Asked January 16, 2017, 3:22 PM EST
Kittitas County Washington
Hello, This would be a good time of year to eliminate the rats, before breeding season picks up again. Exclusion is the only way to solve rat problems. If you are able to trap all the resident rats, new populations will likely colonize the habitat.
Live trapping is not recommended due to the following reasons:
“Live traps: Live traps are not recommended because trapped rats must either be killed or released elsewhere. Releasing rats outdoors is not recommended because of health concerns to people and the damage they may cause elsewhere. Because neither the roof nor Norway rat is native to this country, their presence in the wild is very detrimental to native ecosystems. They have been known to decimate some bird populations.”
Additionally, live trapping may require a significant amount of your time depending on the size of population.
If you do choose to release them, you can do so anytime during winter. Rats are highly adaptable. You must however consider an appropriate location. Rats are not only detrimental to human habits, they are highly destructive to wildlife and cause damage to natural habitats.
To learn more about rats and rat management, visit: http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/rats.html