Killing rats outside house

Most of the time, people are only concerned when rats get inside buildings and attics. Who cares if rats live outside? Of course they live outside! But in some cases, rats outside cause problems, and people want to know how to kill rats outside.

  • Get a pet cat, or even a good rat dog
  • Keep outdoors clear of debris, such as wood piles, garbage, etc.
  • Keep pet food inside, as well as garbage or any other food
  • Harvest crops and fruit diligently, and don't let it fall on the ground
  • NEVER use poison of any kind!
  • The A24 Automatic Rat Trap kills up to 24 rats at a time

The problem is more complex than solving a rat issue inside a house or other building. To keep them out of the building, simply seal shut their entry holes. But how to eliminate rats in the outdoors?

It's not so easy. The best bet, as always, is to address the exact problem they are causing. If you don't like rats outside because they are eating your friut or pet food, then keep that stuff cleaned up or indoors.

Reader email: I have just read your article on why you shouldn't poison rats/mice and was wondering what your solution would be when the problem isn't in the house but outdoors. We live in the country and the recent spate of mild winters has to a glut of mice and rats (carcases always being seen on the road where cars have hit/killed them). We have tried traps and they are either being set off by small mice or voles or the local rats are clever enough to get the food (tried melted cheese, peanut butter, bacon rind, all firmly attached to the trigger plate) without getting caught. The ditches either side of the property behind us (long grass, empty, believe awaiting decision in a court case over who owns it) and the numbers are too high for me to kill just by trapping. They don't come into the house and our cat kills the mice that are stupid enough to enter, but I am worried because my daughter has rabbits outdoors in hutches (can't bring indoors as not enough room) and the neighbour breeds partridges. While he has poison boxes everywhere, and as a result doesn't seem to have a problem with rats eating partridge food) I am worried about those around us, I have seen one and it was the size of a small cat. I have never seen any dead rats from the neighbours poisoning and suspect they probably die in the graveyard the other side or the empty field at the bottom. What would you advise, have been advised to try both glycol and generic rat poison, both in boxes that are inaccessible to cat/dogs. The only real wild life around here are wild birds although I think I have heard foxes calling some nights. ps: I live in Ireland but the problem is the same.

Go back to the Rats in the Attic home page.

How to get rid of rats outside

If you have spotted rats on the exterior of your home, perhaps on your land, there's a good chance that one rat is trying to work out how to get INSIDE your home. And once they're inside, getting them back out again is going to be an almost impossible task. That's definitely the case if you don't know what you're doing … That's most of us.
Making sure rats keep off your land entirely is probably a big ask. Without the use of prison-worthy gates and electrical fencing systems, there's a good chance you won't be able to stop ANY animal from getting into your front or back garden or your land if they want to. What you can do, on the other hand, is make sure that there is nothing on your land that is attracting these animals - making your home look like a place worth investigating.

Make sure you have no food left lying around.

This could mean food that you have left down for your pet cat or dog, or leftovers from a BBQ. It could even be crumbs and scraps that you drop on the floor as you go. In short, the more untidy and messy you are, the higher the chances you'll run into rodents such as mice and rats. If you clean up after yourself, and make sure you don't leave food around, the rats have no reason to investigate further, thus putting your home at risk from rat invasion and infestation.

You should make sure that garbage is covered, and that bags cannot be ripped open by passing wild animals. Garbage cans should be covered, and if you have a problem with animals managing to tip it over and knock the lid off, buy cords to ensure things are tied down securely. The harder you make it for thee animals to find food, the higher the chance they'll stop trying and move on.

Clean up after yourself

If you leave piles of wood and leaves or garbage around in your yard, you're asking for trouble. The more clean and tidy you keep your land, the less chance you will come under attack. Wild animals love those abandoned piles you leave hanging around. They'll burrow into them, making that space their home, and once they've done that, they'll start having babies. Then they'll be even harder to get rid of. Then you'll have multiple animals on your hands, and not just one rat. By making sure you don't have these piles on your land, you're giving these creatures less reason to come closer.

Perform home maintenance

If you inspect your home regularly, you'll be able to spot weak spots and then repair them. When you do that, you make it harder for rats and other animals to get inside your home, and isn't that the aim of the game?

Take a wander round outside your home. Does anything look damaged? How about the areas around windows and vents? Where the roof meets the house? How about around the chimney? Could animals get into the top of that?

Are there pipes running into your home? Are these pipes properly sealed so that nothing can get in beside them? What about drain systems outside? Are these covered too? There are plenty of small changes you can make to the exterior of your home, mostly repair and strengthening works, and these can all help in the fight to make your home and land (or commercial property) rat-proof.

Go back to the Rats in the Attic home page.