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I have a friend who is dealing with wild rats in her yard. They are pooping in her shed, have chewed a hole in her deck and are breeding as they come in different rattie sizes. Her landlord has decided to poison them. Both her and I agreed this is inhumane. She has one small live trap cage that the rats have come to know isn't the place to go for food.

My friend is afraid of rats and I've agreed to help her relocate them once caught in numbers, however, they cannot be caught! They are cute little buggers and I'd prefer to find a solution that pleases both her landlord and the rats. From what I've read online when rats are relocated they are at risk because they no longer have a familiar food and water source and they could be invading another rat colony's territory and of course be eaten by predators as fast as they're released.

Is there a solution or will all our efforts to keep these bright eyed furballs alive being done in vain? Please someone help.

NOTE: I am aware that live trapping with multiple cages can be successful. However, where is a person going to get twelve live trap cages from without emptying their wallet?
 

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The large bucket/trashcan traps can sometimes work easier. Rats are pretty smart about live traps. You need a bucket/can big enough they can't jump out of. They can jump pretty high so if you have a trash can that would work best. Put yummy food inside. Lay over the top something that they can't get a good foothold on and with luck they fall in. (like a wooden dowel)

If you google it there are some in depth ones. Since you are live trapping, just ignore the add water part and make the can taller.
 

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I recommend moving trapped squirrels to new developments without a population of of established squirrels there already... It may be a little sparse in trees but all rodents are built to survive and it's also likely sparse in competition and predators. In any event no matter where you choose won't be home court. I haven't heard many live trapping success stories with larger rat populations, they are usually smarter than squirrels. However once the parents are gone, sometimes semi-helpless pups tend to turn up that can be rescued as either pets or animals that can be raised and released.

I suppose any rats you do trap are better off than any that get poisoned, by default... Still, rats are amazing navigators as are squirrels and they will find their way home if you don't take them many miles away from their home...

Best luck.
 

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I have had my own rat trapping adventure, when a roof rat baby I was rehabbing escaped and made it's home in my father's kitchen.
First, these things are smart. And they are very, very good at escaping (aforementioned rat now lives in my mother's garage... I'm sure you can guess how that happened).

Live cage traps did not work for me. I tried a couple different varieties, but a small Havahart is probably your best bet should you go try.

Ultimately I used a glue trap. This is not ideal, and I would never recommend them under normal circumstances. I set the traps at night, and went into the next room. As soon as I heard the rat get trapped I went out and very carefully freed it into a cage. I don't know how viable an option this is for you, but I would not recommend it if the animal will be stuck in the trap for any length of time.

And yes, it's true that for some species, rereleased animals have poor survival rates, and this includes rats. Some people feel it's better to give them a chance than to kill them outright. You also might consider calling some wildlife rehabbers? I know we use "soft release" sites for animals we feel aren't 100% up to snuff on their wild survival instincts. Usually this is some kind of wildlife sanctuary or a property where someone might toss some food out or provide water and shelter areas. Having said that, however, rats are usually not on the top of the list for animals that get soft releases, and especially if someone has their home on the property I doubt they will want rats there. Still might be worth to call around and ask, just to see. Sometimes rehabbers develop an affinity for particular species and will go the extra mile for them (at my organization I'm known as the rat girl :rolleyes:).

But yes, when releasing them it needs to be FAR. At the refuge a litter of woodrat babies I raised was released down the road from our property (maybe a mile?) and they came RIGHT back.

Also, do not store the rats in any cage with a plastic top/bottom. They will chew right through it (we currently have a couple rats that have set up shop in our clinic thanks to a plastic-bottomed cage).

If you guys do end up needing to use kill traps, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not use poision or glue traps. Truly, snap traps are the "best" way, as unpleasant as we may find it to deal with the bodies. I hate to give advice like this, but it needs to be said: rats are smart, and will quickly figure out that the traps are to be avoided. The best strategy is to put the traps out unset but baited. Use A LOT of traps. Do this a few times so that the they become accustomed to the traps and eating off them. Then set them. This will allow you to catch lots of rats before they start getting wary of the traps. I know, it sounds horrible to give advice like this, but I'd rather see you do what needs to be done in the most humane way so that you don't have to resort to poisons glue traps or other less humane methods.
 

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Just a thought, I wonder if the scent of a female rats urine would work as bait in a trap, surly they couldn't resist that :p . It would only work with males but hey, atleast they'll be no males left for the other rats to breed with lol
 

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I might add one little footnote, before you attract unwanted attention to your private catch and release program... in some areas it's unlawful to move wildlife from one habitat or town to another. What you may see as doing a good thing, might get you a hefty fine... The idea being that moving sick wildlife from one area to another can spread disease from one animal population to another, aside from whatever risks there are associated with introducing invasive species to any environment. Licensed wildlife rehabbers are usually exempted.

The odds of getting caught are pretty negligible, unless you go about drawing attention to yourself. Then you might wind up getting a lesson in the old axiom that no good deed goes unpunished. This is just a friendly heads up, not legal advise or a recommendation that you should go out and break the law.

As to transplanted rats surviving the relocation, I'll bet on the rat every time... Rats are amazing survivors and they have colonized most of the world... I'd almost worry more about the pristine environment you introduce them to than their survival. Usually all a rat needs is a fair chance and very basic resources... they are masters of exploiting any opportunity. If there's food, shelter and water they are more than likely to survive and thrive. Not that I'm discouraging your plans either... but I'd think long and hard before introducing a population of rats into a place they don't belong.
 
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