Keeping Rats & Other Small Animals Away

  • What does a rat look like?
    • A rat looks similar to a large mouse, it has a stocky body and weighs between 200 and 500 grams. They have a blunt nose, small ears and eyes with a long scaly tail. Wild rats have fur that is either black or brown, where domestic rats range in combinations of colours.
  • How will I know if I have rats on my property?
    • The best way to know if you have a problem is to look for rat droppings. They are ¼ to ½ an inch in length and are a capsule shape. Also look for burrows in the ground, most likely will be found around buildings, in gardens, near clutter in yard or near garbage containers. The burrows are typically round or oval in shape and range in size, although are typically quite small.
  • What do I do if I have rats?
    • If you believe that you have a rat problem, clean up any debris that is in your yard and leave all of the burrows open, do not block them in.
  • When would I see them?
    • Rats are nocturnal animals and are therefore the most active at night. If food and water are hard to find, or there are a large amount of them, rats will often become active even during the day time. These animals are around year long and live outside, although will start to burrow down for the winter and cold weather.
  • Where would I see them? Where do they build their nests? Where are they most common?
    • You will see them near their burrows, they burrow and nest in any safe location. This location will be where food and water is available, usually under wood pies, clutter, in abandoned vehicles, between walls or under floors in garages or sheds. Outdoors they will burrow into the ground close to their food source.
  • What are their breeding patterns?
    • Rats are mature at three months old and have a gestation period of 22 days. Typically rats will have four litters per year each containing eight to twelve young. The average lifespan of a rat is one year.
  • What can I do to prevent rats?
    • The best way to prevent rats is to remove all sources of food such as garbage and fruits and vegetables. Make sure that garbage is stored in containers that are animal resistant. Make sure that your yard is clear of any junk or debris that is laying around. Fixing any leaking taps and drains will eliminate any water that is accumulating in your yard. Any firewood that is on the property should be raised 1 foot off of the floor or ground level. Rats will also eat droppings from any bird feeders on your property.

For more information on how you can prevent rats & other small animals from coming on your property and entering your home visit the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry .