#30DaysWild – Day 11 The Rat Clean-up Squad

Feeding the birds can be a messy business. The birds can spread the food as they eat and squabble over the seeds. Larger birds, such as the pigeons, corvids and doves knock feeders, spreading food over trays and the floor. I try to have wide trays to cut down on wastage on the floor and they certainly make a difference, but there are still always seed husks on the floor, along with other remnants.

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I do, however, have a clean-up squad and they are pretty efficient. Damned by many and hated by thousands, the brown rat has suffered throughout history with a reputation for carrying disease, being dirty and are considered rather unsavoury characters.

Many of us will have had rats in our garden under the feeders. If you live in a built-up area, then you may have had it reported to the council, meaning poisons are put down that potentially can kill all small mammals that may eat it.

I live in quite a rural area and, provided their numbers do not get too large, they don’t present many issues for me…. in fact, I rather like them! They are predated on by local tawnies, foxes, polecats and cats. These help keep numbers down.

This morning, I could see some youngsters under my feeders. Laying on the floor in my conservatory, I sent a little while photographing them.

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Clean, healthy, adaptive and very intelligent, I feel it is a shame that they get such a bad press. Take another look at rats… they are not all bad!

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