Ack! I saw a rat - are ultrasonic repellers safe for other wildlife

Yikes! I saw a rat in my patio, which is really unusual. :flushed: In full daylight, It ran across the top of a small stone wall without a care for the fact there were 3 humans seated within 12 feet of it.

Is it safe to use electronic rodent repellers in a patio? Will it also repel birds, bats (not that I see any bats around here), or other beneficial insects?

Or, must I use traps? If so, what no-touch styles of traps work well with less ick factor.

Ps… I forgot to mention we have owls that live around the property. I’m a little worried the ultrasonic would annoy them.


Have you considered getting a cat?


Sadly, most free ranging cats around here seem to specialize in hunting song birds, baby bunnies, and lizards. So, that’s too much collateral damage for rodent control for my situation.

One of my old cats developed a late-in-life interest in stalking birds. I seriously doubt the old girl could catch a fly, but we’re not taking chances. We only let her in the patio under supervision. If she starts tracking a bird, we scoop her up and stick her in the house. We are trying to train her that hunting birds has negative consequences for her.


Not sure, but snakes can help take care of that…if they are in the area you can encourage them to be around.


Yes! Cats are amazing!


They use ultrasonic repellers in the parking garage at my office, and there’s still pigeons everywhere and the occasional rat. This is anecdotal of course, but based on my limited observation, I don’t think they work.

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No, they do not work, they are a waste of time and money, cats not worth much more for this purpose. ( i like cats) Modify the environment to make it less attractive to rodents. Snap traps or other traps are very effective is used correctly, however rats are shy about new things in the environment and take to some to get used to them.


Perhaps, it’s a question of effective range?

I have had an ultrasonic repeller under my kitchen sink (to keep mice from squeezing in around the piping) for a decade or more. I am pretty confident it works. It may only work over a limited area, not a whole yard or garage. For a while, I put the device on my back step. One morning, there was a mouse sitting next to it awake, alive but unmoving. It did not even try to escape when I captured it in a cup. So, this one does seem to work okay in a small area.

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Literally had pigeons perching on the emitter :sweat_smile:


Yeah, I will resort to humane traps if I really have to do that. I’m just looking for an out from that. :roll_eyes:

If you have owls nearby, I’d just let them manage the rats unless you start seeing more of them.

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Okay, say more about that. I am intrigued, and have so many questions.

  • Would I just release a captive bred gopher snake into my patio?

  • How would I know if it needs supplemental feeding? When I helped care for snakes at the nature center, we only fed them a few defrosted mice (with vitamins) once a week.

  • The patio is only about 700 sq ft and has lots of shrubbery, small trees, and a (rather messy) leaf mulch area. Is that enough of a range for an unfed gopher snake?

  • I can try to make sure it has water, what else would it need?

  • What if it hunted out the area?

  • What if my condo neighbors put out poison and an ill rat crawled into the patio?

  • What means could I use to try to keep it from going under the fence?

  • Would it climb a small tree to get out of the yard?

Yah, I want to do it! I just lack confidence in managing it satisfactorily.


Cats are surely worse for other wildlife than ultrasonic gizmos!


Rats are everywhere; I should think almost every patio gets the occasional visit from a rat, albeit almost always unnoticed. I wouldn’t start thinking about repellents unless you’re seeing them regularly. Where I live, I glimpse one crossing my garden about once every three years or thereabouts. I haven’t taken any action to deter them but have not had any issues with them.


If there are not already snakes living in your property/neighbourhood, there is probably a reason: cities are a dangerous place for snakes (cars, cats, and people who don’t like snakes). Releasing captive-bred wildlife is not an option: if they are not native, they can become invasive and impact native wildlife. If they are native, they can introduce diseases to the wild population, and being born in captivity they may not be prepared to cope in the wild.


That’s reassuring. This is the only one I’ve seen in decades, though a neighbor cat caught one in a nearby parking area. My next neighbor found one in her outdoor cooker a few years ago.

Maybe I’ll just keep an eye out.

I would love that! Only, The condo is in a partly wooded area, so the owls have nicer hunting grounds than our small patios.

That makes sense to me. It sounds tempting, but probably not a viable option for us.

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If you’ve only seen one rat in decades then it sounds like you definitely do not have a rat problem! I regularly see rats in my neighbourhood and they have never caused a problem - I usually see them after dusk foraging in my neighbour’s berry bushes.


I would say you have a rat problem if:
–You find droppings everywhere
–There’s obvious damage to your patio plants (that is, the rats are eating them) or your patio furniture (missing stuffing out of cushions, gnawed metal or plastic parts) or your irrigation system (gnawed plastic parts)
–You find a nest
– They’re trying to come in the house

But if nothing like that is going on, I would not worry. A few around is normal especially if there’s fruit trees, a compost pile, or a dumpster nearby.


Agreeing that seeing one rat in a decade is far from a rat problem. I wouldn’t personally do anything, and if I were to do something it would be humane traps and nothing else.

Cats are great pets that belong indoors only. Ecologically speaking they’re terrorists. In N America rats are pests to human settlements mostly.


You can set traps, but only inside your house, just a regular one is ok, if you’re afraid of dead rodent no type of trap will save you from it, but there’s nothing extra gross you could see.)

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