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I have, what may be, a rat in my back yard. I have pictures that I could send to you. It is eating my bird food, but other than that, doesn't seem to be a problem....yet. It actually lives next door and comes under my fence to get food (I have a black lab that is in our yard so I think they live next door for their safety). Could you tell me if I need to get rid of it for health...danger...or other reasons? I know our area has rats in the fields (Milcreek area), I just don't feel comfortable with one this close to my house.
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Rats are commonly found in suburban settings because people provide easy food for them. For instance, the birdfood in your own yard. Many people even leave dogfood or catfood outdoors for their pets, and rats appreciate that. The best way to keep the rat away from your yard is to contain the birdfood scatter. If your feeder is mounted atop a pole, try catching the scattered seed on an inverted screen cone attached to the pole about one foot under the feeder.
You can read more about rats and control techniques at http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/publication/NR_WD_010.pdf.
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