One thing there's a lot of up here, at least in Eureka, is rats. You'd think with all the wild creatures up here, including domestic dogs and cats, rats wouldn't get along so well. That doesn't seem to be the case, unfortunately. Rats give me the willies.
Yesterday, I discovered yet another one, this time in my garage. Thought I'd heard something chewing on something while I was in the garage a few weeks ago but it seemed to move on as I just heard it that once. I figured the cats probably got it.
Then, yesterday morning I went out to the garage and was standing by the workbench. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a blur as something ran from the washroom into the garage and heard whatever it was bump into something.
If I didn't hear it bump into something I might of assumed I was just seeing things as it was so fast I didn't really get a good look at it. Best I could tell from what I could see was it was a large brown rat.
I thought it must have ran back under the house by going under the stairs by kitchen and made a note to put some rat poison back under the house again. That's something I tell myself do to every three months or so but I end up blowing it off and just do it when I think we have rats again.
Just in case it came back out again, I put one bait tray in the entrance way to the washroom where I'd seen it earlier and figured I'd put some bait in my favorite baiting spot- below the floor under the kitchen sink- when I got home from work.
Turned out the rat wasn't under the house. It was still in the garage.
I got home from work and was unloading my stuff when I knocked over something near some shelves near the front of the garage. All of the sudden a gray rat comes running out, heads a few feet down the driveway and turns around and runs back towards me. I took off running into the garage. The rat went right back to where he was, hiding under some stuff I had leaning against the shelves.
So, I went ahead and put the other bait tray alongside the wall where I figured the rat was probably hiding.
That was the first time I recall actually having a rat in the garage. Wonder how he got in there? I suppose he could have just walked in one of the doors as rats do move around in the daytime. And there probably is some way to get in there from under the house, despite my attempts to seal off any openings.
Never needed to deal with placing bait out there after all was said and done. About an hour or two after I'd come home I was standing in the garage with the music on and the rat comes out of hiding and scurries out of the garage and around the corner of the house. I guess he doesn't like music?
Good. Now maybe the cats will take care of him.
I didn't notice them at my place in Myrtletown, either, at least at first. Then, one day, I found a couple of big brown wood rats had taken residence up in the old concrete incinerator in my small yard.
It was a small square concrete thing that was falling apart. I'd burn trash in it on occasion but eventually started throwing stuff in it, including food, and just letting it sit. Finally, I decided I should stop that practice and give up the burning altogether. I went out with a shovel to dig all the stuff out of the incinerator and, as soon as I touched the pile of trash, a couple big rats jumped out and ran off.
Happened so fast I didn't have time to react. Then I had to wonder: What do I do now? I cancelled my trash digging operation until the rat problem was resolved.
Last time I remember dealing with a lot of rats was in Mexico and the parents dealt with them. They placed big steel traps out where the rats hung out, for whatever good they did. Rats thrived out in the back of our house back then.
But traps it would be. I believe I went down to Mark n Save and bought a couple of the wooden rat traps. Went home, baited one with cheese and put it right next to the incinerator. Came back in about ten minutes and one rat was dead in the trap. Baited and set the trap again and came back in about fifteen minutes and I'd caught the other one.
Problem solved, or so I thought.
A friend at work, John Kraus, told me, If you see one rat, there's likely more... I thought about that but for some reason didn't keep the traps out. Yes, there still were rats there although, in fairness to the rats, they seemed content to be outside rats. Never had any in the house.
I used to feed birds back then by putting birdseed on top of the wooden fence in the yard. One night I was out under the car port and out comes a big brown rat along the top of the fence and starts eating the bird seed. As I got up to go in the house he scurried back from wherever he came.
I went and got my pump action Daisy bb gun and went back to where I was earlier. Didn't take too long for the rat to show up again. An easy shot as he wasn't more than maybe twelve feet away. I'd pumped up the bb gun as much as I dared earlier and, once I got him in my sights, let loose a bb at him.
I hit him, but couldn't tell where. He squealed and took off a runnin'. I don't believe I ever saw him again, but it might have been because I didn't look often enough.
Later I got in the bad habit of dumping organic food out on the lawn- in this case 9 Grain Cereal. I was thinking the birds might like it but one day, while laying on the sun deck, I looked down and there was a black and white rat partaking in my treat for the birds.
He took off as soon as I got up to go inside. I went in and came out with my .22 pistol. I figured it was a straight shot down so it wouldn't be a danger to anyone else. Never got to find out as the rat never came back.
That one looked like the kind of rat you could buy in a pet store. Wonder if it was somebody's pet at one time?
Why it took so long to notice here, I'm not sure. Probably because we didn't have cats for some time and, once we did, we'd find all kinds of dead mice and rats in the yard. Don't you just love it when the cats bring a dead rat with its head all chewed up and drop it off on the stairs to your back door?
It might also be because it takes a while to get the eye and ear for signs of rats- things you just don't notice normally but you become adept at picking up with experience. Biggest giveaway, I've found, is hearing a bump or hearing something fall over where there shouldn't be any critters at the time.
Of course, finding food containers with holes in them and the food being eaten is a giveaway, as well, but we've only had rats in the actual house once and that's how we noticed it.
When we had our bathroom remodeled the new bathtub was one of those jacuzzi type things and an access hatch to the water pump was made behind a kitchen cabinet. We didn't think about it at the time but the water pump was basically underneath the house with full access to any critter that wanted to get to it. We've had critters take up residence under there many times since then.
We foolishly left the hatch door off, not realizing at the time how many critters liked the underpart of our house. The wife opened the cabinet one day and bags of food had holes eaten in them and the contents were strewn about.
Closed the hatch, end of problem, at least for inside the house.
Except, of course, one stormy night when one of our kittens, the late Mr. Tom, came to the back door with a live rat in his mouth. Too cold and rainy to play with it outside so he thought he'd bring it inside with him.
I saw him at the door but didn't see the rat. I let him in, he comes in and lets the rat go and off it goes to underneath the computer table. To make matters worse, he seems to lose interest in it and we can't get the other cats to get much interest in it either. I don't remember how we got rid of that one. I think I used something to pick it up and throw it back outside.
Thanks, Mr. Tom.
Biggest one we've seen here was one that one of our kittens must have killed. It was laying dead out in one of the paths of my vegetable garden. It was a big fuzzy, black Norway Rat, I believe. I'd say it was eight to nine, maybe ten, inches long, from nose to butt. Hope we don't get any more of those.
Anybody have any fun rat stories of their own?