Submitted by Steve on 15:01, 25th Sep, 2020 | 0

At the GSPCA we are often asked about advice on feeding wildlife but how to not to attract rats and mice.

Hedgehogs are a hugely popular animal that many of us love to attract to our gardens as they often snack on unwanted visitors like slugs and snails.

Steve Byrne GSPCA Manager said “We often get asked at the GSPCA how to deter rats while helping feed wildlife in the garden.”

“We have put together tips to help with helping hedgehogs and birds here in Guernsey while deterring or not attracting rats.”

“The ways range from growing mint in your garden which rats really do not like to adjusting the way you feed wildlife.”

“With the nights drawing in and less food about it is really important we all support our wildlife.”

“We have seen a huge range of animals rescued due to the bad weather including a gannet, guillemot, owl and baby hedgehogs which are very late.”

“Feeding birds it is always a good idea to place the feeders in the open and use those that catch the seed that the birds push out rather than it fall to the floor and keep the floor swept where possible.”

“Going natural with feeding your hedgehogs can help as rats aren’t keen on slugs and snails, and finding them will certainly keep the children entertained.”

“Any food or food waste stored outside or in out houses really need to be kept secure as this is a really treat and certainly attracts both rats and mice.”

“Rats really don’t like the smell of cats and we have quite a few adults in need of loving homes which you can see some of them by going to .”

“With the weather changing wildlife will no doubt start to really struggle and if you find any sick or injured we are here to help 24/7 and for advice check out or call our emergency helpline 01481 257261.”

“We hope this advice helps you help wildlife this autumn and you can help those in our care by donating to our #GSPCACoronavirusCrisisAppeal by visiting , call 01481 257261 or by post please make cheques payable to 'GSPCA’ and send to GSPCA, Rue des Truchots, St Andrews, Guernsey, GY6 8UD.”

“To be even more supportive if you would like to become a regular sponsor please complete the form by visiting - .”

“We love to see your pictures of wildlife in your garden and around Guernsey so please do share what you see on our social media or tagging us in them.”

For lots of ways of getting involved and supporting the GSPCA please visit -

Feeding birds. You may be feeding the birds which at this time of year especially really helps them through the colder months.  Saying this birdseed dropping on the ground can certainly attract rats. There are plenty of things you can do to prevent this from being a problem. 

Check your compost heap. Compost heaps a terrific eco-option for your garden. But they can be a mecca for rats. They offer both food and a nesting site. Never put cooked food on the compost. If you think you have a rat problem stop putting raw food waste there as well. Turn your compost regularly to be sure there are no nests.  If your heap is close to a boundary, fence or hedge consider moving it to a more open site. You could also consider swapping your heap for a sealed compost bin.

Store food securely.  If you are storing pet food, hedgehog and bird food, or human food in garages or sheds make sure it’s stored securely. Rats will gnaw through paper, card, plastic and wood to get dinner. So keep outside food stores in garages or sheds in secure glass or metal containers.

Secure your food waste bins. Man of us in Guernsey now store kitchen waste bins outside, but you need to ensure they are secure. Rats will try and tip over these food bins so try placing a brick on top to help solve the problem.

Clean up. Don’t leave unused food lying around. Clean up the uneaten bird and hedgehog food each day. Clean up any food you spill when transferring food to feeders. If you are eating in the garden clean the table when you finish, just like you would indoors. Sweep underneath if your table is on a hard surface. And always clean up a barbecue as soon as possible after use. A barbecue covered in fat and bits of sausage and steak is a real draw for rats.

If you still have a rat problem there are some changes you can make to the way you feed your hedgehogs.

Feed-in the open. Rats like to keep under cover if possible, whilst hedgehogs are happy to eat in the open. So think about moving your feeding station to the middle of the lawn.

Feed as late as possible. The less time the hedgehog food is out there the less chance it has of attracting rats. So if your hedgehogs feed later in the night put the food out late.

Supervise dinner time. If your hedgehogs come to feed regularly in the early evening (which many do) think about putting out the food as they arrive and staying to watch them feed. Hedgehogs won’t mind a quiet human but rats will be much less keen. Then clean up when the hogs are finished.

Try cat food. There are some reports that rats are less keen on cat food than a dog or hedgehog food.

Go Natural. Whilst rats love most of the supplementary food that we put out for hedgehogs they are not much interested in the things that make up a hedgehog’s natural diet. Beetles, caterpillars, slugs and snails are all loved by hedgehogs and ignored by rats. So instead of putting out extra food, you could work on encouraging natural hedgehog food in your garden.

Deterring Rats Without Hurting Hedgehogs

If you’ve tried everything we have suggested and rats are still a problem you may need more drastic measures. But here you must be careful. Many traditional ways of deterring rats may also harm hedgehogs. So here are some Do’s and Don’t.

Don’t block up holes in and under fences. Although these might be letting rats in they are also essential hedgehog routes.

Do try some mint. Rats apparently hate the smell of mint, whilst hedgehogs seem to quite like it.  Peppermint essential oil sprinkled by their bolt holes, or plenty of mint planted in your garden, could work as a deterrent.

Don’t use rat poison unless in controlled boxes. Rat poison could also poison hedgehogs, other wildlife and even your pets.

Do consider getting a cat. If the rat problem is long term a cat could be the answer. Rats will do their best to avoid cats. Even the smell of cat pee can keep them away and we have lots of adult cats in need of a home at the GSPCA. Some people suggest borrowing used cat litter from a neighbour to sprinkle around your garden if you don’t have your own cat. 

Don’t block up holes under sheds or get rid of your log pile.  Both places make great nesting grounds for hedgehogs as well as rats.

Do try a humane rat trap. Traditional or “kill” traps are not an option for you if you are an animal lover.  But a humane trap could be worth a go. These do just trap the animal, so no harm is done if you happen to trap a hedgehog by mistake. The downside is that once you have caught your rat you will have to load the trap into the car, with the rat in it, and take it somewhere a good couple of miles away to release. 

In line with States of Guernsey advice please DO NOT visit the GSPCA if have been outside of the Bailiwick of Guernsey in line with their advice or have any symptoms of Coronavirus and we continue visits to the Shelter for only essential reasons and to please call us on 01481 257261 or email [email protected] before your trip to see if we can help without you coming to the Shelter. For the latest information and advice please visit

The GSPCA continues with all essential services and we plane to phase other services back into operation and to find out more please visit -

With huge challenges on our resources and a drop in income from boarding and donations please help us help animals in Guernsey with our #GSPCACoronavirusCrisisAppeal by donating online via -

During these difficult times help us help animals in need. From donating to Sponsoring a Pen, Buying a Brick for the much needed Wildlife Hospital to our Amazon and main page Wish List, holding a mufti day to a sponsored Christmas dip, here are some of the ways you could help give animals joy.

For volunteering information please visit or call 257261

To find out more on talks and our education work please email [email protected] or call 01481 257261



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