How To Identify And Deal With Rat Holes In The Yard
Whenever one thinks of a rat hole, the cartoonish image of a perfect semi-circular entrance in the corners of the house comes into mind, the ones where Jerry mouse apparently lives a luxurious life. The reality is far messier, rat holes are unfortunately not as pretty as portrayed in cartoons. In real life, rat holes lead to a lot of destruction and damage to property.
We present the ultimate pest control guide which will help people identify and deal with rat holes in the yard.
Signs Of Mouse Invasion
Rats, though tiny, leave behind ample signs of destruction in their wake to alert the owner of their presence. It might not be easy to spot a rat in the house but there are enough signs of infestation one can look out for. Aside from the mouse hole itself, which is undoubtedly the biggest sign of infestation, few other signs are:
- Rat droppings are usually found in and around places which they frequent.
- Mice regularly shed; look out for hair, generally short and gray, black or tan in color in and around areas frequented by mice.
- Most mice often squeeze between objects as they move, this causes their fur to leave behind a faint but traceable oil stain on the surface. You can even notice discoloration in the area if the rat recently crossed it
- Most mice will use the same pathways in and around your house again and again. This often leaves tracks or grease marks, along the path. You can even find out bite marks, scratch marks, tail markings around the house as well.
- Rats carry a pungent smell and leave traces of urine as well. If you notice a strong smell of urine especially around the corners then you may have a rat problem.
- Look for debris that you wouldn’t necessarily expect in the area, including wood chips and rubbish.
- Last, but not least, lookout for signs of squeaking in the middle of the night or scurrying in the less frequented corners of the property
What Does A Mouse Hole Look Like?
First and foremost, look at the entrance of the hole, the rat hole would be 2-4 inches wide, which is enough space for the pest to pass through. Also, the entrance would look very smooth due to frequent usage. Also, look out for fresh dirt in and around the entrance point, which accumulates when the rodents kick their way in or out of the hole.
Next, the depth of the hole: the rat holes in the lawn are roughly 3 feet in length and 18 inches in depth. Some rat holes are deeper as rodents might try to burrow through the foundation of the building. The deeper burrows often also function as nesting or breeding grounds for the rats and hence may be stuffed with grass, cloth or other materials for insulation.
Probable Burrowing Areas For Rats
Mouse holes can be quite difficult to spot. Oftentimes they are camouflaged by their surroundings and hence very difficult to spot at a glance. One really needs to look for the rat dwellings in the less frequented sections of the property, this means you will have to check the pipelines, the attic, the vents, garden spaces, backyards, etc. Other probable areas where rats might decide to live are:
- Damaged or broken wall paneling
- Cracks in-between tiles, wooden floorings, etc
- Door hinges or window sills
- In the ceilings, gaps in the vents hollowed spaces in the attic
Also, a common misconception that most people have is that mouse burrows or holes are actually where these pests breed. Instead, these holes are simply access points via through which rats can wander into your house. Rats prefer to build their nests in the isolated corners of the house where there is less human interference. This means you will have to check in the quite sometimes even sealed off areas around the property. Ensure that the property is properly safeguarded against pests before investing in it.
Why Are Rat Burrows Dangerous?
Ignoring rat holes outside or anywhere in the property is usually a bad idea as it might be the gateway for other pests and creatures to enter your property. Also, the pheromones left behind in the nest can attract other rodents to infest the area. Invaders like birds, skunks, raccoons, and squirrels can also be attracted to space and want to build their nests inside.
Another hazard that rodent holes pose is that the rats in burrowing holes often expose the wiring and plumbing. the electric wires and leaks can lead to short circuits, fires, and other untoward circumstances. Rats are also the harbinger of various diseases that can lead to medical problems for the fail.
Inadvertent Mouse Holes You’re Unaware Of
Most rat holes are outside in the backyard, garden or other areas in and around the property. These pesky pests may burrow their way inside through pre-existent corners and nooks of the house. These holes hence work like readymade roadways for pests and make moving in and out of the house easier. Some probable access spaces for rats can be via the underground pipelines, cable lines, vents, electrical wiring, conduits, etc. Rats also prefer areas under the kitchen sink or the bathroom.
Should You Block Mouse Holes?
No, blocking rat holes is not a good idea and here’s why:
Blocking the entrance and exit points for rats to travel in and around the interiors can lead to more harm than good. If the rats are inside the hole when trapped or sealed it limits your chances of actually catching them and disposing of them safely. And if they are outside the house, that gives them more opportunity to wreak havoc in the house.
Also, the chances of trapping a mouse inside can lead to the rat suffocating in-between the wall space. And no one wants to deal with that now! For even though rats are tiny, the smell of their bodies decomposed and rotting, is unbearable and also attracts bacteria and pests that pose worse medical risks.
Your best bet would be to trap the mouse inside the house, remove it from your property and then seal the hole permanently. We would recommend you call in professional pest control services to deal with the problem instead of resorting to DIY traps or over-the-counter pesticides. However, it is also obvious that property owners should seal all external entry points through which the mice can enter the house and cause destruction.
Identifying and Inspecting Rat Holes
Rats are not the only creature burrowing holes in your backyard. There are some identification signs that clearly differentiate a rat-made hole from others. The entrance for instance, as discussed earlier, is roughly 2-4 inches wide. Also, it is interesting to note that the entrance of the hole is smooth and usually has a trail of loose, fresh dirt on the outside.
Also, note that most of the rat holes do not have only one entrance or exit. The burrows are often interconnected and have multiple opening points which might not be visible at a glance. For better inspection, one can start looking in and around places frequented by the rats, areas like the overgrown garden shrubs, the decks, drain covers, in and around compost heaps, wood piles are some favorite spots for rats to build burrows.
How To Get Rid Of Rat Holes In Yard?
Sealing the holes with the rats inside is a bad idea and we have already discussed why. The only obvious solution to deal with rats is to remove them from your property. You can opt for killing the rats using traps and pesticides.
A more humane alternative is to capture the rats and leave them in the wilderness far away from your property. Burrow baiting an innovative and quick way of capturing rats. There are also a few other measures you can adapt to keep away from the yard.
- Remove all sources of food and water from in and around the probable nesting areas and burrowing grounds.
- Seal garbage cans, store the compost and other biodegradable waste in airtight bins, clean out the stagnant water sources, etc from the gardens and backyards.
- Fix the plying, leaking pipes, broken water channels, etc.
- Also, check for probable areas inside were the rats can make their burrows, repair the broken tiles and flooring, fill in all gaps with caulk or wood.
- Finally, plugging the rat holes with dirt and install mesh or steel wires along the entrance as it is a good way to keep them away.
The Bottom Line
A mouse problem is probably every homemakers’ worst nightmare. Pests like rats are not just dangerous for the property but also pose several health risks for the inhabitants of the house that can lead to fatal consequences if left unchecked for long. Don’t worry though, you can get rid of rats easily by following these tips mentioned above. If you find any of these infestation signs in and around the yard, call pest control services in your neighborhood.