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Rats and Mice

How to identify a rat or mouse problem

Rats and mice usually will not inhabit an area unless there is a food source available. Rodents are most likely to invade human habitation when surrounding paddocks or grasslands are harvested or when the natural seed food source runs out in autumn. The coming colder months also drive them indoors for shelter and warmth.

Rodent proofing tips

To make sure rats and mice are not attracted to your garden:

  • Cover compost heaps with garden lime and only compost the correct material
  • Do not leave pet food out
  • Keep chicken coops and bird aviaries clean
  • Store pet food in vermin proof containers
  • Don’t feed wildlife or other native animals
  • Pick up fallen nuts from your trees
  • Keep the grass short and the yard tidy with a maintained area around the house
  • Check retaining and rock walls are not harbouring rodents
  • Trim trees away from rooflines to limit rodent access
  • Allow natural predators to keep rodent numbers down

Inside the house rodents are drawn to food. Make sure you:

  • Store food and leftovers in sealed containers
  • Keep your cupboard doors closed
  • Use weather strips on external doors to seal gaps
  • Repair any breakage in wall linings and roof cavities immediately
  • Place metal gauze over external building pipes to limit access to your house

Disposal methods for rats and mice

The two main ways of removing rats or mice are poisonous baits and traps. These can be purchased from hardware stores and farm suppliers.

Poisonous bait

Rodents will not take bait unless the alternative food sources are removed. A slow acting bait in which the rodents do not realise what is killing them is most effective. Keep laying the bait until it is stopped being taken.

Baits must never be easily accessed by children, pets or wildlife. Make sure you follow safety instructions on the packet.
Do not poison in roof cavities as this encourages them to seek refuge in the roof and they may die there as a result. Warfarin based baits create high thirst in dying animals. They often move towards a water supply when dying (eg. a swimming pool).


If using traps it is advisable to secure the trap so that it is not dragged away by animals to an inaccessible position. The trap can be made more sensitive by enlarging the trigger with a piece of cardboard. Mutton fat and peanut butter work much better than cheese as bait and is harder to remove from the trap.

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