Hello everybody, I'm turning to you for help. The home I share with my roommates is infested by rats, and they've managed to slip into the living spaces and kitchen on more than one occasion, building nests littered with their poop and our dogs' food in different corners of our living room and kitchen.
I'm in central Europe, in a small house close to a wooded area in a place beyond the suburbs of the nearest city. We've got a basement and crawlspace beneath the front and back terrace, I don't know about the foundation, though. Our walls are made of mostly wood and plaster, a very light build. We've also got a garden with a compost heap and fruit trees as well as vegetables that we grow there in the warm months. We have neighbours and we know of one place that also has or used to have a rat problem next to ours until a wild snake took to settling in their garden and took care of that for them (luckily).
In our house, the rats seem to live in part of the floors and the walls and nest there for the winter. I don't know if they're also there in the summer, but they're very loud in the walls in winter and keep gnawing through so that I'm afraid they'll be trying to break through into our living spaces soon. As I said, single rats have managed to slip in at times and live in our interior spaces for weeks up to months at a time, but never more than one, usually. The others you can hear and sometimes see run across the terrace and the front porch as well as down in the basement, so I'm sure we have a lot of them. Also, one of our dogs (we used to have 4, now have 3) dug up some of their babies in the garden a while ago. The dogs don't seem to deter them, probably because the rats can easily hide in the many cracks and openings along the terrace and facade of the house and only one of the three dogs is actually very interested in hunting them.
Here's my question:
How can we get rid of these rats in a lasting manner? How can we get them out of the walls? And, most importantly, can we get our garden, including the compost and food we grow, rat free in the long run, or is that, as my flatmates claim, "impossible"?
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