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Getting rid of rodents humanely

There’s an old expression that can strike fear in those with musophobia: “You’re never more than 6ft away from a rat”.

This has been floated around like fact for about 100 years, although the reality suggests the results are quite misleading. Less than half a percent of residential dwellings have rats in their homes, while three percent have rats present outside. But that is of little comfort to people with rodent problems in their house! Whether it’s rats, mice or birds – rodents can be a real hassle for residents. But not necessarily so much of a nuisance that they deserve to die. Coreco are here to offer you solutions to rodent problems in your property that won’t end up leaving you with (rodent) blood on your hands!

Mice

Mice, the most common problem in households, are adept at getting in and out of your house. Once thought to have collapsible bones, we now know that mice are simply very small with very narrow skeletons and flexible vertebrae. This allows them to get through very tight spaces with little problem. In fact, they can even come up through sink/bathtub drains if drainage pipes aren’t properly sealed, but it’s more likely they’d find their way in through gaps in floors or walls. They’re much more common during the colder months while they try to find shelter to keep warm. You can help prevent mice getting in by sealing up all the cracks and holes in your house and by keeping your food in containers. But what to do with a mouse already in your home?

You can simply buy a humane mouse trap or, for more reliably humane methods, try building your own. One tip is to take a waste paper bin with some shredded paper and peanut butter (not cheese) at the bottom. Place it in an area of your house frequented by mice, put a book on top and use a pile of newspapers to make some ‘stairs’ for the mice to climb. The book on top should leave about 2cm of space on either side to get to the bin. The mice will climb up into the bin, land safely on the paper (for a softer landing) and won’t be able to get out again. Alternatively, you can visit this site for some creative ways to capture mice without hurting them!

Try to release captured mice into areas with lots of vegetation, such as a hedge.

Birds

Birds have much less stigma surrounding them compared to other ‘house invaders’, but are known to make their home in people’s houses. The tricky part of getting rid of birds is making sure you’re actually allowed to remove their nests. If you find out you have a bird’s nest in your home, the first thing you must do is discover what species the bird is. The RSPB say that you need a license to remove a nest from your home since most birds are fully protected. Birds such as swifts, starlings and house sparrows are dwindling in numbers and the RSPB implores homeowners to allow the birds to nest in their roofs.

If it turns out you are legally allowed to, remove the nest from its location. This should send a signal to the bird that the area is hostile. Remember to use disinfectant on the areas around the nest’s old location. Once you have removed the nest, start opting for ways to repel the birds in the first place. Plastic predator models can be dissuasive and many birds are frightened of shiny objects, so some hanging aluminium can send them packing.

Rats

Rats have always thrived in London due to the Thames, but their numbers have flourished since the Olympic Stadium construction. As mentioned earlier, not many households have rat problems, but the size London rats are growing to means that anyone with a rat problem could have a major rat problem.

One home-made method of catching a rat is to balance a spoon on the edge of your kitchen counter with food on the unsupported side. Underneath, you can put a bin (with padding) that the rat will fall into when it tries to crawl along the spoon. Another clever method is to skewer a 500ml drink bottle and leave it hovering over a bucket. Put some bait in the middle of the bottle and, when the rat tries to run along it, Crystal Maze style, it’ll fall into the bucket.

If the DIY approach isn’t working for you, there are plenty of humane rat traps you can buy. Cage traps are probably the most common and useful for London residents. With the aforementioned growth in size of the city’s rats, a cage might be the safest (and least intimidating for the capturer) method of getting rid of them. We wouldn’t recommend the sticky options for two reasons: 1) there’s no way to know what animal will get stuck and, for a small rodent or bird, a sticky trap can be lethal; 2) a cage has a convenient handle to carry the rat out in, whereas sticky surfaces don’t. In the interest of public safety, however, if you see a rat then the chances are it isn’t alone and it’s advised by the British Pest Control Association that you contact a professional.

Rats are also fairly prolific urinators, so give your floor a thorough clean once they’re gone.

It’s a shame to say that no animal trap is completely humane – the stress of being trapped can be damaging for a rodent and besides, there’s no way to guarantee they won’t just end up coming back into your house later. One of the best ways to deter animal visitors is to bring a cat into your house. Cat lovers attest to the company they provide, but cats also offer the incentive of being a lurking predator in your home to dissuade unwelcome pests. Of course, you can’t be sure it won’t pounce on and attack some animals, negating the humane methods you may have employed earlier. On the other hand, that’s an animal attacking another animal and could be argued as being immune to moral judgement. Loophole!