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Updated 7 June 2018 1:37pm

Getting rid of rodents

Rats and mice are a major competitive threat to native species for food and habitat.

Rats and mice are a common problem species throughout the region. They're a threat to our region's biodiversity by killing birds’ eggs and young birds, eating seeds, fruits and seedlings and killing native lizards and invertebrates.

Rodents are a nuisance to humans by eating and damaging crops, contaminating and damaging human and animal food, damaging buildings and carrying diseases such as leptospirosis. Rats gnaw continually to wear down their front teeth, which are constantly growing. Rats and mice defecate and urinate as they travel, leaving urine stains and droppings.

Rodent species in New Zealand - a bit of history

There are four species of rodent in New Zealand - three types of rat and the house mouse.

  • House mouse (Mus musculus)
  • Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus)
  • Ship rat (Rattus rattus)
  • Kiore or Polynesian rat

Kiore are thought to be extinct in the region. Norway rats are the largest rodent, usually inhabiting waterways and coastal areas. The ship rat and house mouse are the most common species in the Wellington region. Ship rats and mice inhabit all suitable habitats including forests, dunes, rivers, lagoons and estuaries. Rats and mice will inhabit commercial, agricultural and domestic buildings, particularly where there is a readily available food source. All of the rodent species were accidentally or intentionally introduced by human settlement.

How you can save birds and other natives from rodents?

Rats and mice can be controlled by trapping or poisoning. Kill traps and poisons can be purchased from Greater Wellington Regional Council, supermarkets, garden centres, hardware and farm supply stores.

We're more than happy to offer free advice on what disposal method best suits your situation. Our experts can also train you how to set the traps. Effective rodent control needs to be continual, and often it is easier to remove the food source and nesting grounds for the rodents. Clean up rubbish and overgrown parts of your section. cover or contain compost heaps. Seal all entrances into buildings and keep clear areas around houses and buildings.

Commercial pest control operators can be employed to manage rodents.

To get involved with the Predator Free movement and start rat control in your backyard contact us to find out more information, or check out some of the links below.

Further information and where you can buy traps:

Our brochures:

Department of Conservation and other great information:

Places to buy rat traps: