You’ve probably been told that rats are nocturnal…which also leads you to wonder why you have seen a rat in your garden in daylight? 

Let’s clear something up right now. Rats are MOSTLY nocturnal.

That does not mean they are going to spend all day curled up in a ball, asleep, far away from your garden and home, no.

It means that seeing a rat during daylight hours is still a very real possibility!

In fact, rats sleep in short bursts and can be active during the day or night.

Scared yet? Don’t panic, rats are pretty fearful of humans. It generally happens when you meet something much, much bigger than you.

Rats may be small, but they do carry some very nasty diseases. Always be wary of that when you are tackling a rat problem.

Although there are steps you can take to deter rats from entering your yard, let’s take a look at the reasons why you have seen a rat in your garden in daylight.

Have You Seen A Rat In Your Garden In Daylight

Why Is There A Rat In My Garden In Daylight?

You Have Left Food Out

This is by far the biggest reason you have seen a rat in your garden during the daylight hours.

Gardens and yards will have food substances in them. The food substances can be:

  • Fruit trees
  • Nut trees
  • BBQ leftovers
  • Bird food (on a bird table or in a nest)
  • Other pet food (dog or cat)
  • Vegetables

It is vital that you clear all food items away when you are finished with them. If you have fruit or nut trees then having rats may well be a common occurrence.

Consider sealing up any vegetable patch that you may have too.

Many people have a birdhouse, or bird a feeder in their garden or yard. Although this is an excellent way of attracting birds to your home, it is also very attractive to a rat!

Rats have an awesome sense of smell and can sniff food out easily. Tidy it away and clean all surfaces. This will reduce the chances of you seeing a rat in your garden in daylight hours.

Too Much Cover

Your garden or yard may offer the rat a great deal of cover. This is extremely important for rats. They want to remain in relative safety away from predators.

If a rat is active during the day, they will look to journey through areas that offer as much cover as possible.

You might want to consider removing some of the objects that a rat can use as cover. Objects such as trees, plants, and shrubs.

You Haven’t Cleared The Trash Away

Your trash will have many items that are attractive to a rat.

  • Food
  • Boxes
  • Plastic bottles
  • Tins

These are all things that a rat can either eat, use as bedding, or just simply something they want to gnaw on to keep their teeth short and sharp.

Rat Is Brave

This rat might just be a brave rodent who simply isn’t scared to strut their stuff through your garden!

If a rat is used to being around humans, it is possible that they are just not scared at all.

I have seen rats in underground stations, and even running freely on a sidewalk whilst people look on in amazement!

Most rats are fearful of human interaction and will do anything they can to avoid coming into contact with us. Some rats do not seem to care!

Rat Has Been Cornered

If your neighbors have cats or other pets that the rat might be scared off, there is a potential that these animals have forced the rat away from its nest and into your yard.

A cat is an excellent way of keeping rodents away from your yard. If it is working for your neighbors, then why not give it a go yourself?

If a rat has been scared out of other gardens by animals, loud noises, of humans, then it could be the reason why it has found its way into your garden for some peace and protection.

There’s A Rat In My Garden, What Am I Gonna Do?

You can stop singing UB40 for a start!

First things first. You do not, under any circumstances, use rat poison. Using rat poison has the potential of harming other wildlife, pets, and even humans. Just do not do it.

A much better idea is to use a cage rat trap and load it up with some awesome rat trap bait. This is a very humane way of catching a rat in your yard, you just need to get rid of the rat once it has been caught.

Not only is it a humane way of catching the rat, but it is also a safe way to catch a rat without harming any other animal or pet.

It is also a trap that you can use time and time again. You may want to consider leaving the trap set up even after you have caught the rat. You will need to check the trap each day though, just to make sure that you have not caught any other animal!


rat is garden in daylight
FAQs regarding rats being in your garden during daylight.

Why would a rat be out during the day?

The rat will most likely be out looking for food, or items to use as a shelter or a nest. When I had a brown rat in my garden, it was because it had found out that my yard had a fruit tree in it! There are other reasons why you have seen a rat during the day, such as overpopulation.

Do rats like daylight?

Whilst rats can travel in daylight, it is not their most preferred time of day. Traveling during daylight will expose the rat to all kinds of dangers, and will not offer as much protection as traveling when it is dark. For instance, birds of prey and other predators can easily spot a rat during daylight. It is a natural reason why rats generally only come out at night.

What do you do if you see a rat in your garden?

First and foremost, do not lay down rat poison under any circumstance! You may kill the rat, but you may also kill other wildlife or pets. If a child encounters poison and consumes it, they will be very sick. You should take steps to reduce the chances of getting rats in your yard like cleaning up food, removing bird feeders, and ensuring there is a lack of cover for rats to travel through (such as overgrown bushes).


If you have seen a rat in your garden in daylight then the first thing you need to do is not panic. Just because rats usually prefer to travel after sundown, it doesn’t mean that you will not seeing rats during the day.

The second thing you need to do is re-read this post because it gives you some excellent advice on what to do!

Remember, rats can transmit diseases directly and indirectly. Having a rat in your garden or yard will expose hidden dangers to those who spend time in it. Children, elderly relatives too.

Get rid of the rat or rats ASAP!

Finally, good luck!

About the Author

Rodent Guide

Man v Rodent! I've been tackling Rodent infestation issues for over 20 years. Now I want to use this website to pass over the tips that I have learned over that time to help you take these Rodents out DIY style!

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