Rat facts for a predator free home
There are three kinds of rats in New Zealand, the kiore (Rattus exulans) which is the smallest, the Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus, also called the brown rat) which is the biggest, and the ship rat (Rattus rattus — also known as the common rat or black rat) which is the most common.Kiore rats came to New Zealand with early Maori voyagers, while Norway rats and ship rats travelled here on whaling ships with early European settlers. Kiore have been outcompeted by the more recent arrivals and are now only found on several offshore islands and parts of Fiordland. While Norway rats are found nation-wide, they are most common near bodies of water. Norway rats also prey on ground-nesting birds, their eggs and their chicks. They are able to climb trees but spend most of their time on the ground.Ship rats are thought to be the biggest threat and they have been instrumental in the extinction of many of New Zealand’s native birds.Rats eat weta and other insects, snails, frogs, lizards, tuatara, birds and bats, as well as the flowers, fruits and seeds of plants.What you can do if you have rats:• Find rat trapping advice for at home and in the bush on www.predatorfreenz.org• Rat proof the compost — food and organic waste that are improperly stored or disposed of constitutes the most significant food source for rats.• Don’t make it easy for them — trim any trees that are up against your house. A premise is 24 times more likely to become infested when that structure is easily accessible to rats! Although they will cohabit with people, abandoned structures are preferred.