The common or brown rat lives in any situation that provides food, water and shelter. In homes, they will live in loft spaces, wall cavities, cellars or under floorboards. In gardens, they will burrow into compost heaps and grassy banks or under sheds. They are commonly found living in sewer systems.

Dealing with the problem yourself

There are three things you can do:

  • Reduce food sources and potential nesting sites – by keeping yards and gardens clean and tidy, and by cutting back overgrown areas. Do not feed wild birds or other animals to excess - you may be feeding rats as well. Do not leave household waste where rats can get at it.
  • Proofing - keep your home in good repair so that rats cannot gain access to it. Ensure that the drain inspection covers are in place and are in good repair.
  • Control - a range of traps both humane and lethal and poison baits are available from garden centres, supermarkets and DIY stores (if you are using such methods yourself you must be careful to follow all the safety instructions).

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