Now, like most of you know from my previous blog, we bought a little green farmhouse. Along with the house we bought a mouse problem and were soon to find out, a rat problem was well.
Before I get started I want to share an experience the Routleys are all fond of. A few years ago when we lived in Squamish, we baby-sat a friend’s pet rat, Perseus. He was a great little pet, we left his cage open and he would come and go as he pleased. He was litter trained and had great manners. He would even come out and sit on our laps, just like a cat. Smart little fellow. This experience started our affinity to rats.
As you read on, you may think us heartless but a wild rat is a completely different beast.
It began the very eve of our return from Mexico. Will gracefully carried me over the threshold (I imagined this bit) to our old, partially renovated house. As we looked around, all seemed well, the holes by the stove and dishwasher were still there, the soft spot in the corner of our bedroom, still there. All was how we left it, except for the suspicious box of granola bars in the entry…Within that very box we discovered 2 empty granola bar packs and a half empty pack, including chewed holes as entry points. The little devil (we were thinking a mouse) had chewed an area of the package and crawled in, to eat the rest. Clever little guy, gotta stay warm while you eat dinner… lunch … breakfast …secondsies and so on.
We found this kind of humorous but even more so was the little area Mr. Mouse had settled. The granola bars were on top of our booties and outdoor riding gear and within there hid Mr. Mouse, nestled under a booty. It was a cozy little joint if I do say so myself. He even gathered some lint from the washing room to make himself more comfortable. It was hilarious! The plush booties weren’t enough for this little guy?! Comfort must be a top priority for mice.
We had read that mice nest as close to their food source as possible. I think Mr. Mouse lucked out on that location.
Now mice, as destructive as they can be, are by no means scary. To some I suppose but not me. I grew up with mice. We would find a trophy mouse head from one of our cats or there would be a mouse crawling up our living room curtains to escape that cruel outcome. Wait, come to think of it, my mom was afraid of mice. Just like in the movies, she would be the one on the chair in the corner screaming something along the lines of “a mouse! (insert incoherent jibber/screeching) over there!” It’s hard to believe that a women who grew up watching pythons eat her chickens, could be so afraid of mice. I guess mice can be terrifying? I should get to the point. What I’m trying to say is that mice are nothing, when you’re comparing them to rats. Now before I go into details about our rat issue, we had been doing some research. The differences between rats and mice; where the live, how to catch them etc. And we discovered they are quite different. Mice are rather curious (they check out new things, like traps) and rats are very cautious (they avoid new things aka. trap dodgers.) Rats and mice will not occupy the same area and the scent of a rat will repel mice and actually stop their reproductive nature, apparently. Reading through these facts we were somewhat relieved but couldn’t shake the thought that we might have both mice and rats under one roof.
After a couple of nights, sleeping in the house, we started to hear grinding and biting noises in our closet. The sounds were NOT faint little scratches. I couldn’t sleep. It was like something was building a bloody village in our closet!
We set up mousetraps all over the house, hoping it was in fact a mouse. We caught 2 mice prior so it was a distinct possibility, but after the “mouse” had flipped 7 traps, we were at a loss. As we researched more, we realized that this was a smart and “cautious” rodent. We were worried. A rat infestation! Just imagine. The house was hardly big enough for us!
We prepared for the worst and bought rattraps. And have you ever seen one of those things? They’re humongous. Just setting them up is dangerous, they could easily break multiple bones in your hand.
Despite our efforts, the rattraps never actually trapped a rat. Now, I wasn’t home to experience the next set of events but I have first hand knowledge.
Will and his parents were busy renovating and the like, when they heard a trap go off in our stairwell. Will slowly opened the door to the stairs and there it was, the big-noisy-ass-rat, starring up at him! He assumed Mr. Rat must have flipped a mousetrap and was stunned because it just kept starring, in what must have been shock. Will went with his gut instinct and bent down to pick-up the 2x4 chunk of wood on the floor. Not truly thinking he could hit the rat, WHAMO! He nailed it! The rat sort of ran/fell down the stairs to his feet and he wacked it again.
One dead rat.
At least it was quick and relatively pain free. Will assured me Mr. Rat was dead on the first whack but that it was a reaction to hit him again. Will’s mom watched the entire show and was more than slightly traumatized. I’m glad I wasn’t there to see it.
But, I’m also glad I no longer have to worry about a giant rat crawling out from under my closet door and biting my nose off. Have you read stories about rats in the trenches during WW1?