I live in downtown Toronto, and I've converted my garden into a very nice space where my family and I can have meals out on a backyard patio surrounded by plants in containers and in the ground - there are vines on the fences, and a fountain playing nice water music, and mirrors to reflect light, and a light to see/read by, and candles in hurricane lamps ....
Last night I was enjoying the patio, sitting and sipping a drink and reading a gardening book by candlelight, and all of a sudden out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of an animal running across the yard - and it looked like a rat! After I picked my heart off the table and put it back, and convinced myself that it was a mole or something (couldn't be a rat, right?), I got back to my reading. 10 minutes later, I saw a rat scurrying along the patio towards me, and this time it was only 3 feet away, so I know for sure it was a rat. It was also a different colour so not the same animal I saw the first time. When I screamed, it scurried under the fence and onto the neighbour's property. And that was the end of my nice evening. Lights out, and into the safety of the house.
Our compost is in one of those covered black bins; our garbage is in a garbage can; there is no trash or food (apart from lettuces and herbs and the unripe plums that are faling off the plum tree) in our backyard, so why are these rats there? And what can I do to get rid of them/keep them away?
Anyone have any ideas?