I remember after we first moved here in the ’90s to our rural island home, a neighbour commented about problems she was having with rats. I said, touch wood, we didn’t seem to have any. She laughed and said, oh yes you do. You just don’t know it yet. She was right. But we managed to coexist with reasonable courtesy for the first 23 years, so I guess we were lucky. Then the tipping point came, and we were invaded. I have posted a pdf of the article I wrote for a magazine I edit, which is a morbidly humorous introduction to our particular scenario, if anyone is interested.
Otherwise, we can follow with tips and learning experiences…
To be specific about our scenario, we were dealing with our own home, which we thought was well sealed against mice and rats, so we got away with traps for the occasional intruder. But over time (and no doubt generations of knawing their way in), we found ourselves suddenly with a big problem. Fortunately we had just built separate and truly sealed off deep pantries, so our primary long-term food storage was safe, which was just as well, as we were using the big food-safe 5 gallon buckets with gamma-seal lids. Child’s play to a rat.
If like umaperegrina, you or your family have out-buildings, that’s a different scenario. If you can get a young and enthusiastic Jack Russell or other dog bred for ratting, it’s probably the least invasive solution. Poison is dangerous – rats and mice are food for practically everything else, so the poison moves all along the food chain and can be devastating. But of course, you can’t mix spring traps with cats or dogs, or they get injured too.
Check out the article, which lists a bunch of things we tried, and if you have any comments, suggestions, own experience or questions, bring them on. And thanks for sharing our interest (to put it politely…)
One more point relating to the information in the article – we discovered later that the reason the rats were so obsessed with our water pipes was because they were of a particular type in common use in the ’90s (and perhaps later, but not now in Canada), which were made of, among other things, vegetable oil. We don’t recall what they were called, but they looked like just common grey plastic water pipes. We didn’t have to replace the whole system, thank heaven, because the pepper spray seems to have put them off.
I wish this topic had to do with Charlie Brown’s response to Lucy and a football rather than icky shivery critters, but I’m grateful nonetheless! My daughter’s family lives on her husband’s family farm – the outbuildings had not been used for many years and rats had tunneled under the wonderful old barn. I had wondered about a rat terrier … seems like that could be a good addition to the arsenal. Thanks!
Funny I never had rats on my farm before but bam! They’re everywhere. Exterminator says nearby pond is the source. Ick!!!
Sabemenos – aquatic rats? I suppose they used to come off ships from all over, so they aren’t afraid of water. Do you know what kind they are? Hope they aren’t the big “norway” version – they seem more intimidating somehow. I guess they’re like lemmings – they go through population explosions. We need to help on the collapse… If you are going the exterminator route, how is he doing it?
He is gang trapping them. We keep our livestock feed secured so they’re not getting that. But they have tunneled into our 140 year old farmhouse and infested it. Strange. My family has lived here 100 years and this is the first. It’s like nature has gone crazy and risen up against us
Sabemenos – in your house? That’s horrible! We were able to keep our infestation to the basement/crawl space, which was bad enough. Yes – you really have to wonder why the sudden plague of rats now, after 100 years. Population pressures pushing them out of other areas perhaps? Anyway, not fun. I hope the trapping works, because they are unfortunately very intelligent about their own survival. Keep us posted please!