Have you noticed you’ve got rats living in your house or garden? While you might want to get rid of them, you don't need to cause them harm by doing so.

While rats can be inconvenient visitors, they don’t have to die if they invade your space so the RSPCA has shared some ways you can get rid of them humanely.

The charity explains on its website: “Rats and mice commonly live in gardens and parks in the UK as they’ll have easy access to food sources, such as food put down for other animals.

“They can be attracted to spilt wild bird food, scattered by birds from feeders or tables. Compost heaps can also be a major attraction as they offer food, shelter and warmth.

Midweek Herald: Rats can get into our homes and gardens so it's worth knowing how to get rid of themRats can get into our homes and gardens so it's worth knowing how to get rid of them (Image: Getty)

“Other attractions can be improperly stored rubbish bags, cat, dog or other pet food (particularly outside pets like rabbits or guinea pigs) and food left out for wildlife such as hedgehogs.”

You can find out more about rats and mice via the RSPCA website.

How to get rid of rats humanely

The RSPCA advises that you reduce or remove any food sources that are accessible to the rodents and you should make sure that any food containers or bins are airtight and rodent-proof.

If you feed wildlife in your garden, you’ll need to make sure you clean up any food and sometimes, it could be a good idea to stop leaving food out for a little while.

You can also keep rodents at bay by planting wood hyacinth, allium and daffodils in your garden – these act as repellents.

If you have grass, shrubs and other greenery near your house, you’ll need to keep it short and tidy so that rats don’t take up residence and use it as shelter. Once you know rodents have gone, you can grow them out again to help give other wildlife some cover.

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Make sure you declutter your garden and keep storage areas tidy so rodents have fewer places to hide.

The RSPCA explains that rats and mice are scared of new things or changes (known as neophobia) so moving around your garden furniture and other objects could mean they become confused and alarmed as they’re used to static habitats.

How to get rid of rats humanely in your home

Rats and mice can live off crumbs so it’s important to make sure you regularly clean overlooked areas in your home where there might be some crumbs lying around.

Seal all your food containers, particularly those that have cereal, bread, pasta and dried pet food in them. Food containers should also be made of rodent-proof materials and stored away in cupboards or on shelves that rodents will struggle to get to.

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Overnight, you should put your pet’s food bowls away.

If the rodents have entered your home via a hole or gap, you can block them up to stop more from getting in.

The RSPCA advises using “either a strong, quick-hardening sealant or ‘mouse mesh’; a kind of wire wool.”

It explains that materials such as caulk, rubber and plastic fillers aren't effective because rodents can chew through them.

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Keep an eye on other entry points including doors that have a gap underneath them.

You can also use some oils to deter them. You’ll need to soak some cotton wool balls in peppermint, eucalyptus or spearmint oil.

Rodents avoid these smells so put the cotton wool balls under cupboards and along work surfaces or beams as well as in the corners of your loft, basement or shed. If you can think of any other places where they might be getting in, try putting some there too.

The oil will need to be replaced regularly even when you think the rodents might have gone as they could return.