I have had rat problems off and on for the past 15 years, I've lived here. This year, it seems to have exploded! It is purely anecdotal, but this is also the first year I've had chickens! These are not roof rats, but rather fruit rats...much smaller, which in all candor make them more difficult to catch. They are really too big to be caught in a smaller mouse trap and too small for the rat trap. Plus they seem to Mensa Rats, because they are smarter than years past. Which makes them smarter than me. So, we are now in for a battle and a HUGE conundrum. So, let's hit the launchpad.
I am, by nature/up-bringing, conservative, but have have a strong bent towards proper stewardship of the our planet and balance between man and beast. Rats, for me, are the tipping point of environmental consciousness and militant insanity. I go to my local hardware store looking for rodent control . My mind races between utter simplicity of a snap trap to devising new, yet invented robot rodent killing machines. I have even jumped on Raytheon's website in hopes they have a some military grade laser rat destroyer, maybe something they've used in Iraq... hmmmm? Or maybe a mutant cat, that I can stuff into my crawl space and seal it up. Listen for the tussel and then coax the cat back down with some catnip. Anyway, my mind races between joy and guilt... as I stand there I juggle "green/humane" option or utter mayhem.
With a nod to "green" I begin with sticky/glue traps. I put my finger on it to test and it is like a tractor beam. I can barely get my finger out of it. I nearly grab the trap with my other hand only to catch a glimpse of myself in the future, with both hands stuck together as I struggle to release to myself from it, only to fail and die of starvation. Irony? I nail them to the tops of fences where I know these germ infested creatures are making their midnight dashes. I put a scooch of peanut butter to draw them in, with anticipation I go to sleep. I awaken with an extra jump in my step to see the peanut butter gone and no rat, nothing, not even a mark in the glue trap. Are you kidding me? I barely get away with my life and these rats dance across it like it was a parkay floor. Fine, let's try this again. Repeat the same steps with more peanut butter and push it into the glue a little deeper. Awaken the next morning and shame on me.. peanut butter is gone and not a tarred rat in site. Honestly, how can they sell this stuff? If rats dance across it, how can Rat Glue Inc. still be in business? You know, I think when stuff doesn't work, most of us move on. You know, just "Oh well, it was only $4.99" it didn't work", and move on to Plan B. Which I did.
I now elevate my quest to - snap traps and these stooooopid "plug-in" electronic emitters which are suppose to attract them and then make them nuts and drive them away. I get two rat traps, which take super-human strength and dexterity to set and nerves of steel to take your hand away while the spring of death is "loaded". Hoping beyond hope that that hook is making full contact with the clip. I put peanut butter on the trap - organic of course.... want to make sure their last meal is healthy and plug in the emitters. Keep in mind the rats are in our crawlspace and are keeping my kids up and grossing everyone out... they truly sound like they are acting out a scene from Bonanza with stagecoaches and horses galloping through the attic.
I set the traps and come out the next morning only to see the peanut eaten down to the clip and no rats. You've got to be kidding me, are these "zero-point gravity" rats? I can't breath on the trap without it springing and these things are eating off it? Argh!!!!!!
I leave well enough alone and decide to set the traps that evening. As I lay my head on the pillow I remember, "set the traps". All snuggly, wuggly in bed, I get out, slip on some flip flops and a t-shirt, go to the kitchen to get the peanut butter. Walk out to the fence, stand on a log, where I pull the snap back, slip and the snap gets my left index finger spot on the knuckle. I think my cursing scared the rats away that night. My knuckle swells up like a balloon. I set the traps and again, the next morning bait is gone and so are the rats.
Now, the internal struggle begins - these rats are not going away, not getting caught in the glue, not tripping the traps and not put-off by the waste of money noise emitters. And, they have my entire family sleeping in different rooms because of the cacophony of noise they are making. I am beginning to become militant. This is where the eco-friendly me leaves and the rat killing me appears.
I have had to resort to poison... and while I hate it! I know it works. I proceed to nail the poison to the tops of the fence so pets don't get it. I would normally remove it in the morning so not to kill squirrels and birds, but I don't have to, cause every piece of bait is gone! I repeat the process the next night - again, every piece of bait is gone. For 5 nights I do this and each morning all the poison is gone. Finally, on Saturday, I see a rat, which is "in process" of dieing. My biggest fear is unraveling in front of me... I believe in instant death of these creatures, not a lingering death... I know... it is a rat, but ugh. I hate to see this. My Dad always said, "get it over with" when referring to homework... So I applied this to the rat as well. As humanely as possible, I killed it so to not have it suffer unduly. I have now seen 3 more dead in and around water sources. However, they are still there. More poison is going to get place in the crawl space tonight.