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Rat Removal
updated: Jul 16, 2014, 9:00 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

Have discovered a huge rats nest in a tree. How can I get rid of them? Sticky traps could catch birds etc. Help!

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 DEEKER agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-16 09:17 PM

If they're in a tree (and not in your house, garage, shed, etc.), why do you need to get rid of them?

 

 A LITTLE BIRDY agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-16 10:19 PM

It sounds like a typical woodrat (also known as packrats) nest. These are not the "gross" rats most people associate pests with. Woodrats are native and are actually pretty cute (they have fur on their tails unlike the non-native Norwegian rat that is the most common pest). Nests built by woodrats are called middens and are used by many generations of their kin. Some of the middens are more than 50 years old and contain an elaborate chambered system of living quarters, food caches, and tunnels. If they are indeed our native woodrats and are not causing any harm, why would you want to evict them? Just curious.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dusky-footed_woodrat


Many subspecies are protect under CDFW code as their numbers are declining, probably being displaced by non native rodents.

I hope this information is helpful, and if the rats are indeed woodrats and you are experiencing property damage, I would hope you will contact Wildlife Care Network to seek their advice. 681-1080

Hope some of this information was helpful and thank you for not considering sticky traps!

 

 COMMENT 536210P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-16 10:25 PM

Do you think wood rats are what have inhabited my elderly neighbor's row of untrimmed palm trees?

The rat problem here is pretty bad and that is where I was assuming they lived. I haven't encountered one with a furry tail.

 

 COMMENT 536212P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-16 10:31 PM

I don't think wood rats build their middens in a tree, but instead on the ground or in protected areas, like caves. Regular Norway rats do nest in trees.

 

 A LITTLE BIRDY agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-16 10:35 PM

210P, It depends. Although I've never seen a wood rat nest or midden in a palm tree, it's possible but I'd say it's more likely to be a Norwegian rat (non-native pest) problem. Woodrat middens look like a big pile of sticks and leaves and are pretty obvious, they can be on the ground too. There's one in the park by my house that must be 8 feet tall.

 

 D8VANILLA agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-16 10:38 PM

I believe "sticky traps" are illegal, because they are cruel and torture, slow cruel death. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And, be careful about using poison, as there are lot's of other animals that eat rats..., such as Hawks, Coyotes, Raccoons, Owls, etc. , that will die from secondary poisoning. D-Con is illegal also.

Make sure your area is clear of all food sources. Including, dog & cat feces, as it's high in protein and they will eat it, if hungry enough.

Good luck. They City has always had a huge rat problem.

 

 A LITTLE BIRDY agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-16 10:44 PM

http://www.bear-tracker.com/woodrattracksandsign.html

Link to images of typical woodrat middens in trees.

 

 COMMENT 536221P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-16 11:29 PM

The nest I discovered was or a red squirrel. If I hadn't gotten a close look at its face (it was as curious about me as I was about it), I would have thought it was a rat's nest. Double check if the occupants are who you think they are.

 

 COMMENT 536223P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-17 12:50 AM

What kind of tree? If you don't want ti used by animals, trim it, but not during bird nesting season. (Recently found a half-built probable humming bird nest below a palm; no sign of broken eggs. I know there are birds in there, but doubt rodents. The palms are not near roofs or food sources.)

Yeah, sticky traps are torturous. Long slow anxious starving death. Doesn't matter if it's a small animal or a large beautiful animal in a leg trap or other horrible death; they suffer. Took some little field mice out of glue traps at the shelter I worked at, nice people brought them in. I know many will mock this, but what a horrible way to die. If you kill something do it quickly! But don't use poison that will kill predators.
Are the rats bothering you? Make sure the branches don't create a bridge to a roof or fruit trees. Can the rats, if they are there, be raptor food? Do you have pets who are hunters? My angelic, mellow female cat was a hellacious hunter! Want a hunting cat? Contact ASAP 683-3368 or Randi Fairbrother (http://www.catalystforcats.org/) to adopt a "barn cat" (mouser/hunter). Although they may want to adopt to a rural area.

 

 COMMENT 536224P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-17 01:24 AM

210P, what neighborhood or zip code are you in? I hope it's not my family's house! I haven't had them trimmed. Got very frustrated when city refused permit to cut down any of 5-8 naturally seeded (unintentional), now too large palms. (So much for doing the right thing & hiring a licensed pro... I appreciate a good tree company, and the law!; they told me permit was necessary and did lots of the work.)

Of course it's the responsibility of the homeowners who let the trees get too big, but they're way past dealing with issues like this and have bigger issue, like survival, hospitalizations, treatments and medical bills; and the palms are an economic drag.

Trimming the palms would be a monetary burden, and it will be constant. Removal would've been too, but that would've put an end to it. Palms are in 93105/mountain side of State, near Hope Ave. They're bunched, not in rows, so I hope this is not your problem.

I haven't heard complaints from neighbors (we actually talk) nor seen signs of rats, but I don't live there.

A reply is greatly appreciated.

 

 COMMENT 536225P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-17 01:31 AM

My reply sounded horrible. I'm not as irresponsible in caretaking the family and property as I sound. I intend to get the darn palms totally trimmed out, to be a good neighbor, but at least I've had zero complaints. They are trimmed a tiny bit at a time by our wonderful gardener. But they're too darn tall! Finding nests woven by birds out of carefully shredded palm fibers is a thrill.

 

 COMMENT 536229P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-17 07:02 AM

@225, I sympathize with you. We have some very tall palms at our place. I hate cleaning up after them. I worry a serrated frond is going to crash down on me or someone else and as you note, it's an on-gong expense to keep them trimmed because only a pro can climb them to do it.

 

 COMMENT 536232P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-17 07:13 AM

Hey O.P. sorry you asked huh ?

 

 COMMENT 536233 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-17 07:18 AM

225P- I've only had the delight to witness one of those woven bird nest baskets in real life once. I remember seeing one at the Natural History Museum as a kid when they still had all the bird nests in the bird room, and I was fascinated by it. When I finally saw one in person, I was elated!

Hooded Orioles, a native migratory species you can see around town these days, make these nests. Thanks for supplying the palms for them!

 

 COMMENT 536237P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-17 07:42 AM

picture! picture! Post a picture so we can see it too!!!!

 

 COMMENT 536243 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-17 07:52 AM

Glue traps illegal? Source for this info, please.

While I don't enjoy seeing even a rat suffer it is a lot easier to tolerate if you've been to a hospital in the developing world and visited kids with leptospirosis or any of a large number of other rat-hosted diseases, or better still visited a home where the kid died because the family couldn't afford to get them into the hospital.

There is a good reason why certain rodents and bugs are collectively referred to as "vectors". Vector Control - one of the least known and under appreciated functions of local government! Call them.

 

 COMMENT 536245P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-17 08:06 AM

D8Vanilla has the best advice. You can lower your area's population by getting together & providing as close to zero food as possible (smaller and fewer litters produced by your local population of rats) and trapping, but you can't 'eliminate' them (poison?) without endangering your owls and hawks and dogs and cats and hares and birds.

 

 COMMENT 536247 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-17 08:07 AM

Try installing a rat band, a metal band about 18" and installed on the trunk, then they can not climb up into the tree at all, unless the tree is near other trees or wires where they can jump into it still. If not, a rat band will work.

 

 COMMENT 536253 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-17 08:16 AM

Beat me to it 247. I second the metal band. Trim any branches that can be jumped to or from then wrap a lower trunk section in metal.
it's almost certainly a vector nest, there is a vector department that will come out and give you tips.

 

 COMMENT 536262 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-17 08:49 AM

Glue traps are about as illegal as guns, ie they're NOT.
Every hardware store has them and they work very well in an attic or basement. For a tree just make it impossible to climb - metal band, cut the overhanging limbs, trim away from wires.

 

 COMMENT 536263 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-17 08:50 AM

A big nasty cat from the County shelter. Make sure it is a mouser and willing to take on rats. Our 8 lb Abby and my friend's 9 lb Bengal will do this for free just for fun.

 

 COMMENT 536292P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-17 10:21 AM

We live in a woody area and frequently see tree rats. While they are not necessarily a problem in the trees, they do tend to get under the house and into the walls. This is a problem because they will build nests in the insulation, sometimes get into the house, and sometimes die in the walls. All of these things have happened to us. Yes, they are tree rats but they are still rats. And dead ones still smell really really bad.

A few years ago, we went around the house and thoroughly sealed all access areas with wire mesh (ground level and roof line). This helped a lot. I don't think trapping or extermination helps much because they just inhabit certain areas, and more will come.

Good luck.

 

 COMMENT 536309P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-17 11:07 AM

The most humane and effective way we've gotten rid of rats is by using a Rat Zapper. Search for Rat Zapper and you'll find where to buy them online.
They aren't waterproof, so you need to place them out of reach of sprinklers. Some people place them in clear plastic bins with a hole cut in the side so that they can be left out during the winter rains.
Poison should not be used because it has an extremely negative impact on other wildlife. Regular traps are gory and glue traps are cruel.
We have chickens and fruit trees, so rats have a year round food supply. After one infestation in our attic, we got pretty hard-nosed about keeping the population down.

 

 COMMENT 536317 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-17 11:23 AM

Norway rats were introduced to California by the first European ships, but that's most likely not the kind of rat you're asking about. Roof rats are known for preferring aerial nests, eating all kinds of fruits, pet poop and snails. That's right - snails. They are also blamed for having carried the bubonic plague across Asia and Europe a few times, so what can ya say? But up in San Francisco they are just about single -handedly responsible for keeping the large garden snail population under control, while they are, in turn, kept pretty much at bay by the domestic and feral cat population..Back when I lived on Parra Grande in Montecito in the 70's we had a very old, very hard to take care of Palm that brushed up against my very old, hard to take care of house that was host to an elaborate Roof rat nest. The worst thing the rats did was eat the little rock-hard dates produced by the palm. Hooray for them.

 

 BFMOUNTAIN agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-17 01:34 PM

OP here. Thanks all you Edhatters for all the info. To answer a few questions, the tree is an oak, we live in a wooded area and have fruit trees. I am quite sure they have invaded the house. I don't want to kill any wild life, except we have also been invaded by ground squirrels I could do without. I'll look up the zapper.
Thanks

 

 COMMENT 536501 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-17 06:57 PM

Semi-auto paintball gun and lotsa paintballs. Light 'em up as much as you want.

They will move on.

 

 COMMENT 536691 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-18 01:31 PM

Let them be.

 

 COMMENT 536695 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-18 01:38 PM

Vote them out of office!

 

 COMMENT 536937 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-19 07:31 AM

Yes rat band. Home Depot, back left of store. Cheap metal. Wrap it around and then Nail it to tree. Once down, critters can't get back up.

 

62% of comments on this page were made by Edhat Community Members.

 

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