Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Year of the Rat

According to Wikipedia, rats "emit short, high frequency, ultrasonic, socially induced vocalization during rough and tumble play, and when tickled." Well that explains the party in my ceiling . . it's the Fairway Comedy Festival of course!

The blighters have moved into the roof for the winter, or so they think. The poor little mights have crawled from overhanging trees during prolonged periods of rain and sneaked in through valley gutters.

Reluctant as I am to kill any living thing, crikey, even Huntsmen are welcome as long as they don't pass the bedroom lintel, I can't abide the scratching, chewing, flopping, plonking and banging in which these little blighters indulge.

So, last Sunday, Drummerboy and ventured into the roof cavity. There are two houses joined by roof remember and the roof loft is HUGE. Dry, warm, a bit dusty and dirty and a very comfortable condo for a rodent and his posse. Within seconds of flipping the manhole lid and flashing the maglight . . I saw two nice little grey rats tightroping on some structural wirey thing as if it had been placed there specifically for their own acrobatic pleasure. That was enough to convince us of the culprits' identity and baits were laid.

I'm loathe to bait them, it's basically a compound that denies them vitamin K so their blood doesn't coagulate and the poor things literally bleed to death. I've also found out that the theory about them becoming thirsty and running outside in search of water is a complete furfy. They just regularly leave the house in search of water anyway.

Now my dilemma . .it's been pouring for days, there is no shortage of water in the gutters so where's the incentive to leave and possibly die outside? Hence the increased risk of roof and cavity corpses. I SAW two but the noise they're making suggests a larger bunch. We'll just have to put up with the stench . . . . DrummerBoy will go house sitting and I'll have to pitch a tent or invest in some contraption that will reshape my nose whilst blocking the stink of dead rodent. Arrrrgggghhhh!

Traps are in fact the best and most humane exterminators but because rats are intelligent, it doesn't take long for them to work out that the trap is either dangerous or can be sprung without injury. It might catch one but then its buddies cotton-on. They don't listen to 'shoo . . go away' and the ultrasonic plugins can't travel through the solid rafters so they're not effective.

The only environmental solution is a children's or carpet python but I'm not keen about one hanging about in the roof and I'm not sure being eaten alive by a 6 foot snake is any better than being baited!

They can't stay - they chew electrical wiring, poo, wee, fornicate, produce ratlings every six weeks and apparently play the mini olympics between the hours of 2 and 4am. From last night's meanderings, it's the relay that has them all excited. All indications are that they also have a crowd cheering them on.

So, I'm fragile through lack of sleep, wracked with guilt about killing something that should live happily in the great outdoors, in a tree or creek but whatever - the deed is done. It's a waiting game to see if we've been effective and to find out whether they vacate. If they aren't dead by the weekend, I'm going to summon the ghost of that Irwin fellow and ask him to take them to a better place . . after all this year really is the year of the Rat.


Thriftcriminal said...

Yeah, we had an invasion over the winter. They were coming in behind the units in the utility. Just mice though. The poison was put down to stop the gnawing sounds in the walls.

Nick said...

Yes, I'd feel guilty too, the idea of killing any living creature is repugnant, but rats just have to go. Never had them thank God though I had mice in a flat once. It was quite creepy hearing all the little patterings and scratchings behind the walls.

Ah yes, Coco nose clips, THE summer accessory. Every woman here's wearing them. They don't half talk funny though.

Adam said...

i think they were playing tennis in my walls last night. swear to god i think they were under my bed.

As Nick said its no good having to kill something just to sleep well but all i have to say is DIE RATTIES!!! DIE!!

Baino said...

Thrifty: You always know you've got mice thanks to the little pellets they leave behind. Rats are more subtle with their toilet behaviour but no decorum when it comes to late night partying and chewing you're electrics!

Nick: If they didn't poo, wee or breed, I could probably learn to live with them. "I bust dry wad of dose dose clibs. I bight ed up wid a sballer dose"

Adam: It's probably the stuff under your bed that attracted them in the first place. They aint chewin' bits outta my hoodies!

Brian D said...

Get in a cat, that'll sort the bastards out. Saves you any squeamish moments.

But if they've unionised ...

Babysis said...

Alas we too have them training for the Olympics....last night it was soccer I'm sure and the crowd cheered long and hard.....

......but I have the solution, my old golden lab that doesnt do much at all except look nice...caught one the other morning ...she's a good girl, she ate it too! I told her how proud I was of her and I'm sure she smiled!

ian said...

Can't you get a battery powered ultrasonic yoke?

My uncle used to use the shotgun on the home farm, he must have been a fast shot - though it might not be advisable in your attic.

Emperor Ropi said...

I asked my chinese classmate and it is indeed the rat's year. I don't really like wikipedia

Quickroute said...

Business idea for you. You Aussies like roo burgers and emu burgers and croc is something of a delicacy right? - So why not create your own rat farm and sell the meat?
Hmm... [thinks to himself]- perhaps the kebab shop had that idea first!

steph said...

You didn't REALLY put your head up through the manhole, did you?

You'd be GREAT on "I'm a celebrity, GET ME OUT OF HERE"

Rather you than me, Baino!

Thriftcriminal said...

They also have no bladder control and wee everywhere, meaning. Leptospirosis anyone?

Terence McDanger said...

Huntsman? That's poisonous innit? Yer mad!

Baino said...

BrianD: Not sure which is worse, rat poo or cat pee. Wonder if a red suit and a tin whistle might do it?

Babysis: Make sure she doesn't eat a baited rat. They're deadly. It must be the rain. I bet they're climbing up your pecan tree and under the tiles. I had a whole night's sleep last night, not a peep,just waiting for the stink now!

Ian: I looked at plug in devices but they don't work round obstructions such as beams etc. Sadly they don't make teensy weensy rattie collars. Yep shotgun might be a bit messy and I'd still have to pick up the 'bits'.

Ropi: It certainly is you can work out what zodiac animal you are on this http://www.c-c-c.org/chineseculture/zodiac/%5C%5Cwww.c-c-c.org%5Cact/calendar.html

Grannymar said...

I get tiny field mice in the garage in winter. We once had rats in the garden when land was disturbed for building in the area.

Baino said...

Quickroute: Yep we're the only country that eats our national emblems! Taste damn good too . . I don't think ratburgers would take off somehow but keep thinking . . .*raised eyebrow in condescending disdbelief*

Steph: I certainly did. I had to make sure it was rats not possums before I laid bait. Possums are easy to trap and relocate. I wasn't keen to actually crawl into the roof but the evidence was clear .. two little buggers playing tightrope in plain view! .. I'm not afraid of rats, they're rather cute actually. I just don't want them in my roof!

Thrifty: That's my fear . . .they have no 'evacuation' plan at all!

Terrence: Nope, Funnel Webs and Redbacks are the poisonous ones. Huntsmen will bite if you trap them in clothing or a hat but basically big hairy and harmless (bit like you methinks possum?)

GrannyMar: we're into our 8th consecutive wet day and the wettest April in 15 years with the highest rainfall for this month ever recorded so they're being drowned out of their natural habitat I think. Having lots of overhanging trees doesn't help, they offer a nice ramp to a dry refuge.

Gledwood said...

I wouldn't mind having roborovskis in my roof. Don't know about rats though. I once lived in a disused industrial building. These horrible creatures, like nuclear mice, went shooting and pinging round corners, nearly causing me to wet myself on numerous occasions. Once one sniffed right at my ear in the dead of night. I yelled at it and off it hurtled, knocking over a can of beer in the far corner of the room (how on earth they orientate in zero light I've hardly any idea. Their whiskers and hearing can't be THAT good a replacement...) I was born in year of the rat. I wonder how that's affected my personality hahar!!...(??)

Melissa said...

I've been an animal lover my whole life, but when I was sitting by the woodstove in the basement with my mom eating some breakfast and a rat skittered along our foundation wall ... that was it. I said, "I don't like it ... get rid of it ..." It's hard to do the deed, but they're so bad for a building, one's health and sleep! Good luck! :)

Baino said...

Gleds: I wouldn't mind the odd roborovski either! The only evidence of our nuclear mice being in the house are two nice holes in Adam's new hoodies, (then his bedroom is so derelict, I'm surprised they didn't just nest in there!) A disused industrial building? - God I hope your new digs are a little more comfortable! Now, for your interest and edification:


Sound like you?

Melissa: I was a bit embarrassed at first, thinking that my house must be dirty to attract them (heaven forbid!) but seems everyone's had a ratty experience so I feel somewhat consoled. All is quiet at the moment and the rain is due to stop on the weekend hopefully so maybe they'll all go home!

kj said...

hello! i'm hopping in from melissa's blog and i'll be back, if that's ok with you.


Baino said...

kj: I'd be delighted . . hopefully by the time you return, the rodents will have moved on and we'll have a clean slate!

brianf said...

Baino and Nick,
"the idea of killing any living creature is repugnant,"
"Reluctant as I am to kill any living thing, crikey,"
You two are the biggest girlys I ever met. They are rats for gods sake!!!
Rats, not puppies! Disease ridden, disgusting rodents that will destroy your house and infect you with horrible diseases. Call a flippin' exterminator or sit upstairs with a .22 pistol and take them out yourself.
Getting rid of rats takes a multi-pronged approach. That poisoned bait will only get a few of them at best. As you said, they are smart.
Or maybe you could just go have a nice talk with them and a cuppa' tea!!
Frickin' bunny-huggers!
Ya' know if you shoot them rather than poison them then you can eat them. Now that's the circle of life!

Brian said...

And that is why you should be living on a ranch in Montana sitting on a porch with a sniper rifle just waiting for any representative of the US federal government to come, Brianf.

Survivalism of the fittest, as Darwin didn't say.