So, my neighbors figured out why our yards suddenly became a super highway for rats when we really haven’t changed much this summer. There’s a rental house across the street whose tenants are not, shall we say, “a responsible lot”. For example the first weekend or so after the original said rental tenant moved in and had what sounded like a wild frat party on our very quiet street, Hubby and two other hubby neighbors were fuming and pacing about, waiting for 10 pm (county-wide noise ordinance enforced) to roll around so they could give a polite, but firm, “shut the h%#!! up”!
Said rental tenant and roomies have a habit of not pulling out their trash bins for pick up until they are past overflowing. Rats only need one invitation. Then with three yappy dogs in the yard, the rats grab and run, eating their grub in our yards, while eyeing the rental tenant’s trash bins and dogs. That would explain the toddler-size scapula-type bone I found on top of my rain barrel (I don’t eat red meat) as well as other unrecognizable trash I have found in my front yard.
So, my one neighbor has asked rental tenant to work on their trash issue, since it affects us all. I figure, worse case, I can talk to the land lords if the problem continues since I know them.
For our part, I was still losing a tomato a day, but the culprit could be the very fat chipmunk Hubby has seen about. To stop fretting over it, I’ve decided to harvest green tomatoes and let them ripen in produce containers, an overwintering method. I also decided not to take down the sunflowers especially since they are not showing damage from heavier animals, nor do I see rat evidence around the garden. A little wren charmed me with its pretty song the other day even as I walked right by it; I just don’t have the heart to take away his fat-rich food source. And the sunflowers’ purpose is an offering of sorts to the smaller animals to keep them away from my other produce.
So in general, rat activity seems way down, except for where they have been taking the bait out of the rat zapper traps. Grrrr. Taking those up, too. No free meals there anymore.