How to get rid of rats and mice – a pet safe approach


When the cold weather sets in, so do rats and mice. 

Rodents dislike cold weather, which is why winter sees an increase in the number of rats and mice found in and around our homes. As temperatures drop, rats and mice search out new shelters, opting for the warmth and comfort the indoors provides them. They are not picky where they find protection and are usually found in buildings, sheds, and homes. Basically, these critters will shelter anywhere to get out of the weather, in search of food and coverage. Business premises, homes, industrial complexes, farm sheds –  rats and mice don’t care – as long as it’s out of the elements, they are satisfied. 

How do you know if you have rats or mice?

 Apart from actual sightings, there are two tell-tale signs you need to be aware of:  

  • Droppings

Mice droppings resemble dark grains of rice, while rat droppings tend to be fatter and longer in size. While you may see the droppings occasionally in visible areas, chances are you will need to investigate the hidden parts of your home or building to really pick up on these.

  • Chew marks

Rats and mice absolutely love chewing on stuff. From your cables to boxes containing food, these rodents are frequently discovered thanks to the trail of chew mess they leave behind.

How many rats and mice do you really have?

Where there is one (sorry to say but…) there are probably more! Rodents are communal creatures, which means they prefer living in groups. So, if you see one scurrying around, or, if you suspect you have one rat or mouse, then you can safely assume that there are more hiding out of sight.

The scary truth about rodents is that under the right circumstances they not only survive, but they thrive. With short pregnancies and high litter numbers, a small population of vermin can very quickly turn into a plague, by which time their control becomes that much more challenging. This is why prevention and acting fast, if you suspect you have rats or mice, is crucial.

What can you do to eradicate rats and mice?

There are preventative measures that you can take to protect yourself from a possible infestation. If you suspect or know you already have rodents, we’ll explain what eradication measures work best.


  • Seal crevices and holes

Rodents get into buildings through even the tiniest of cracks and holes. To minimise their chances of getting in, block possible points of entry. You can use something like steel wool or caulk for this.

  •  Store food in airtight containers

Apart from warmth, rodents seek shelter indoors thanks to the easy access to food. Leaving unopened packets of food around the home is going to do nothing but help attract rats and mice. Get in the habit of storing food in airtight containers at all times.

  • Good sanitation

The triad of eliminating food, water and nesting materials goes a long way in rodent control and prevention, especially on farming properties and industrial complexes. Recommendations include:

    • Keeping properties tidy and trash free
    • Not storing items such as cardboard in layers on the ground
    • Storing animal feed in containers, preferably metal, that have tight lids
    • Ensuring open water sources and water leakages are minimised
    • Maintaining the gardens around the premise, including keeping your grass short

Rat and mice eradication

  • Use traps

Rodent traps can work in certain situations, when the rodent numbers only measure a half a dozen or less. For plague-like situations, move directly to blocks and bait stations. Just make sure you set up more than one, the right way. The issue with traps is that they often don’t kill the rat or mouse, leaving you to deal with a live, or injured, rodent once caught. Another issue with traps is that they are not an option for outside the building, making them very limited in use.

  • Blocks and bait stations

A better solution is the use of blocks, either alone or in combination with rodent bait stations. The new blocks on the market are more pet friendly than in the past. The active ingredient Coumatetralyl, found in the popular Surefire brand, breaks down fast in rodents once ingested. The blocks are very palatable to rodents despite containing Bitrex, a bittering agent to discourage ingestion by humans and animals other than rodents, making it safe to use around pets. 

Rodent Baits – the pet-friendly option

For people with pets and people not wanting to harm wildlife, eradicating rodents via bait stations brings with it challenges, such as secondary poisoning, in cases where the poisoned rodent is eaten by another animal. The trick is finding the best product. One that effectively kills rats and mice but is harmless to bigger pets, wildlife, and the environment. 

Surefire Couma All Weather Blocks

In our search for a pet-friendly product, we came across the ideal solution: Surefire Couma All Weather Blocks. These bait blocks come ready-to-use and contain the active ingredient Coumatetralyl, a highly toxic substance to rats and mice, that is metabolised quickly. As a first-generation anticoagulant that works through a multi-feed system, coumatetralyl is metabolised so quickly, that dead rodents carry very low residues; this decreases the risk of secondary poisoning to pets or wildlife who may scavenge on the dead rodents.

Using the multi-feed approach, Surefire Couma Blocks will kill in a similar timeframe as a single feed bait (3-8 days) without the risk of bait shyness. They are formulated as a wax block for better weather resistance. Rats and mice like to gnaw their teeth on hard surfaces, so the wax blocks are ideal. Surefire Couma blocks are particularly useful in damp locations such as sewers or gutters, or outdoor locations where loose grain baits spoil quickly. The blocks have been approved for use in farm buildings, meatworks, dairies and plantations, such as macadamia, pineapples and sugar cane, as part of a rodent control strategy. 

Bait Stations

Another handy product to use in conjunction with the Surefire Couma All Weather Rodent Blocks is a bait station. Bait stations protect children, pets, livestock and wildlife from accidental bait and trap exposure. Available in two sizes, medium and large, bait stations are tamper resistant and made of high quality materials that will provide lasting protection for many seasons. They can be reused over and over.

The trusted specialists

No matter what pest or rodent problem you may have, rest assured Specialist Sales is bound to have a product that will work for you. We have an extensive range of rodenticides and other pest control products on our website for sale, or please call our 1800 780 317 number to speak to our knowledgeable team about the best product for you.

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