Since expelling rats can be tough, you could be tempted to employ toxic solutions. Unfortunately, this will affect other wildlife or domesticated creatures such as hedgehogs. If you do have one around you, whether a frequent visitor or a pet, the chance is that you will be putting it in harm’s way trying to control the rat population in your home. But you can get around this challenge and still get rid of rats without harming hedgehogs. No, you don’t need professional intervention—at least, not yet.
How to get rid of rats without harming hedgehogs
With the hedgehogs nearby, you generally have to consider non-toxic solutions. Below are the ways to get rid of rats without harming hedgehogs:
1. Employ organic methods
If you prefer a more natural approach to rat control, there are various household remedies that can help keep rats away from your home.
One option is to sprinkle spices like cinnamon and peppermint in and around your home. For example, you can sprinkle some on the kitchen floor or near entry points where rats are known to enter. Rats have an aversion to the scent of peppermint oil, so this essential oil can force them to search for food elsewhere.
Another effective solution is castor oil, which rats also dislike. You can try soaking cotton balls in castor oil and placing them around your home. Natural methods are better than glue boards which rats may be able to escape and that equally endanger your friendly hedgehog.
2. Make friends with owls of prey
Owls are natural predators of rats. They are fierce hunters with a voracious appetite for rats, mice, voles, and gophers. According to expert findings, one single family of 5 barn owls, including two adults and three young will feed on about 1,000 rodents during a season. Now, that makes this method the perfect way to get rid of rats without harming hedgehogs.
You can attract the owls to make your property their home by constructing an owl house or nesting box. With luck, nearby owls may take up residency in the structures.
3. Remove rats with dry ice
Dry ice is a highly effective and safe solution for rat control. It breaks down into carbon dioxide, putting rats into a deep sleep, and leading to their eventual death due to the large concentration of carbon dioxide in their small bodies. This method of euthanasia is often considered humane since the rats simply feel as though they are going to sleep peacefully.
4. Set up mechanical traps indoors
For the sake of hedgehogs, this method is most suitable indoors. In some cases, traditional methods are the most effective way to get rid of rats without harming hedgehogs.
Snap traps remain an efficient way to eliminate nuisance rats. However, you must keep them out of reach of children and pets. Some newer plastic traps with swinging jaws that close on the rats are not as effective and can cause injury without even killing the mouse. Sometimes, the traps are carried off by rats that were only caught by a leg.
Again, if you decide to be mechanical, these traps should not be used outdoors in areas inhabited by native wildlife like hedgehogs and even possums, native birds, and rabbits.
5. Use electric traps
Get battery-powered rat traps that work by delivering a fatal shock to the rodents when they make contact with the two plates in the trap. These traps are highly effective and humane as the instant electric shock, delivered upon contact with the two plates, immediately stops the rodent’s heart.
You can use a bait of your choice, such as peanut butter. The risk of impact on non-target animals like hedgehogs is minimal with this method.
6. Capture rats with live traps
Live traps are typically labeled for indoor use. Even if a hedgehog goes into it, you will return to release it alive. Live catch traps are preferable if you do not wish to kill the animal. These include large bucket rat traps for managing severe infestations. Your primary challenge will be finding an appropriate way to dispose of the captured rodents.
If you release the captured rats in the wrong place, you will be giving others problems to deal with, as well as exposing them to wild predators. Also, unless you address the root cause of how they are entering your home, such as blocking holes, and you don’t dispose of them at least two miles away, they may return.
7. Repel rats with kitty litter
If the notion of a living pest control gadget is unappealing to you, then using kitty litter is a viable alternative to get rid of rats without harming hedgehogs. Approach your neighbors who are fond of cats and request some litter, preferably with a hint of cat urine. Sprinkle this mixture along your house’s base and the entry points where rats and mice enter your dwelling. “Urine-soaked kitty litter can work well in this case,” according to the Humane Society.
Having known the safest ways to get rid of rats without harming hedgehogs, go ahead with the solutions. Avoid toxic solutions or even traps like sticky/glue traps which cause more painful death and could expose the hedgehogs and other non-targeted creatures as well.
Ultimately, if the rat infestation is becoming unmanageable, contact your local pest control to help out. They have the skills and tools to properly control the rat population and stop them from coming back.