Rats and other rodents roaming around our homes and gardens are less than ideal but how can we keep them away?

Gardening experts are warning homeowners to protect their homes from rats who will be looking to find warmth during the cold winter temperatures.

Homeowners are also being warned to look out for super rats after a woman in Bolton was left afraid of entering her garden after super rats had taken over the space.

The rats dug holes so can now access her neighbours’ gardens and the rats made it impossible for her grandchildren to play in her garden due to rat droppings and the smell of urine.

Isle of Wight County Press: Any rubbish lying around could mean rats become attracted to your gardenAny rubbish lying around could mean rats become attracted to your garden (Image: Getty Images)

What are super rats?

While you might think a super rat is a rat that’s much bigger than the usual kind, this isn’t the case.

The Pest UK website explains that the term super rat “refers to their immunity to current poison baits used across the UK.”

How to keep rats out of your garden

Gardening experts at GardeningExpress have shared some tips to help you keep rats out of your garden.

Clear away any rubbish

Debris, rubbish and garden waste that’s left on the floor provide rats with the ideal nest as it’s warm and attractive to them.

Make sure you clean up any that you might have accumulated over the winter and make sure your garden has no spaces that might entice the rodents.

Cover up gaps and holes

If you have any gaps or holes in your garden, you’ll need to cover them up if you want to avoid rats getting in.

Rats can enter the smallest of holes in garden sheds and plant pots and choose where they’d like to make a new home.

No matter how small the gaps are, make sure they’re covered up to help deter rats.

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Use garlic powder

Rats don’t like strong scents such as garlic powder or peppermint oil so if you’ve got some vulnerable areas in your garden, it’s worth sprinkling some on the ground.

Cover drains

Make sure all drains and grates in your garden are covered and intact.

If they need replacing, try to do this and check around the perimeter of your home for any points of potential entry for rats.

Don’t provide water sources

For rats to set up a new home, there needs to be a water source so it’s important to avoid offering them a dripping tap, water butt or blocked drain.

Keep compost heaps moist

If you have a dry compost heat in your garden, this will attract rats as it makes for a warm home.

To deter them, keep your compost heap moist throughout to keep them away.

Isle of Wight County Press: Rats are attracted to food left around, including on bird tablesRats are attracted to food left around, including on bird tables (Image: Getty Images)

Clean up around bird tables

If you’ve got a bird table, it’s worth checking for any spilt bird seeds in the late afternoon when birds have stopped feeding.

Bird tables are notorious for attracting rats so tidying up should help keep them away.

Chris Bonnett, gardening expert and founder of GardeningExpress said: “The cold snap expected this January will mean that these rodents are fleeing their usual habitats and are in search of a warm home. 

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“You may find that they are trying to enter your home and if you’re experiencing them in your garden it means they’ve viewed it as a suitable place to begin building a nest and keep warm.

“This is likely to happen if you have any debris and garden waste on the ground or sources of food growing such as fruits and vegetables.

“Having rats in the garden is a major inconvenience so we’ve shared a range of ways people can keep the rats out of their homes altogether.”