Ship Rat (Rattus rattus)
These rats made their way to New Zealand by hitching a ride on exploring ships. They are excellent climbers and survive on a diverse diet of insects, frogs, lizards, bats, plant material (flowers, fruit and seeds) and attack and kill adult birds and/or their eggs and chicks.
Controlling rats in native beech forest is difficult because of the abundant food provided by the beech trees when they have a mass seeding event (mast). Rat numbers can also increase rapidly and as they have a small home range it's a constant challenge to keep their numbers down.
We control rats using Victor rat traps baited with a mix of peanut butter and rolled oats. The traps are placed within a coreflute or timber tunnel. The tunnel is designed to protect our native birds, and to keep the trap protected from the elements. Our traps are spaced every 25 to 50 metres along the walking tracks surrounding the village of St Arnaud and cover 300 hectares.
If you would like to become a rat trapping volunteer or would like more information about our rat trapping - please contact us.