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The bastard made a vinaigrette!

It’s no surprise in a house as old as this that we have a seasonal rodent problem. It’s full of holes and hollow places.

We had the county ratman come out to the house not long after we moved in and he told us many and interesting things about rats. Then he flung blocks of poison all over the attics and crawl spaces. For many years afterwards, we had a Christmas tradition of smelly dead rat under the master bedroom floorboards.

The poison must’ve worn off or been consumed because we’ve got some active squeakers at the moment, especially banging around in the kitchen cabinets.

Last night, I smelled the pungent stink of vinegar, opened the cabinets to discover he’d chewed his way through the base of a plastic bottle of malt vinegar. Also through a bottle of spray olive oil. The bastard made a vinaigrette on my kitchen floor!

Cleaning that up, I discovered this lickety-clean peanut butter jar. The lid must have been plastic – it done vanished entirely!

I don’t work Wednesdays. Tomorrow I shall put on the moon suit and see what awaits me deep in the cabinets.


Comment from Uncle Al
Time: December 14, 2021, 8:27 pm

I hope, Stoaty, that you have properly accessorized your moon suit with a pair of those chain mail gloves butchers wear in order to maintain a complete inventory of fingers and thumbs. Rats are nasty biters! Please be careful about putting your hands where you can’t see!

Comment from p2
Time: December 14, 2021, 9:53 pm

Are there not cats in Weasel Manor?

Comment from AliceH
Time: December 14, 2021, 10:12 pm

Rats? Not mice? Ugh

Comment from Tim Carlson
Time: December 14, 2021, 11:43 pm

I worked at a factory in Cavite for a while, managing the production of Christmas parols. The factory was infested with rats. It became a quest for me to eliminate as many as possible. Actually, I started out wanting to completely eradicate the rats, but I quickly realized that was impossible. Keeping them under control was the best I could hope for.

We used spring traps baited with peanut butter – if you want to catch a rat, use peanut butter. They can smell it from a mile away and can’t resist it.

I think we caught close to 100 rats in my tenure there. After discovering one in a trap, we would unceremoniously drop the trap, rat and all, in a bucket of water. After about 10 minutes we would dispose of the evidenc…. ah, er … remains.

Cats? Yes, we had factory cats. Useless, though, as the rats were about 50-75% the size of the cats and the rats would absolutely intimidate them.

When I finally left, the factory was virtually rat-free (or they were very stealthy by that point), but I have heard that the rat-trapping has lapsed under the new management and the factory is infested again.

It’s a constant battle and one must not let up on the trapping efforts, or the rats will win.

Things to do to keep down the rats:
– no food left in the open. That includes in paper or plastic bags. And as you have discovered, given time and privacy, rats will chew through anything plastic. Sometimes even thin metal.
– do not leave garbage in the trash bins overnight. Pack everything up each evening and put it out.
– declutter as best you can.
– sort through any piles on a regular basis to look for nests. I had my workers do this every week on Friday. We would have lots of boxes and finished inventory and raw inventory stack up, and I would have them restack and sweep.

Ah, now I remember what turned me into the Captain Ahab of rats – we found a boxed piece of finished inventory with a hole chewed in the box and a nest built inside. Ruined the box AND the product inside (chewed plastic and rat poop/pee all over). Once they began to cost me monies, that was it …

Oh, yes. I remember another incident. The internet for the factory stopped working one day. After tracking down the problem, we found the rats had been chewing the CAT5 cable. I guess the plastic insulation was tasty to them. Grrrrrr…

Stoatie – good luck. And keep a baseball bat or pokey stick handy during your search.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: December 15, 2021, 1:25 am

I didn’t know what a Parol is, so I looked it up. Now I wish we had them here, and everywhere. They’re so cool.

Sadly, I do know what a rat is; we do have those here. MY ‘biggest rat’ memory comes from my days in a 1.8 million square foot distribution center. Our bete noir was plastic bags of bird food. Easily damaged, say by a nip in the corner of the bag and presto! A veritable rat buffet. We started out using glue pads, until our Facilities Maintenance guy swore that he saw a big rat wearing four of them as sandals. Cats are…worthless… cute and fun for everyone but everybody feeds them and that’s the end of the hunting thing.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: December 15, 2021, 1:48 am

“It’s a constant battle and one must not let up on the trapping efforts, or the rats will win.”

as proof of the veracity of this statement I offer the case study of Mordor on the Potomac, our maligned Capitol.

We have/had one of the bastards between floors near our chimney. It et a hole through the screening on the porch, dining on some bird seed and leaving no deposit no return dropping to mark it’s passage.
I can’t kill the little buggers, just can’t, and Mrs D is of like mind. So she had me order one those live traps where they walk across a pivot point heading for the food bait and tumble into a bucket (not filled with anything, but the thought crossed my mind that you COULD do such a thing).
The ornery little rat IGNORED the peanut butter prize completely! For days!

My neighbor outright kills em with his snap traps and being as I haven’t heard it scurry overhead or gnawing the stud work I assume perhaps said rat has discovered first paw it should have accepted my bait instead of my neighbor’s.

Comment from Armybrat
Time: December 15, 2021, 1:53 am

Some rats built a nest in my pool heater last year. Cost me $250 to fix it. I went on a trapping spree. A bit of peanut butter on each trap and we caught 4 the first night. Managed 3 the next night. None since. So we either trapped them all or the big black racer that left it’s shed skin by the pool heater is contributing to the rat elimination project.

Comment from OldFert
Time: December 15, 2021, 7:42 pm

I worked at a bar in Austin (the Cameron Inn, long gone according to google earth).
We served free popcorn (the salt makes one thirsty, the thought was). The popcorn was pre-popped and came in large clear plastic bags which we kept in the storeroom.
Wellll, we noticed the nibbled corners (similar to Some Veg’s description) on the bags of popcorn and realized we needed to do something. So the owner bought some of those giant Victor rat traps (the kind that go SNAP!).
We set them out and the following day were surprised by the size of the buggers. A full cubit long, yup, from elbow to the tip of my middle finger from nose to tip of tail.
It took a while to catch enough to reduce the bag-nibbling to zero.

Yes, until the rats stopped, we still served our patrons the popcorn from the nibbled bags. Hey, it was free, right?

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