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Cad, dog or owl?

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Offline Bob M

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« on: June 19, 2010, 21:24 PM »
I live in the countryside with a big garden, a couple of porches and some small - though perfectly formed - garden sheds/outhouses.

I also have a wife and a friendly German Shepherd.

The other day Mrs BobM found that some rodent had gnawed a hole in the dog's bag of food kept in one of the sheds and she set up a humane trap.  The trap works quite well and I've just released a slightly concerned sparrow.

As a long term plan we'd like some sort of permanent biological control, but we're torn between a terrier and a cat (although that is ideally what we'd like to happen to the rodents)  Any thoughts on which would be best?

I've got say that I'm a bit negative on the cat because in addition to hunting rodents they also reduce the bird population.

I've tried to persuade the family hierarchy that we should set up some owl nesting boxes but without too much success - basically because the only place to put them would be in a porch and it doesn't seem to be an optimal location.


Bob
 

Offline Val

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« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2010, 12:27 PM »
I think you will find that a cat will not make much impression on the rat population.Adult rats are quite dangerous when cornered and most cats prefer a mouse meal to a rat meal(actually they prefer a meal outof a bag or a tin!)Spanish rats are very fond of trees and will even nest in trees and tall shrubs.The thing to try and do is to make life at yours as difficult as possible.All animal feeds should be stored in metal bins.You can try plastic bins but rats can easily chew a rat size hole in one of those.Don´t leave animal/chicken feed down.If you have hens,their feeds should be cleared up in minutes and if any is left over,pick it up and don´t leave it lying around for free meals!Your GSD will probably catch a rat,but it will be a slow one!Terriers are good at ratting but have to be in the right place at the right time which is usually 9pm onwards.I don´t know about you but my GSD and Spinone are indoors after dark,protecting me!Rats are very good at avoiding traps.You may catch the odd young rat in a trap but the older,wiser members of the clan avoid them like the bubonic plague.I have just had a live catch trap brought over from the uk.It is outside at present,unset,unbaited,just sitting around absorbing the surrounding smells and becoming one with the landscape!!THEN---after a week or two,I´ll put a nice piece of sardine or chorizo in it and see if I get lucky!There is a biological rat killer which is based on something that,once ingested swells up inside the rat,causing a fatal blockage.Only available in the UK though.Rats are immensely good at survival and they avoid death at all costs if they can making their removal an ongoing battle! Goodluck.  Val

Offline Bob M

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« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2010, 14:16 PM »
Hi Val. 

Thank you very much for your input.

I  must admit that I thought that about cats as well.  I come from the countryside in Wales and I never remember cats catching rats.  But everybody here tells me they are up to it so I thought that Spanish cats might be a bit tougher or my memory was at fault.  I've also been told the mere smell of cat will keeps rats away, but I'm not sure if this is true.

The only animal food we have outside is the dog's food and that is usually in a big tough sealed plastic container - if a rat manages to get through it then well get a metal one, but nothing has got through yet. It just hadn't been transferred from the bag over the weekend.  We're not actually plagued with rats, just the odd one from time to time.  We live near the Buitron river and it's possible that a few of them visit us occasionally from there.  I see them squashed on the road occasionally, though not as often as the toads. 

Yes, the GSD sleeps in the house as it makes my wife happier.  I think it makes the GSD even happier!

Actually we did catch a rat in the humane trap about a year ago, so they do work.  Don't think that I want to go down the "biological rat killer" route - at least not if doesn't have four legs.

:-)

Thanks again.


Bob


 

Offline StripeyCat

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« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2012, 14:15 PM »
My cats are certainly up to killing rats, sadly I lost a picture of a huge rat that one of my cats killed, it was the size of our smallest cat and so I took a picture of it. When we moved to our house next to a working bakery in Derbyshire, there were rat runs all up the outside walls of the bakery and there were rats everywhere but our cats cleared up the problem  in a few short months, killing hundreds of them. Cats do need to be brought up to hunt by their mothers though, if they have been bred inside by humans breeding pedigrees, for instance, then they aren't skilled at it. Our cats here mostly kill mice, rabbits and insects, I've not seen any rats and in 15 months, I've only found two dead birds, yet we have a very healthy bird population here, so I guess the weaklings must be killed off by the many hawks we have around here.

Offline Maria

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« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2012, 15:11 PM »
Yes our cat used to kill rats, before our neighbour managed to poison and kill her!!! I would get a snake  :biggrin:

Maria

Offline Bob M

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« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2012, 16:54 PM »
I must admit that while we had a cat the local small animal population did drop dramatically. I saw mice, birds, snakes and lizards being taken and tortured my my psychopathic little buddy during the nine months or so he was with us. To be honest he was far too efficient.

In any event the problem seems to have gone away for the moment.

I'm not sure if the snake suggestion is serious - I can imagine a few problems with that one!

 :o