Many soon-to-be pet rat owners find themselves asking this question before making the decision to adopt their pet. Whether or not your pet is going to attract wild rats is certainly an important question to ask. In short, no, pet rats do not attract wild rats. The full answer, though, is slightly more complicated than this.
Pet rats do not attract other rodents
While it may seem unlikely, pet rats are actually predators of smaller rodents like mice. Rats are highly intelligent and territorial so smaller creatures tend to keep their distance if they are aware of their presence.
Wild rats are generally not attracted to pet rats. Just like pet rats, wild rats are social animals and enjoy each other’s company. Now, this might seem like a bad thing, no one wants their pet socializing with wild rats. However, their aforementioned territorial natures keep them from wandering too far from their familiar surroundings on curiosity alone.
When wild rats do make an appearance in someone’s home it is far often the fault of the homeowner and has little to do with their pet rat. As is often the case with many pests, hygiene plays a huge role in keeping your home free of wild rats. If you neglect the cleanliness of your rat’s cage, the odor may indicate an easy source of food to a hungry wild rat.
What attracts wild rodents?
As you could imagine it’s not just the hygiene of your pet’s cage that’s important in preventing unwanted pests in your home. Dirty bathrooms where potential sitting water can grow odor-causing bacteria could be a source of curiosity for a starving rat. Bathroom trash tends to be changed less often than kitchen trash, allowing more time for bacteria to grow!
Naturally, if a wild rat’s main drive to get into your home is the search for food, then they will likely find their way into your kitchen. Countertops that are covered in crumbs or food residue are breeding grounds for odor-causing bacteria and can even offer an easy snack for a brave rat.
Open trash cans may also be a reason for the presence of an unwanted rat in your home. Anywhere with exposed perishable foods will be a strong attractor for pests. Even overripe fruit in your fruit bowl can be detected by a determined rat.
How to protect your home from wild rodents
The first step in preventing rodents from getting into your home should be to try and find the source of entry. Look for any gaps in exterior doors and windows, rats can squeeze through surprisingly small openings. If your home has a basement be sure to thoroughly check the space for possible entry points. No basement? Then it wouldn’t be a bad idea to inspect the crawl space under the house for gaps as well.
As mentioned before, a dirty rat cage may be a main source of attraction to a wild rat. If you find it difficult to remember to clean your pet’s cage then it may be helpful to create a weekly cleaning schedule. Make sure to place soiled bedding into a sealed trash bag and into a closed trash can.
Another good idea to take into account is the amount of food you leave out for your rat to eat in their cage. Excess food laying out in the open is never a good idea if you’re worried about pests. Establish a feeding schedule with your rat or limit the amount of food they have access to at any one time. This will help reduce the number of smells that are in your home attracting possible wild rodents.
Trash cans that are stored outside near your home are easy targets for wild rodents. Ensure that your trash cans have a good lid, can close properly, and that there’s no trash spilling onto the ground nearby. If possible, try to keep your trash cans further from the house, maybe on the side of your property.
During the summertime the warmer temperatures will exacerbate trash smells, so be diligent during the hotter months. Keeping your outdoor space clean is just as important as keeping the inside of your home clean, especially if you are experiencing pest problems. Barbecuing and eating outdoors are great sources of food for wild rodents. Keep your outdoor dining area clean after eating and regularly clean your barbeque if used often.
Still having wild rodent problems?
Having pests in your home can be very frustrating and discouraging. It’s important to remember though, that it is not your rat’s fault and that the situation is entirely in your control. If you have followed all the steps above and still the problem continues, then further steps may need to be taken.
There are many options for humane catch and release traps. These traps have a sort of one-way door that allows the rat to get inside and eat the bait, but they are unable to escape. This allows you to take the trap far from your home and safely release the rat back into the wild without harming them.
Another great option, likely more expensive, however, is to seek out professional rodent proofing services. These professionals have a vast knowledge of efficient and effective ways to prevent wild rodents from getting into your home.