If you have rats in your yard or garden, it is important to get rid of them as quickly as you can, since rats spread diseases and can pose a direct threat to small children and animals. They also might start trying to get inside your home in search of food or shelter. If you are wary of using chemicals to drive rats away, try a natural option.
Install a sound system. Ultrasonic rat repellents, available at home and garden centres, emit sounds that are undetectable by human ears but extremely uncomfortable for rats. This might drive away some of the rats, but any that stay will become acclimated to the sound, so use this treatment in conjunction with traps.
Remove food sources. Keep your garbage in tightly-closed bins, and use bird-feeders that are squirrel -- and rat -- proof. If you store food in your garage, keep it in airtight bins. Do not put meat in your compost heaps. Every day, clean up any food that has been left around by children or animals; for example, spilt birdseed or any pet food you put outside.
Seal the rats' entry points. Check your yard for broken pipes, open drains, animal burrows and holes in fences, and seal them. Try blocking their burrows with rags soaked in peppermint oil, since they dislike the odour. You can also sprinkle peppermint oil, not extract, around the perimeter of your yard to deter rats.
Set live traps. Live traps capture the rats but do not physically harm them; you can then release the rat in an area remote from human habitation. Natural rat baits include peanut butter, tuna, dried fruit, bacon and chocolate spreads. You can find live traps at a garden centre or perhaps the supermarket.
Trick the rats. If the rats think a predator is around, they won't come into your yard. Pellets are available in garden centres that contain urine from foxes and weasels, which you can scatter around the yard without harming your pets or kids. If you have a cat, you can sprinkle its litter around.
Remember to check under your house, as well as around it, for evidence of rats, and place your traps or repellents there if necessary. When choosing a bait for your traps, keep in mind that different rat species prefer different baits. Try a few different ones until you hit on one that works.
Most natural rat repellents, such as peppermint oil and fox urine, must be replenished from time to time.