In addition to countless other pests, it can happen again and again that rats conquer the home garden as a habitat. With these measures you will quickly get rid of the rodent master and the rat holes.

The goal

Rats permanently settle in a chosen habitat by building a nest. The structures, mostly built in the ground, can be recognized by the holes through which the animals enter and leave their dwelling.

If you want to get rid of those annoying rat holes, you can hardly avoid the task of driving the rats out of your garden yourself. On the other hand, if you only plug the holes you find, the animals will either clear the existing exits or create new openings.

Rat poison – the classic?

A well-known form of rat control that has been tried and tested for many decades is rat poison. This is a toxic substance that is commonly placed in conjunction with a feed bait. For example:

  • meat
  • sausage
  • cereal grains
  • oatmeal
  • fruit
  • vegetables
  • Peanut butter, Nutella and other sweet spreads

The big disadvantage of this procedure is that the animals find and absorb the poison quite reliably. However, sick rats often retreat to protected hiding places, where they also die. As a result, it can be that the carcass in unfavorable locations in sheds, on terraces or other positions close to people attracts other vermin and also represents an enormous odor nuisance.

The Snap Trap – Rats kill without poison

A real alternative to kill the rodents instantly is to use snap traps. These avoid the risk of poisoning other garden dwellers and are at least as effective. That is why they are often touted by experts and the responsible authorities as the most effective solution. However, there is also a certain risk that pets will see the bait as found food and injure themselves through the strong spring mechanism. The traps are equipped with the food described and placed on walkways, in front of the holes or in the area of ​​droppings.

Alternatives without outright killing

If you want to do without classic poison as a remedy for rat holes and their inhabitants, there are a few other effective options:

Drive out instead of killing

Instead of killing the various members of the Rattus species family, they can be driven out of their habitat permanently with simple, easy-to-use means that are available almost everywhere. The following measures are recommended for this purpose:


The pungent smell of turpentine is extremely unpleasant for rats. Therefore, this substance is ideal as a repellent against rodents:

  • Soak cotton cloths, eg old T-shirts, bed linen or similar, intensively with turpentine
  • Lay out rags in holes
  • Lay out more rags near walking paths, feeding places, droppings, etc. of the animals
  • If necessary, soak the cloth again after it has completely evaporated


If you have a cat, make sure it has access to the rat-inhabited area of ​​your property. On the one hand, as a natural predator, it will effectively decimate the population. On the other hand, their presence is enough to persuade the intelligent small mammals to move “voluntarily”.

Used cat litter

If you don’t own a cat, you can either temporarily “borrow” a friend’s pet, or you can use the deterrent effect in a much simpler way:

  • Obtain used cat litter
  • Fill cat litter into air-permeable bags, eg small cloth bags
  • Lay out bags in the area of ​​walkways and especially the nest entrances
  • Renew if necessary after smelling out

Chili powder

Rats dislike sharp smells and rumours. So make use of chili powder or hot pepper:

  • Sprinkle rat holes with chilli powder
  • Apply again after rain or heavy morning dew
Note: Experience has shown that chili and pepper alone only have a limited effect. It is best to combine this method with one of the other variants.

Iron vitriol

Iron vitriol, also known as green salt, has a comparable deterrent effect. Use analogous to chili powder to tarnish rats’ holes and territory in general.

Catch and relocate

Instead of getting the rats to move on their own, you can choose a different route. The animals can be caught using live traps and then transported to another location where they can find a new home. The same feeds that have already been described under the topic of rat poison are suitable as bait for the live traps. Two things are particularly important now:

The location of the life trap

  • On walking paths
  • Near sites of rat droppings
  • In the area of ​​the rat holes

The destination of the resettlement

  • Comparable quality of life for the animals
  • Good supply of feed (put out there as a “jump start” if necessary)
  • Sufficiently large distance to your own garden of at least 2 to 3 kilometers

The rat is gone – now what?

Once its inhabitants have disappeared, the rat holes remain as the real bone of contention. To prevent subsequent use by other animals, fill the holes with the material in which they were dug – usually earth. Due to the corridor system that has been set up, the backfill will slide down a little over time and will have to be refilled. To speed up this process, you can do the following:

  • water the filled-in soil well and flush it into the rat burrow
  • Push and compact the soil with a stick, broom handle or similar
  • Place gravel or grit under the top layer of earth (to discourage animals from digging tunnels)

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