Will a Birdbath Attract Rats?

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Rats are omnivorous animals, so they can eat almost anything, including the items in your garden. The main motivation for rats is to find shelter and food. Once they locate that food source, they will keep coming until you get rid of it.

Certain property layouts and environments are easy for rats to invade. Such places are highly susceptible to rat infestations.

So, say you have a birdbath as part of your landscape. Would it contribute to the proneness of your property to rat infestations?

Will a birdbath attract rats?

Yes, a birdbath will attract rats.

two bird and a rat standing on a tree log

Birdbaths are typically filled with water. They serve as a place where birds and other animals can bathe, drink, and cool themselves. Unfortunately, rats can use birdbaths in the same way birds do.

All they have to do is find their way to the water and get comfortable. Once that is achieved, they will build a hideout nearby and begin to breed.

We are fairly sure you do not want rats around your property – most people do not.

So, to keep them away, we provide information on the type of garden items and plants that will attract rats. We also discuss some tips for keeping rats out of your garden.

Will a Birdbath Attract Rats?

As we mentioned earlier, birdbaths will attract rats, especially if they contain water and some food. Rats are driven by their will to find food and shelter.

So, if your birdbath provides the food, they will be sure to come around.

The chances of rats getting attracted to your birdbath are higher when a feeder is attached to it.

a cheeky brown rat looking out of a bird table

As bird watchers offer the birds food or as birds feed on forage, some of it falls off. The portion that falls off entices the rats, and they will keep coming as long as what they want is available.

Rats require water daily, and if they consider your birdbath their best source, they will become attached to it. Once they locate that regular water source, they will keep coming over for their hydration.

Common Garden Items/Plants That Attract Rats

Several garden plants and items can attract rats to your homes. A few of these items and plants are discussed below:

Bird Feeders

Rats are opportunistic feeders, and just like birds, they love eating seeds. They also feed on the waste left behind by birds.

For a rat population to survive, they require food.

Rats are not initially attracted to the food in the bird feeder. They are first attracted to any food spilled on the ground close to the bird feeder, which could be either husks, shells, or seeds.

In a situation where you use the wrong bird feeder, food would fall to the ground and attract rats. One such situation is when you use a bird feeder with feeding ports wider than the bird seeds.

Such feeders easily spill seeds when they are knocked over.

Vegetables and Ripe Fruits in Lawns and Garden

A garden or lawn full of fruits and vegetables is bound to be a breeding ground for rats.

You attract rats when you do not harvest your ripe crops on time. For one, when ripe fruits drop in your garden and remain there long enough, rats will come for them.

When fruits such as pears, apples, blackberries, and raspberries are left to rot on trees or bushes, the smell of these fruits will attract rodents like rats. With time this can lead to a rat infestation.

To avoid this, harvest any ripened fruits and vegetables as soon as possible. You should also try not to leave any fruit lying on your lawn. 

Two female gardeners kneeling in a vegetable bed in a garden

Unkempt Lawns

Lawns or gardens with weeds or tall grasses are the ideal environments for rats to nest.

Rats are volatile, and they move around a lot. If your lawn has a lot of tall grasses, it would be hard to spot their movements. Ultimately, they would become comfortable in the cloak of your unkempt lawn.

As long as this environment remains unchanged, the rats will stay and have no reason to leave.

To prevent or stop the infestation in your garden, you should tidy and mow the lawn. Also, discard any stationary objects or old appliances where the rats can nest.

Tips to Keep Your Garden Free of Rats

Rats can become a nuisance to your garden once they begin to find it too comfortable. But you can kick them out with the following tips:

Remove Their Shelter

Rats just live every other rodent—they like to nest in tall grass, brush piles, and woodpiles. So, to keep them out, ensure your grass is always cut during gardening seasons.

Do not pile cut grass in places close to your garden. Ensure you dispose of or compost them properly. 

Eliminate their Food Sources

Your bird feeder may be the reason you have rats in your garden.

To control the rat infestation, you should try taking your bird feeder down for some weeks. With the bird feeder gone, the rats no longer have a reason to invade your garden.

You should fill your bird feeder carefully to prevent the seeds from spilling. Also, you should store bird seeds in metal bins rats cannot chew through. 

Use the Proper Feeders and Trays

Selecting the appropriate feeder for the birds you wish to attract is also important.

A young dove perched on the bird feeder with a blurred background.

Placing the proper screens and trays underneath the bird feeder will reduce the amount of bird feed spilled. It will also give birds that feed off the ground a rat-free place to eat. 

Place feeders that spill feed on the ground in places where it is easy to sweep the seeds up. After working with the right feeders, if you still notice the rats around, stop feeding the birds.

Keep an Eye on Your Crops

Rats are attracted to apples, corn, squash, pumpkins, and other root vegetables.

Once you harvest your garden produce, store them in places rats will not find them. If you notice any growing or stored vegetables have been bitten by rats, discard them immediately. 

Remove Their Water Sources

Just like humans, rats need water to survive. They will go wherever they can get water, even if it is your garden.

So, to keep rats out, remove their water sources from your garden. For one, uninstall the dripping taps. You could also add baffles to drainpipes and secure drains. 

Improve Sanitation Near Your Garden

If there are recycling or garbage bins close to your garden, ensure they are always clean.

mother and kids cleaning garden putting garbage in sacks

One way to ensure they are clean is to wash the bins once a week. Scrub the inside with a household cleaner, then rinse off with the garden hose. This prevents any scents or leftover food particles from attracting rats to your garden.

Seal Holes

Due to their small & flexible bodies, rats can squeeze through a hole of about any size.

So, ensure you seal up any hole leading to outbuildings or sheds. This way, you will prevent rats from taking shelter in your garden during winter.

You should seal holes with strong metal or wood; rats would chew through non-durable sealants.

Final Thoughts

Birdbaths can attract rats. Since birdbaths can be a source of water and perhaps food to rats, they could become the reason why you have rats in your garden.

The good news is, you can get the rats out and keep them out by improving sanitation, removing their food & water source, cutting tall grasses, and much more.


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