Dead wood rats

Asked July 12, 2019, 1:46 PM EDT

Hello, We're in South Benton County and have a wood rat population on our property. In the last 2 weeks, we've found 4 dead wood rats. There are no apparent signs of physical damage or evidence of any struggle. We do have a neighbor that shares a fence with us about 200 ft from our house who also had some wood rat issues. Both of us have dogs, so we don't use poison as rodent control. What signs could we look for to get an idea of the cause of death? We're concerned for the safety of our pets if they eat a poisoned rat carcass.

Benton County Oregon

2 Responses

Hello. I'd like to learn more about what you're seeing and the context of the situation. You mention concern about possible use of poisons -- You mention the woodrats are on your property - Did you find the dead rats on a midden? Is the midden near your house or an outbuilding, or are the dead animals being found out in the open? Besides you and your dog-owning neighbor, are there other neighbors nearby that you're concerned might be using toxins? If so, would they be coming onto your property to do so?
I'll look forward to learning more.

Hi Dana,
The wood rats are living underground, under the chicken coop (it has a concrete floor). We found 4 dead rats in total, all out in the open. The last one was about a week ago. Our neighbors don't have access to our property. We do have another neighbor on another side, about the same distance from the house, who does not have dogs and would be happy to deal with any wood rats with poison bait.

We have since seen a couple of young rats. If there was disease in the population, we would expect to see these rats sicken and die. My guess is that the neighbor without dogs put out some poison bait and after eating it, the 4 rats came to our property to die.
If we find more rats, we'll take some pictures of the carcass in situ for you.
Henry and Kate