Knowledge Base

I saw a rat in my yard. What should I do?

Rats! Who needs them?

Rodent Control in Our Community

As the weather warms up and we start to spend more of our time outside we may encounter wildlife that may have otherwise gone unnoticed, including rats. While there are many factors that contribute to why there may be an increase in rodent activity, there are a number of ways you can keep your property and your community free of rodents.

What can you do?

Rats, like all animals need food, water and shelter. Survey your home and see if any changes can be made to reduce food, water or harborage sources for unwelcome visitors. 

Eliminate their food sources.

  • Keep garbage and refuse in tightly covered containers that are free of cracks and holes.
    Do not place garbage out for curbside pick-up unless inside a covered receptacle. Rats and other animals can eat through plastic bags and some garbage containers.
  • Keep bird feeders and the ground beneath clean of any excess feed and/or droppings.
  • If feeding pets outside, remove food and water once your pet has finished eating.
  • Do not place food scraps in compost piles.
  • Discard fallen fruit or vegetables from trees and gardens.
  • Empty open containers which have collected rainwater.
  • Keep the entire premises clean!

Remove their shelter.

  • Around the home – do not pile wood, garden debris, building materials, etc. near or against a wall. Store materials 12-18 inches off the ground.
  • Keep garages and sheds in good repair and free of clutter.

Build Them Out. 

  • Close necessary openings like windows, doors and sources of ventilation with ¼ inch wire mesh (hardware cloth).
  • Close unnecessary openings with sheet metal or concrete.
  • Seal any holes around the home where piping comes in with sheet metal or hardware cloth.

Community action

The success of the rodent control program is dependent upon the cooperation of you as an individual and as a community member. If you have any questions please contact your local health department. If you notice any rodent activity (burrows/sightings) on your property please contact a certified Pest Control Operator for assistance.


There are a number of ways you can keep your property and your community free of rodents. The township website provides advice here:

You may also report it to Montclair Health Department:


Updated 8/21/2022 10:21 AM
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