It is hard to describe how shocked people react each time they see a rat in their house. These small animals can embarrass especially in the presence of visitors. They are filthy, destructive, and can carry disease. Dr Cohen Maliro of Blessed Medicare centre, says rats contaminate food with their hair, droppings and urine, resulting in food poisoning and spoilage. He also says they carry fleas or ticks which can harm pets or humans and can generate unpleasant odour in the house.
“Though many people imagine that rats may not pose any health risks, there are actually some risks, so never allow those small animals to make your home their permanent habitant,” he says.
Before they take over your home and start making trouble, it is vital to fight them. Joshua Kato, a home owner, says he nearly cried one morning after realising his newly acquired sofas had all been eaten up by rats. “I rarely carry out general cleaning in my house since I stay alone and I’m always busy. One morning as I was dusting my chairs, I was shocked when I discovered that the downer part of my new sofas had all been eaten up by rats,” he recalls. Fighting rats starts with knowing they exist. John Ssesanga, a fumigator in Byeyogerere, says there are several signs that can show your house is harbouring rats:
Ssesanga says rats cannot be in the house and a person fails to hear scratching noises in the night. The rat noises alternate between chattering, squeaking and hissing. “The chattering is produced when a rat grinds its teeth together, so always watch out for this noise,” he explains.
Ssesanga also notes that rats are capable of chewing through wood and concrete, which helps them create holes wherever they want. He says the presence of holes in the house is an indicator that there could be rats.
Droppings of leftovers
“Rats cannot be in the house and they don’t go for your food leftovers, if you are observant, you will notice droppings of food in your kitchen or where you keep your dirty utensils. Some even eat bread and other important things,” explains Ssesanga.
Here is how to kick the rats out of your home:
According to Marion Nakyambadde, a home owner in Seeta, you can fight rats by using natural remedies such as ensuring cleanliness.
“Rats love hiding in disorganised places, avoid piling dirty clothes in a certain corner of the house for long, don’t leave dirty utensils heaped in the kitchen for so long and above all, always spare some time for regular cleaning,” she notes.
She adds that a home owner must ensure cleanliness is maintained, especially in areas where food is cooked and kept, as any leftovers or open food can invite rodents.
“The concealed areas in the kitchen should be kept clean, and unfinished food of pets should be disposed of immediately,” she advises.
Kato says if a person wants to fight rats, it is important to block all the holes where rats can pass.
“You will need to locate all the points that can allow entry to rats and seal them. It is also crucial that you maintain proper hygiene and sanitary conditions so as to discourage rodent infestation,” he says.
Find a cat
The old remedy to kill rats is to get the cat in the house. No matter where the rat is, the cat will find its way and catch the rat.
Nakyambadde says a cat will undoubtedly keep the rats away from your house.
Get a trap
According to Ssesanga, using traps to get rid of rats from the house has been one of the traditional methods that people use. “Put a piece of meat or any enticing food particles on a trap and position it where rats frequently pass,” he says.
Ssesanga adds that you can also use rat glue books. Traps save you from having dead rats smelling in hidden places.
Use rat poison
Ssesanga says you can also eliminate rats by poisoning them. He explains that this poison can be mixed up in food such that rats can eat them and die. He cautions whoever is using poison to be careful not to poison the children.
“Make sure that you place the rat poison in a place which is out of reach for children,” he advises.
He adds that when you use poison, it is important to always watch out for the dead rats to avoid the irritating smell that comes with dead rats.
Nakyambadde advises whoever uses poison to be careful, especially with all the edibles in the house. “Rats might spread the poison into your food stuff, so when you place rat poison in the house, make sure that you cover all food items well.”
Some home owners have confessed to using human medicine such as indocin capsules to fight rats. Gloria Namukasa, a house wife, says she prefers indocin to rat poison because with indocin, she does not fear the possibilities of edibles in the house getting contaminated.
There are plants that can help repel rats. Some of the plants include peppermint. It is believed that rats hate the smell of mint. Other plants, according to hunker.com, include tomato leaves, garlic, marigold flowers, daffodils, herbs such as oregano, sage, black pepper and cayenne. Hunker.com says one can sprinkle these plants in crevices and cracks around the house.
Do not attract rats
Nakyambadde observes that rats come into your home looking for food, water, and shelter.
“As long as you deprive them of food and water, and make it difficult for them to get in, your home will be less attractive to them,” she says.