You’ve probably had an infestation or at least seem them climbing along the roof edges and fence tops. Rattus rattus are commonly called climbing rats or roof rats. Though originally from Asia they have spread around the world along with human colonization. They have been in the US for hundreds of years. You might say they are “naturalized” rats.
These rats have been very successful in colonizing Central Texas and our Heritage neighborhood. They have raised many generations of rat babies in our garage I am sorry to say. Their smell drives our dog crazy but since he doesn’t climb very well he can’t do much other than bark at them. However, our home is well sealed with steel mesh at the bottom of the walls and the attic vents, a relatively easy fix. The garage remains a problem. But our rat zapper works well and makes for easy disposal.
If you have a rat problem please do not use poison. These poisons generally contain blood thinner. Wildlife and pets are at risk of illness or death from eating a rat that has ingested poison. Six dead animals recently found on or just off streets included 3 birds. These have been found along King St. between 31st and 32nd (Screech Owl, rat and jay), Kings Lane in the Buckingham parking lot (Great Horn Owl), and at the traffic circle (2 rats). While no one misses the rats the collateral damage is a lot to sacrifice.
“Safe alternatives include single- and multiple-entrance snap traps, electrocuting traps, glue traps (provided you use them only indoors and frequently dispatch stuck rodents)”. Place any trap along the rat highways which you can usually tell by the brown, greasy appearance of a trail. Or where there are signs of feeding. The electric traps or “zappers” are not recommended for outdoors.
The following article from the January-February 2013 issue of Audubon provides a detailed summary of the poisons, dangers, and alternate treatments. This is just one article out of hundreds out there.
Its the 2nd generation rodenticides that are so lethal. Look for Brodafacoum on the label. Common products using this bait include Hot Shot and d-Con. Other baits include, Bromadiolone, Difethialone, Difenacoum. Please avoid all of these in our neighborhood.
Author: Dana Anthony, January 2018 on behalf of the Heritage Neighborhood Association