How to Get Rid of Kangaroo Rats

The kangaroo rat is a type of rodent found throughout dry regions in the continental U.S., excluding Alaska. Because the kangaroo rat feeds on grains, plant seeds and the plants themselves, the rodents can become a pest.

There are 23 types of kangaroo rats. Five are listed as endangered. If you live in Arizona, California, Oregon or Nevada, first consult a wildlife specialist.

Step 1

Limit access to food. Store the grain and seed in airtight, rigid plastic or metal bins. If growing grain or grasses that attract kangaroo rats, plant the crops in the early spring months before kangaroo rat populations swell. Grow a border of non-grain vegetation around your garden or pasture.

Step 2

Trap the kangaroo rats. This is ideal for contained locations such as gardens and barns. Use a live or lethal mouse trap, available from most hardware stores. Bait the traps with a scoop of peanut butter or pieces of whole corn. If using a live trap, check the trap every four to five hours and release the captured rodents at least a mile from your home.

Step 3

Scare the kangaroo rats away. This is the ideal, humane and low-effort method. Set up ultrasonic rodent repellents around the perimeter of the garden, pasture or barn. The devices emit a piercing sound that the rodents cannot stand. Or treat the perimeter with a rodent repellent spray or powder formulated from bobcat urine. This tricks the kangaroo rats into thinking a predator is nearby.

Step 4

Poison the kangaroo rats. Use a water-based poison, because the rodents are drawn to moisture. A standard rodent anticoagulant, which causes uncontrolled internal bleeding, available from a hardware store, is effective. Mix the poison with water according to the manufacturer's instructions, as toxicity varies widely by product. Set the poison out in shallow dishes in problem areas.

Joshua Duvauchelle

Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.