Rats!

For the last month or so, we’ve had a visitor in our garage.  A rodent has gotten in and eaten some birdseed by the gardening shelf.  And when I say birdseed I mean packets of soy sauce that my wife left out there from when she moved from her office.  When I go into the garage at night, right after I open the door and flip on the light I hear frantic scrabbling then silence.  This is probably the same for teachers who are coming into a high school classroom to find all the students seated in proper rows, their faces flushed and hair mussed.  After finding a few boxes of shredded heirlooms, old papers, and household goods, I decided I’d had enough, so I built this:

Is it a better mousetrap?  Hard to say since it hasn’t caught anything yet.  But since I took this picture I had to widen the entry aperture (technical term) once I saw the size of our garage visitor.  No, it’s not a little brown fieldmouse, it’s a sleek light grey rat the size of a ground squirrel.  It was a beautiful thing, running across the rafters in embarrassment at being seen.  I primed the trap with peanut butter, cornmeal, and a few raisins.  It’s a feast in there, so why isn’t the rat going in?  I suspect it’s either too smart or has been flushed out by this weekend’s massive box clean-out.  My wife and I found several boxes that had been defiled by nesting mice, and all the disturbance may’ve let the rat know that the jig’s up.  My wife’s anti-rodent plant was to leave the garage door open so the stray neighborhood cats could come in do their work.  But, after stepping in cat poop no less than four times this weekend, deposited by the aforementioned outside cats that use our entire property as a toilet, I’m not inclined to add cats to our garage problem.  Soon we’ll be letting dogs in to get the cats, wolves in to get the dogs, and bison to chase off the wolves.  Our garage will be the wild kingdom and still the rats will remain!

If my humane rat trap works, I’ll be relocating the little guy/gal to a nearby park, where it can rendezvous with other rats and lead them ALL back to our garage.  But let’s talk cats for a second.  If you own a cat you own a pet.  If you let your cat roam free because “that’s what cats want to do” then you don’t want a pet cat, you want to watch bobcats in the wild.  Go to the zoo.  Keep your cat inside.  Outside cats get in fights, get lice and rabies, harass baby bunnies and wildlife, poop everywhere, and yowl and screech during late-night lovefests and smackdowns.  I would rate outside cats a 0 out of 10 as a neighborhood amenity.  Other than the continued destruction of all our boxed goods in the garage, I think the rats score higher!

Writer, architect, father, husband.

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4 comments on “Rats!
  1. samantha says:

    Hey have you heard about the bucket trap? With water? I know it worked for mice but not sure about rats. Plus they drown, so maybe not the most humane…

  2. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the world around it but cats do not. They move to an area and they multiply and multiply until every available resource is consumed.

    There is only one lifeform that has successfully coerced another lifeform to provide it with shelter, food, water, and care yet provides nothing in return. The housecat.

    We are dealing with an errant mouse. What was their response to my humane trap (upside down glass, balanced on dime, baited at end with peanut butter)? Decorative piles of excrement and artistic urine swirls next to the trap. Message received, mice! So it’s on to Plan B: I must find a Large Roc.

    What you need is a blacksnake. We used to have one living under our house. No mice! Thanx, nature!

  3. I think that after all the destruction those little and big furry rodents created, that “humane” could possibly take on a new definition, nest pas?

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