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Does wood decking attract rats?

rat eating seeds.jpg

The simple answer is NO - in isolation, garden decking does not ‘attract’ rats and there are several easy things you can do to deter rats from your garden. 

Rats are attracted to readily available sources of food and water – the most common example being the abundance of spilled nuts or seeds from bird feeders.

The space underneath a deck structure can provide a rat with an attractive place to hide but usually they are mostly used as a safe stop off from nest to food source. Rats do like to burrow and often live both inside and under sheds, drains, embankments, under rubbish piles, under hedges or shrubs, compost bins / mounds or anywhere that can conceal their activity.

Top tips to discourage rats in your garden

  • Ensure that drainage is in good repair, that drains are not broken and that inspection chambers are in good condition

  • When feeding birds, use a bird table or a hanging net. Clear away any food that falls to the ground

  • Never put a bird feeder on a deck – food can drop through the gaps.

  • Cat, dog or hedgehog food at ground level is the perfect dining experience for a rat. If you regularly see the hedgehog feeding and clear away any uneaten food that’s great but if a rat turns up then stop.

  • If you have a plastic compost bin place on hard standing/slabs so they cannot burrow underneath and ensure doors or lids are present and fit well.

  • If you are regularly turning an open compost you’ll be aware of any 2-3" diameter holes suddenly appearing – rat burrows.

  • Do not allow rubbish to build-up in your garden, including items such as old furniture and old mattresses that would provide a rat with a nest.

Protecting your deck

  • Install your decking in line with good practice guidance from the Timber Decking and Cladding Association.

  • Prevent access to underneath the decking; fit 5mm hole pattern welded mesh wire netting sunk 300mm vertically around the deck edge where it meets the ground.

  • So you can inspect under your deck, always create an access point - like a section of deck board or trap door that can easily be lifted, especially good over manhole/ drain covers and if needed, access for vermin traps to be laid.

In summary, don’t blame your deck if you have rats in your garden. Take appropriate precautions – give them nowhere to live and nothing to eat or drink to keep these pests at bay.

Want to know more? Read our BLOG article:

The facts about rats and decking