Mouse or Rat chewed spark plug of petrol lawn mower

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The lawn mower was kept with many other tools and wood off cuts behind the wooden shed in the garden covered with a tarp. My old wooden shed is too jam packed with other stuff, and some of the tools had to be housed under the tarp outside the shed.

Today, I was trying to get some wood off cuts for patching up the holes in my shed. I found teeth mark - which look like scraped with saw, and chunk of the hard plastic cover of the spark plug housing of the old petrol engined lawn mower was missing (possibly eaten). There were also some mouse / rat droppings around.

My question was, why do they chew up the plastic? Is this some serious rat problem we might have in the garden and shed? Should I do some active measure getting rid of rats / mouse in the garden / shed area?

Any ideas, the similar experiences or thoughts on this? Thanks.
 
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We don't own any pets, but some of the neighbours have cats. They sometimes comes into our garden, and pass by.
I don't think the cats catch mice or rats, but they chase and kill the birds, and used to come to use the grass for their toilets.
 
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My question was, why do they chew up the plastic?

I have heard two reasons.

1. Many (most?) plastics set pretty hard (as in brittle) when they are formed. Think of Bakelite if you remember that. Hence the mix has other materials added to keep the material somewhat flexible in use.

These materials (referred to as plasticisers) smell nice to rodents. So they chew the plastic thinking it is food but when they don't actually get any food they stop - at that point. If it is something like a power cable they may well chew it in many places.

In our garden the previous owners put in 12V lighting in the garden. Within weeks it had all failed as rodents (probably squirrels in our case) had eaten through enough of it.

2. Rodents teeth never stop growing, because they wear down when chewing hard food. If normal eating does not keep their teeth in check they will chew on other things to wear their teeth down.

As part of this wires are a particular target as they tend to fixed in place (or have limited movement) and are a suitable size for them to hold steady with their paws.
 
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We don't own any pets, but some of the neighbours have cats. They sometimes comes into our garden, and pass by.
I don't think the cats catch mice or rats, but they chase and kill the birds, and used to come to use the grass for their toilets.


Cats definitely catch mice and rats. Last year we amassed a 'tribute' of nearly 20 of them from our cat.
 
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On my CCTV I saw a cat had a rat trapped behind a flagstone propped against the wall. 30 minutes it spent, not being able to quite reach the rat with its paw. It got bored and the rat ran off shortly after. So they will try to get them but only so hard. I am sure a rat could inflict a pretty nasty wound on a cat.
As for the bait blocks, I find that slugs like to eat them, so you might want to lay slug pellets as well if you're using blocks.
 
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