ultrasonic sound after a while.
Dogs and cats can provide some assistance with controlling rodents. Especially if they are born hunters. However city rats have adapted to hide & survive, even in the presence of predators like dogs and cats. So domestic pet odors, or pets at the home doesn’t constitute a complete rodent control method. If domestic cats and dogs provided significant rat and mouse control in Portland, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article.
The best way to prevent & deter rats is reducing any habitat and food sources outdoors.
- Reduce yard debris and vegetation wherever you can. Especially grass & landscaping plants within 1′ of the ground where rats love to hide.
- Trim away vines & branches from fence lines & sides of home & outbuildings where roof rats often lurk.
Seal any open gaps in garages & sheds. Without any good hiding places, rats won’t want to hang around your property. And without coverage, predators or environmental factors are more likely to naturally control rats.
Most importantly, never feed birds or wildlife. Rats commonly take advantage of high-protein food sources like kibbles and birdseed when available. Nightly they gather and hoard food back at their nest. Consider planting Tall Oregon grape, flowering red currant, salmonberry, snowberry, elderberry, or other native habitat shrubs to encourage native songbirds & wildlife, without attracting rats.
How to Control Rats Humanely
Professional mouse, rat and rodent exterminators must rely on trapping, baiting, and excluding rodents from entering homes to provide acceptable levels of control for human health & safety.
Rat removal professionals have been at it for five centuries. And we still haven’t found better ways of effectively controlling or repelling rats and urban rodent pests. Trapping and exclusion are only practical inside a home, garage or other enclosed area. For rats outside, unfortunately most rat exterminators turn to rodenticides to manage population size to acceptable levels.
The most humane way to control rodents is to prevent them from breeding in the first place.
This prevents professional rat and mouse exterminators from having to trap or bait many well-fed, well-hidden rodents multiplying out of control. If you’re interested in learning more about Integrated Pest Management for rat control in Portland homes, give us a call.
We’ll find the most ecologically-compassionate solution while protecting your home, health and safety. Contact us for a free Urban Wildlife Habitat Inspection to learn more about improving your habitat with ecosystems regeneration and Integrated Pest Management.