Monday, 6 June 2016

How to Attract Rats to Your Street, House and Garden

I know the person who did this meant well.

The Orton Northgate and Orton Southgate estates are both built on what used to be Showground land and before that I guess the entire area was open fields. About 20 years ago, houses were built here and people moved in. The area is still rich in wildlife though, native and migrant birds in particular.

So I completely understand why someone who loves birds has decided to leave half a loaf of sliced bread out for them on a grass verge.

What's the problems with this?  While the birds may appear to be glad of the bread (though they won't necessarily eat it, and it's not very good for them if they do), rats will love it even more. Rats and housing estates are not a good combination.

Half a loaf of fresh bread
Yum yum, rat food.
I picked this lot up from a grass verge in Orton Northgate, took it home and fed it to Hungry Harry.

If you would like to attract wildlife to our estates without creating a pest problem, the Wildlife Trusts website has lots of fantastic advice on how to create just the right environment for Britain's wide variety of garden birds.

As for bread scraps (though I notice this bread was fresh and would still be fit for human consumption had it not been thrown on the ground), all Peterborough residents have a grey food waste caddy (affectionately called 'Hungry Harry') that the council empties from the kerbside weekly. These little grey fellows love to eat scraps and you can never harm them or create a pest problem if you use them properly.

Hungry Harry
Hungry Harry.
Not actual size. That would be terrifying.

Seriously, please don't throw food on the ground that is likely to attract rats, because when rats become a problem the pest controllers are called in by the City Council, and that means poison. The last thing we want is poison put down where our people, children, cats, dogs and wildlife like to be.

And there are other things you can do with stale or leftover bread.

I'll leave the last word to Mr Rat: "I love bread. If you leave it out on grass verges in your estate, I'll come to visit you, I'll bring lots of friends and we'll have a party. We don't mean to, but we spread diseases and then the people at the City Council will put down traps and poison and that's bad for us and you. So please don't leave bread out for the birds. They much prefer to eat from bird feeders instead!"


  1. Bread is actually bad for birds. It does not give them the nutrition they need. Rats can make the most of it: birds starve to death if that is all they can get.

  2. Yes indeed. We have a lot of magpies and crows in Orton Northgate and they'll pick at and pick up pretty much anything and discard it elsewhere, exacerbating the problem!