Susan W
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Location: Memphis, TN

Oh Rats!

Not sure if this belongs in compost, whatever else or somewhere else. Mod can decide, Thx!

I had been spotting something furry in the compost, and not a squirrel (we have plenty of those). Today got closer, and looks like a rat. It scurries over the fence to the neighbors, and doesn't set up housekeeping on my side.

My compost is really a pile in the back corner of veg scraps (no meat/dairy), cardboard TP tubes, leftover potting soil from containers and a nice mess of worms.

My OK Kitty is free range in my back yard, so can't do rat poison. When I had an old shed admit to using that a few times (in shed out of Kitty's range) Ugh.

Now what? Do I give my neighbor a baggie of Rat stuff and say it's his problem?! We are not exactly chummy BTW.
Have fun!
Susan

cynthia_h
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Location: El Cerrito, CA

If there's no chance the cat can get to it, I'd suggest getting a Rat Zapper (tm). It's battery-powered, no toxins involved. I got one about a week and a half ago, when I was watering the compost and something large and furry leaped out and ran for it. :evil: The next-door cat has jurisdiction over mice and squirrels, both of which he seems to have sufficiently discouraged from my yard, but rats are *not* his responsibility.

This interloper was a rat. I was furious. NEVER BEFORE have I had such an intrusion into my compost. I've loaded the Zapper with dog food, turned it ON, and so far no rat has returned. Fine.

When/if the rat (or any rat) investigates the Zapper, said rat will complete the battery-powered circuit and will be Zapped. The light on top of the Zapper will blink, letting me know the Zapper has done its job. I will turn the Zapper off, pick it up from its business end, hold a plastic bag at its open end, and dump out the dead rat into the plastic bag. I will then tie the bag shut.

I will NOT compost the rat's body. My compost pile runs too cold to deal with such pathogens as I suspect rats carry.

The Rat Zapper isn't cheap (I paid $42.99 plus tax! plus batteries), but it's safe, effective, and non-toxic.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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rainbowgardener
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Get a bin/ enclosure for your compost pile, so macro-creatures can't get to it.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

cynthia_h
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Uh...Rainbow...Mine is in a BioStack. Over time, however, the lid has gotten slightly out of square with the sides, and that's how The Creature got in. So a container isn't 100% protection, sadly.

Cynthia

tomc
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Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

A hav-a-heart trap and a barrel of water will fix what ever ails a rat.
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Susan W
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Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 6:46 pm
Location: Memphis, TN

Thanks for the suggestions. I am watching the pile to see if the critter is a regular visitor, and just what it may be.

I will be checking out the Rat Zap when in the box stores.

The 'compost' pile is really just a loose pile. Food scraps, cardboard, leaves, worms, leftover dirt from pots etc. I am paying more attention with turning, watering etc, and there are more worms. I use a few handfuls with worms in a pot (14-16"), and a few forkfuls if working in ground. There is an adjoining pile of potting mix, the dirt tumped from containers, and leftover stuff from bags etc. I get a few worms over to that side also. Much of that pile went to a new bed last week.

Next season I may look into a compost tumbler, and saw one that is double barreled, so can have 2 things going (fill and tumble). I figure that would be more controlled, and I'll get a finer compost. Then I can still have the loose pile with worms and other stuff, some food scraps (especially when not adding to tumbler).
Have fun!
Susan

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Midwestguy
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:43 pm
Location: Kansas

I had a neutered tom cat that was a masterful hunter. He killed a rat in my veggie garden once. He also pulled moles out of the ground and killed them. But, with house cats you have to take the good with the bad. He also killed many native species of song birds.
You may also consider a live trap. Place a slatine carcker covered in peanut butter at the back of the trap. Then rub some peanut butter on the door and wipe it off. This way you get a good strong smell of peanut butter on the door. Stick the trap onto the part of the compost pile where you have seen her the most frequently. Once you have her trapped you can either relocate her waaaaaaay out in the country or you can send her to that little rat heaven in the sky. I wouldn't let her loose in your neighbor's yard, because she would just come back over to your's and your wonderfully delicious compost pile.

mmmfloorpie
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Posts: 107
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:21 am
Location: Ontario Canada

Re: Oh Rats!

Susan W wrote:Not sure if this belongs in compost, whatever else or somewhere else. Mod can decide, Thx!

I had been spotting something furry in the compost, and not a squirrel (we have plenty of those). Today got closer, and looks like a rat. It scurries over the fence to the neighbors, and doesn't set up housekeeping on my side.

My compost is really a pile in the back corner of veg scraps (no meat/dairy), cardboard TP tubes, leftover potting soil from containers and a nice mess of worms.

My OK Kitty is free range in my back yard, so can't do rat poison. When I had an old shed admit to using that a few times (in shed out of Kitty's range) Ugh.

Now what? Do I give my neighbor a baggie of Rat stuff and say it's his problem?! We are not exactly chummy BTW.
Make sure it doesn't have a nest in your pile... I found a mouse nest in mine this spring.

estorms
Senior Member
Posts: 263
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:04 pm
Location: Greenfield Township, PA

I live in the country. Along with the normal grass and leaves, the only kitchen scraps that go in the compost pile are carrot, potato and other vegetable waste along with occasional egg shells. No meat or dairy. The neighbor's chickens scratch through it now and then. I have never had a problem with varmits and I know there is a bear in the neighborhood. As soon as you throw in the littlest bit of cheese or the tiniest of meat scraps, you are in trouble. I keep those in a plastic bag in the freezer and only take them out if I hear the garbage man coming. The only varmits I have are the garter snakes that slither underneath when they see me.

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