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How Property Owners Can Prevent Rat Activity

Learn what to look for on your property and how the city responds to rat concerns
Post Date:09/25/2019 3:55 PM

wood pileRat activity can be caused by a number of possible factors: a disruption of former habitat, newly available food sources, or an increase in overall rat populations within Wauwatosa and surrounding municipalities. 

Here are a few suggestions to prevent further rat activity:

  • Remove any bird feeders or other possible food sources
  • Trim or cut overgrown vegetation that can provide harborage
  • Dismantle and restack woodpiles to disrupt any current nesting activity
  • Remove clutter from garages to limit hiding places as the weather gets colder

Diseases from rodents

While we have not received any reports of illness associated with rats in recent years, it is important to take precautions. Rats and other rodents can potentially spread diseases through contact with their urine and feces. This can happen by breathing dust contaminated with rat droppings, direct contact with rat urine or droppings, and by eating or drinking food or water contaminated by rat feces. Read more from the Center For Disease Control about rodent diseases.

How does the City currently respond to rat concerns?

Currently, the Health Department sanitarians conduct inspections on residential properties as requested to help identify rat burrows and approaches to rodent prevention. The Health Department is also able to issue orders to residents that have ground feeding sources or rat harborage on their property. 

We also recently implemented an online animal activity report form, which utilizes GIS technology that allows us to map and track rat complaints across the city. Additionally, in May 2019, the Common Council implemented a policy that requires rat abatement services for private development projects. Rats can be disturbed by construction, so private construction projects that disturb underground utilities are required to install and maintain enclosed rat traps or bait stations during the project.

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