Compost can harbor many animals: worms, insects, slugs, rodents, etc. Don’t worry, their presence is completely legitimate in your compost. Rest assured, the presence of all these little inhabitants is a good thing. They are the ones that make it possible to transform plant waste into good compost, and they should not be chased away. Does compost attract rats? Yes, but keep calm! We tell you right away why…
There are 2 species of rats in the environment: the most common brown rat and the black rat in the countryside. They each have different preferences. As far as housing is concerned, the black rat likes elevated and dry places. Norway rats prefer moist areas and live low to the ground. It is the latter that is found in composters. “Help, there’s a rat in my compost”? Let’s see what attracts them and how to keep them away from your compost. We have solutions for you!
What attracts them?
First, know that since rats are omnivores, it’s what you put in your compost pile that will cause them to arrive. In fact, they come here to seek food, but also a gentle warmth. Indeed, in the fall, rats seek shelter for the winter and a compost pile can be the ideal refuge. Note that they prefer rather dry heaps. Similarly, the proximity of the chicken coop, or rather the food intended for the hens, represents an important attraction for rats.
In summary, what attracts rats is food and a warm and comforting place. Do not panic in any case, the presence of a rat in your compost also has beneficial effects: it contributes to its aeration and its mixing. Moreover, thanks to the galleries he creates and his movements inside, the work of the decomposers is in every way facilitated. And since it is the latter that accelerate the process of decomposition of the toughest waste, everything will therefore go for the best in the best compost. Our advice: let your rat(s) live in peace! Plus, there won’t be more rats in your composter than it can feed and house. So don’t be afraid to see it (them) multiply like in the worst horror movie…
How to avoid compost rats?
Here are some precautions to avoid compost rats. First, do you know if you can put leaves or throw citrus fruits in the compost for example? In any case, avoid throwing away all your leftover meals, especially meat and fish. Do the same with products such as pasta, cooked rice, cheese. Instead, bury them in the heap. This way they will decompose faster and their smell will be less detectable.
Have you thought of a closed composter such as a wooden or plastic silo? Unfortunately, this will not be enough to prevent the intrusion of rats. Indeed, the ventilation slits allow them to pass and they are quite capable of gnawing even plastic. We advise you to install an anti-rat mesh in the silo. Choose it with a fine mesh, and place it around and under the pile.
Another tip: ventilate your pile regularly. This essential gesture for a good decomposition of waste is also essential for disturbing rodents that may have settled there. Also, as a natural trick, do not hesitate to moisten the pile. Firstly because it helps good decomposition. Then, because the rats will not appreciate seeing their house filled with water.
If you are the happy companion of a cat, do not hesitate to let it hunt freely in the garden, it may somewhat discourage rodents from coming to settle there. If his litter is biodegradable, kill two birds with one stone by throwing it in the compost. Keep in mind, however, that this compost is best used in flower beds or beds . For vegetable plants, this will only be possible if the composting is done in a silo. Indeed, it is only in this way that the temperature rises enough to destroy the parasites or other bacteria.