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does rubbish attract rats?

How To Keep Rats Out of Your Garbage

(Last Updated On: June 4, 2022)

Rats are notorious for getting into garbage cans.

Once inside, they tear up garbage and make a mess. They can spread disease and bring it into your home. So, you must safeguard your garbage from rodents.

Make your garbage cans less attractive to rats by separating food waste, removing trash from indoors each day, and bagging up the waste when you take it outside.

Getting a metal bin, ensuring that it closes properly, and placing the bin in the right area are proven rodent prevention measures.

Get a garbage can enclosure if you want to rat-proof your garbage bin. These are cages that you can put in your garbage can for an extra layer of protection from rats.

Does Rubbish Attract Rats?

Rats can eat almost anything, but they prefer items that are nearby.

Garbage cans are often close to homes, so rats can nest in your yard or inside your property before making a short journey to the trash cans to feed.

Since trash cans are often full of rotting food, they emit smells that will attract rats. Access to trash bins is one of the reasons it’s so hard to starve out rats.

Do Rats Eat Garbage?

Rats will eat any food, including food that’s been rotting for days. Rats often consider garbage bins a good source of food and will make nests in areas where they can easily access them.

Rats are omnivores. So, they can gain nutrients from plant and animal matter. That means that no matter what trash you throw out, whether it’s meat, fruit, or vegetables, rats will eat it.

Rats are opportunistic, so they’ll feed on whatever is most convenient. That includes garbage items that we don’t think of as food. Paper, wood, and animal poop are all fair game to a hungry rat.

Rotting food is especially attractive to rats as it releases a pungent aroma that can alert nearby rats.

does rubbish attract rats?

Can Rats Get Into Trash Cans?

Rats are excellent at chewing through materials. They can also burrow under the ground, jump over obstacles, and swim in the water. Most importantly, they’re skilled at going through small spaces.

According to the University of Missouri Extension, rats can squeeze through areas as small as ½ inch. This means a trash can of any size with nearly any securing features is at risk.

Can Rats Chew Through Garbage Cans?

As mentioned, rats can chew through nearly anything. They have sharp teeth, allowing them to cut through wood, plastic, and some metals.

Rats have teeth that grow throughout their lives. So, they have to constantly chew on items to keep them trimmed. This also means that their teeth are always kept sharp.

This makes it possible for a rat to make short work of a garbage can. Damaged garbage cans, like those that already have holes or cracks, make a rat’s job that much easier.

Can Rats Open Garbage Cans?

Rats can’t open garbage cans in the same way that raccoons can. However, rats have other ways to get into your trash cans.

If your trash can has a swing lid design, rats can easily burrow through the space between the lid and opening and get access to your trash.

Any small openings will be more than enough for rats to enter.

Rat Proof Garbage Enclosure

If you want to be extra secure, rat-proof garbage enclosures are available. These are boxes that can house trash bins.

Different designs will have different features. Some enclosures open from the top, some from the front, and some both. Most designs will also be raised off the ground to deter rats from burrowing inside.

Many enclosures are made from steel so that rats cannot chew through them.

You can also create your own garbage enclosure. In this way, you can ensure that your enclosure has all the features you need.

Good features to include are as follows:

  • Elevated, ideally adjustable legs
  • Opens on the top and the front
  • Lockable
  • Aesthetically pleasing design

Steel is the best material, but it can be unwieldy to work with.

How To Get Rid Of Rats in Garbage Cans

Here are some ways to remove rats from garbage cans:

Pick The Right Garbage Can

The best way to prevent rats from entering your garbage can starts with the design of the bin itself. You will want a bin made of metal, with a lid that doesn’t leave any gaps.

If you have a metal can but are having trouble with the lid, there are garbage can straps that you can buy commercially. These go around the lid of your bin so that it stays closed. Alternatively, you can create your own using a strap of leather or strong fabric attached to clasps.

If you don’t have a metal can, don’t replace the entire bin just yet. Plastic and wooden bins need to be checked more often for holes.

Make The Trash Bin Smell Less

It’s hard to stop rats from doing what they want to do. So, the most effective method is to discourage rats from visiting your trash bin in the first place. What is making rats want your trash bin? The smell of food.

In fact, rodents have a strong sense of smell. According to Nature Communications, mice can find a lost scent trail in just 1-2 sniffs.

Thankfully, managing food waste can help your trash bin be less smelly and less attractive for rats.

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:

can rats get into trash cans?

Separate Organic And Inorganic Waste

Rats will still eat inorganic waste, like paper and wood. However, they’ll only do so if they have no other food sources nearby. Also, it’s the smell of rotting food that attracts rats to a trash bin in the first place.

Organic waste refers to waste that can spoil and usually refers to food waste. These can be placed into a plastic bag, which you can place near your sink.

Whenever you wash your plate, scrape off the excess food into the food bag.

A plastic container may not be food waste, but it can have food residue that will attract rats. If you’re throwing out containers, clean them or give them a rinse.

Dispose of Food Waste Properly

Remove all food and other organic waste from the indoors by the end of the day. When disposing of your food waste, put it in a plastic bag sealed tightly to prevent smells from coming out.

Place Trash Bin in The Right Area

Rats prefer areas that don’t have a lot of foot traffic, like corners and places against a wall. Unfortunately, this is also where trash bins are usually placed.

It might not be the best idea to place trash bins near where people often pass, especially ones that are outdoors. However, there are still some things you can do to prevent rats.

Ensure that trash bins are in a well-lit place, at least during the day. Keep it away from objects that can create clutter near the bin, such as grass clippings, woodpiles, bushes, and trees.

Rats like to burrow against walls and fences, as it provides them with a sense of protection. So, it’s a good idea to keep trash bins away from surfaces like fences and the side of buildings.