However, most people aren’t thrilled when rats roam around the house or even in basements, garages, or sheds. “Rats can transmit diseases and reproduce rapidly. In addition, the animals are highly intelligent and can cause a lot of damage,” explains Erdmann. «If you don’t want to attract rats involuntarily, you should always keep the garbage cans closed and not throw any leftovers in the compost. Kitchen waste or fallen fruit are an open invitation. Because rats are nocturnal, their presence can be identified either by their food tracks or their droppings.”
If you keep chickens, you should definitely feed them rat-proof and leave no food open. This also applies to other animals: «Unfortunately, rats eat everything – even the guinea pig or the ornamental bird in the aviary, if they can slip in. Therefore, to be on the safe side, lock everything edible well,” says the wildlife expert.
Anyone who notices rats in the home should urgently refrain from setting traps. According to the Federal Hunting Act, it is forbidden to “use fishing gear that does not catch intact or does not kill immediately, as well as self-firing devices” (§ 19 Federal Hunting Act). “Traps are usually cruel tools. You have to keep in mind that traps always pose a danger to other wild animals such as birds, hedgehogs or squirrels, but also to dogs and cats. Small children can also injure themselves,” warns Christian Erdmann. «Also, don’t forget that rats are intelligent, social animals. Where there is one animal, there are usually many. If you catch a rat, the others will avoid the source of danger – but they will not flee together.»
Unfortunately, rat poison is still available in hardware stores and garden centers. The international animal protection foundation expressly warns against laying out rat poison. “Death by rat poison is very slow and painful. It often takes days for the animals to die. Dogs or cats can eat the poison or rats that die from the poison and bleed internally. Birds of prey can also poison themselves from dead brown rats. From an animal welfare point of view, rat poison should be rigorously rejected and should be banned,» says Erdmann.
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