Every urban area has rats and during autumn and winter you may see them more often as they seek food and shelter.
Here’s how to avoid attracting them to your home and neighbourhood and how to deal with them if they do appear.
Rats breed rapidly. A female rat can breed from three months old and have an average of five litters per year, each with up to 12 young.
Rats carry bacteria that can cause illness in people, such as Leptospirosis (Weil’s disease) which is spread via rat urine in water.
If you find a dead rat, use gloves, a plastic bag covering your hands or a shovel or spade to pick it up, double bag it and place it into your black bin. Always wash your hands with soap and hot water afterwards.
Rats are very adaptable and eat almost anything.
Bag up food waste, put it in your green caddy or pink lidded bin and make sure the lid is secure. These are collected weekly.
Be careful about feeding the birds – rats and mice love scraps and seeds too. Only put small amounts of food on bird tables and remove anything left uneaten. Keep the ground beneath bird feeding points clear of food.
If you have rabbits or other pets outdoors, make sure their food is kept in a securely lidded container. Remove any excess food to avoid attracting rats.
Clear any dog faeces immediately as rats will eat them.
Never drop food waste in the street – always dispose of your rubbish properly.
Rats can get through gaps as small as 12 mm in diameter so check your home, pipes, drains, shed and garage to make sure there are no gaps or cracks where they could get in. Rats are good climbers so check for higher level gaps too.
Check underneath decking, sheds and trampolines to make sure rats aren’t sheltering there.
Keep hedges and bushes well-trimmed and clear of litter so they can’t be used for rat nests. Protect compost heaps with wire mesh to stop rats digging in.
Fresh rat droppings are dark black and shiny and will be concentrated in one area inside or out. Mice droppings are smaller and will be scattered everywhere.
Rats dig their own burrows; an active burrow will have smooth walls with hard packed dirt around the edges.
If you rent from a landlord or housing association, contact your landlord, property management company or housing association.
If you see a rat in public please report it. Salford City Council uses this information for its sewer baiting programme. You can also report overgrown or poorly managed sites where rats are seen regularly. If these are privately owned the council will make the landowner aware.
If you see that shops or businesses are allowing rubbish to accumulate outside their premises, please email EnvironmentalHealth@salford.gov.uk