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Thread: Rat or Stoat?

  1. #1
    Master Mossdog's Avatar
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    Rat or Stoat?

    I'm trying work out whether I've got a rat or a stoat living in the stone shed at the bottom of the garden.

    Facts so far:

    I saw a stoat in daylight running along the rear fence a few weeks ago.

    We've rats around (neighbour has hens and he's plagued by them) and I've spotted some on the drive and under the bird table.

    Snow paw prints over the last few weeks look like very tiny dog prints.

    Apples left out on the lawn for the blackbirds have been carried (in day light) to the gap under the shed door (where they're too large to fit through - door sill has been gnawed a little).

    I discovered a bunch of bird feathers outside the shed door last week.

    Some scat found on the driveway and rear garden doesn't look like rat crap (but I'm no expert!).

    If its a stoat, then I'm stoatally (sorry!) OK with that, as hopefully it will see off some of the rabbits, rats and mice - but I don't want a lodging rat (yeah, I know, I'm prejudiced), and I can't use a trap incase it is a stoat.

    Any other ideas about how to determine whose taken up residence, aside from rummaging around in the shed and disturbing it/them (I've not been in for a few weeks but have peered through the window, but not spotted anything)?
    “My actions are my only true belongings.”

  2. #2
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    Probably both, but stoats will probably eat rats! Need Wharfeego to comment.

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    Super Moderator Derby Tup's Avatar
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    Things should weasily be resolved if wharfee posts

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    Master noel's Avatar
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    Aren't stoats carnivorous? So wouldn't eat apples. If you like having a stoat, the best thing to do is to encourage vermin, then it's got something to eat.

    I'm not helping here am I...
    No longer "resting"

  5. #5
    Master molehill's Avatar
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    Rats usually like digging under sheds, have a look for signs of soil disturbed around holes. If you have a stoat it will probably see off any rats, so very unlikely to be both.
    Borrow a trail camera to see. Acquire a live catch cage trap (borrow, buy) and then you can release any stoat unharmed if caught. I regularly catch polecats in my squirrel traps and release them fine, they come in for maize and peanuts, doubt you have a polecat - but another possibility.

  6. #6
    Master Mossdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derby Tup View Post
    Things should weasily be resolved if wharfee posts
    I just knew somebody wouldn't be able to resist that! At least I got the 'stoatally' in first.
    “My actions are my only true belongings.”

  7. #7
    Master Mossdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noel View Post
    Aren't stoats carnivorous? So wouldn't eat apples. If you like having a stoat, the best thing to do is to encourage vermin, then it's got something to eat.

    I'm not helping here am I...
    Well, yes, there is a certain logic to that Noel - ahem. Thank you for being ever so helpful (). Actually, it seems fruit such as apples do form part of a stoat's diet if available. Perhaps my stoats (see, I'm already trying to think positively about them/it actually being in the shed) were mindful of it being Veganary, last month!

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc...46609X0101102X
    “My actions are my only true belongings.”

  8. #8
    Master Mossdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by molehill View Post
    Rats usually like digging under sheds, have a look for signs of soil disturbed around holes. If you have a stoat it will probably see off any rats, so very unlikely to be both.
    Borrow a trail camera to see. Acquire a live catch cage trap (borrow, buy) and then you can release any stoat unharmed if caught. I regularly catch polecats in my squirrel traps and release them fine, they come in for maize and peanuts, doubt you have a polecat - but another possibility.
    Cheers for that advice. We've plenty of game keepers around here who could lend me one ( I won't mention I like stoats though !)
    “My actions are my only true belongings.”

  9. #9
    Master noel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mossdog View Post
    Well, yes, there is a certain logic to that Noel - ahem. Thank you for being ever so helpful (). Actually, it seems fruit such as apples do form part of a stoat's diet if available. Perhaps my stoats (see, I'm already trying to think positively about them/it actually being in the shed) were mindful of it being Veganary, last month!

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc...46609X0101102X
    Thanks. Every day is a school day.

    I'm also intrigued since we're losing eggs and suspect stoats or perhaps rats may be involved
    No longer "resting"

  10. #10
    Master Mossdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noel View Post
    Thanks. Every day is a school day.

    I'm also intrigued since we're losing eggs and suspect stoats or perhaps rats may be involved
    My neighbour (the one with the hens and rats) said he actually spotted a rat one morning taking eggs from under one of his brooding bantams. Having said that, I'd imagine a might stoat have taken both the bantam and the eggs in one swoop.
    “My actions are my only true belongings.”

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