Tag Archives: sanitation

From the BBG: Managing Rats in City Gardens by Caroline Bragdon

29 Jul

This article, written by the mind behind NYC Rat Information Portal  was originally published by the Brooklyn Botanical Garden in 2006. It dispels many myths,

  • Myth #1: Cats deter rats significantly. They do not.
  • Myth #2:  Rats thrive on vegetable garden produce. They’ll eat it–but they also need animal proteins such as dog waste and food waste.
  • Myth #3: Sonic “scaring” devices and things like mothballs, pepper sprays, peppermint, or other chemicals will deter rats. They won’t. As Bragdon writes,”Beware of anyone claiming they have a secret weapon or chemical that will get rid of rats. There is none.”

Managing Rats in City Gardens by Caroline Bragdon

Many gardeners have had at least one encounter with rats; the typical urban gardener has probably had many. There is only one species of rat in New York City—the Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus). The Norway rat is a commensal rodent, meaning it lives in close association (literally, “shares the table”) with humans. Urban gardens are particularly hospitable to rats because they provide food, water, and safety.

Rats will burrow into any available earthen space within close proximity to food but prefer fresh, fertile soil to make their nests—a garden is prime real estate to them. A rat burrow can be anywhere from one to six feet deep and will have an entrance, an exit, and maybe even an escape hole. A typical burrow will house a family of approximately eight rats. By counting the burrow holes gardeners can estimate the number of rats living in their garden.

Gardeners are usually left up to their own devices when it comes to pest control. Some people want to maintain a pesticide-free environment; others are desperate to get a bad situation under control and will try any remedy. Rats can usually be managed effectively without relying on toxic pesticides. In fact, a good rat management program focuses primarily on prevention.

LEARN WHAT RATS NEED AND ELIMINATE IT Recognizing how to make your space less hospitable can help you to devise a rodent-reducing plan. Rats must eat one to two ounces of food a day and have daily access to water. Rats will eat everything that humans eat and many things that we would never eat. They are not vegetarian; like most mammals, rats (especially reproducing females) need animal protein, fat, and carbohydrates in their diet. Continue reading

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: