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we have got seed and fat balls out for the birds and we have a number of regular visitors feeding, also a couple of squirrels which we dont mind but lately we have noticed a brown rat, about the size of a small guinea pig darting in and out amongst the pots at the bottom of the garden... we have a small stream nearby and wondered if it has come from there... Do we need to do anything about it... i.e. informing local authorities or a trap for it... I feel its a normal part of life for wildlife but I dont want it coming near the house..does anyone have any ideas on what to do... We dont want to stop feeding the birds so are careful what we put down but rats can climb up anything apparently - not sure what they do actually they eat seed and peanuts?

Rats will take food wherever they can get it, so it's really up to you to decide whether you're OK about them in the garden. If you don't, you can phone the rat-catcher. If you're happy about them at the end of the garden, then keep things clean near the house, so that there's nothing for them there.

You can take away their hiding places, for instance by not storing things untidily. Don't put too much bird food out at once, so there is more chance of the birds finishing it all up without dropping it everywhere. Grains and seeds are among rats' favourite food.

thanks so much for that advice.. we do have a lot of pots at the end of the garden now and I think they are running back forwards to the stream across the neighbours garden, or they could have a nest nearby... we have only seen one so far, hopefully there isnt a family of them, we wont know if its the same one or others unless we catch one and "mark it".  I did tell my husband not to put too much food down at once.... all we need is rabbits and deer - its a bit like Snow Whites Garden sometimes.


It's not a water rat, as there is a stream, like "Ratty" in Wind in the Willows, is it? Somehow that doesn't seem so bad!

flowering rose

oh dont get me going on the Rat ,My daughter is having problems with her Rat invasion due to the fact the of her chickens,even if the food is in metal container they come for the left overs ,and in my garden the Rat s come for anything edible ,bird seed to compost rubbish,that's why you have to be careful what you put out and leave out. the rats are getting resistant to the poison due to the bird food,( and has to be carefully controlled by the rodent man) and if you seen one rat you have a hundred,they don't come in the problem I have is my neighbour will keep leaving off drain will never get get rid of them completely but they need to be kept in check.


oh no... I dont want an invasion.,... its bad enough with the squirrels


Please don't confuse rats with voles, like Kenneth Grahame did!


I think you're being a bit pessimistic about rat numbers. See if you can find a 'listen again' on the Radio 4 programme 'More or Less' a couple of weeks ago.


Rats' purpose is about as valid as mans'


Oh, was Ratty really a vole?


It's so cute, but I was right in thinking that they can be mistaken for rats accoring to that.


Once you know what they both look like it's fairly easy to tell the differnece - and their habits and movements are quite different too, but until you know them it's an understandable mistake to make.  Sadly many water voles have met an unhappy end in the mistaken belief that they were brown rats  Water voles are lovely and beneficial animals, but they have become quite scarce. 

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