I Found a Rat Near My Compost Heap! What Should I Do?

I Found a Rat Near My Compost Heap! What Should I Do?

Cambria Bold
Aug 26, 2011

Q: This has been plaguing me and after reading the recent post about organizing kitchen garbage I started fretting all over again. With high hopes for greenerizing our lives, we started a compost bin in our yard last year, the kind with stacking sides and a lid. I added to it regularly and, for the first 6 months, dutifully and backbreakingly turned it over every week. Over the winter rains when our CSA was suspended, we let it ride. This spring we had a pretty reasonable compost that I spread around. I started adding again, but we had a new baby and I was out of the habit of flipping so the veggies kind of piled up.

And then we saw a rat...

...Ugh. My husband immediately transferred the compost in progress to the city bin and we have been putting our scraps out for pickup ever since (and we haven't seen any more rats). But it annoys me, because the company that picks it up sells their compost to farmers rather than making it freely available to residents as the old company used to do. Plus I kind of want my precious organic scraps to enrich my pitiful garden rather than slumming it with all the conventional carrot peels working for a living out there.

But the possibility of rats makes my compost heap a non-starter...or does it? Is there something I could do differently to prevent attracting them or do they come with the territory?

Asked by Ann

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