My house is invaded by rats. I first saw one in my laundry room as it jumped off a shelf and ran behind the dryer. At first I thought it was my small tabby cat but then realized it was too small. Ever since I moved into my over a hundred year old house I worried a little about getting rats for some reason. Not much scares me not even a bear that I heard in my woods a few years ago, or bears I come across on my camping trips with my sisters.
The first rattlesnake I ever saw was on a hiking trail in Pennsylvania with my sister Elaine. It was a very, very long one and had a large swelling in its middle so apparently it had just had something to eat. Elaine and I walked up pretty close to it and then it slithered into the woods.
The next rattlesnake I saw was on a trail in Shenandoah National Park where we were backpacking on the Appalachian Trail. My sister and her son were ahead of me when I came `across Elaine sitting on a boulder. She said we couldn’t go on because there was a rattlesnake on the trail up ahead. It was a hot day and I was out of water and I wasn’t going to let the snake keep me from going to the next water source. So with my walking stick and my hiking shoes I stomped up close to it. They can’t hear, but they can feel the ground. It was shaking its rattling tail and I kept pounding the ground. Eventually, it slithered down the hill off the trail so we could move on.
The next day after I spied that small rat as I finished cleaning my bird cages and the cat’s litter box, I happened to notice something that looked like a gray rag near the cellar door. I reached down to pick it up and found out it was a dead rat. I quickly used an empty bread bag to pick it up and go outside to throw it in my garbage. It was then that I realized that my cat wasn’t over eating her food which is what I’d though because her dish was empty so often and she wanted more food three times a day. I also realized that’s why the bottom of the bag of cat food had small holes in it. I fed Brat Cat in the cellar way so Maggie, my collie wouldn’t eat her food. The next time I opened the cellar door, I saw a young rat run down the cellar steps.
I had been hearing sounds in my walls and I thought it might be a squirrel because once I had a squirrel who managed to get into my house before my son added on two rooms upstairs and all I had there was a small attic. I didn’t realize it was a squirrel until I found an acorn in my shoe and later an acorn under my pillow. I put out poison for the squirrel, too, much as I hated to do it, but at least he went off somewhere else to die.
My house is over a hundred years old. When I moved into it had a rather gross basement which only got worse as cracks in the floor appeared and muck seeps up when there’s been a lot of rain and spider webs everywhere. I used to work at keeping those swept down and the floor swept, too, until the cracks with stuff seeping through came in. It’s not so bad in the winter when the furnace is working, but we’ve had a lot of rain lately which has puddles on the floor, too.
The following day I bought a bag of rat poison and put it in a plastic container in the cellar way and moved the cat food dish upstairs for Brat Cat, or Pixie as my daughter Mary wants her called because she has a pixie face.
My son and daughter Sue wanted me to hire a rat exterminator. Sue’s husband talked to two farmers he works with and they said a black snake would be the best way to get rid of them. Well, I’m not afraid of snakes but I had no idea where to find a black snake. Besides after one finished eating all the rats what would I feed the black snake?
My daughter Sue called her brother and he gave her the name and number of a guy who called me the next day and we set up a time later that evening. Bill showed up about supper time and he told me the ivy around the bottom of my house was something that would bring rats. I wasn’t that sure of that because I’ve had ivy around most of my foundation for years and I’ve never had rats in my house before although I’ve seen some in my barn once in a while.
|The north side of my house with lots of hydranges|
I walked around the outside of my house with Bill as he looked it over and pointed out places where they might be getting in. After I went back in he went around the foundation and put down some kind of poison slabs of something I didn’t see what they looked like. Then he came in and we went down in the cellar. He insisted going first so if I slipped on the steps I’d fall into him. He’s a very nice guy. I showed him the other room down there where there’s a wall going part way up and it has dry lumpy soil down there. He told me that’s where they are living. He put some kind of rat poison down there, too, and when we got upstairs, he put some in places in the laundry room a little back beside the washing machine where the cat and dog won’t get it. He also mentioned that the rats are coming for the bird seed thrown out by my African ring-necked doves and my canary, Pavarotti, although they rarely throw any seeds out of their cages.
He told me if it started to smell pretty bad with the rats dying down there, to call him and he’d come to pick them up. He said I shouldn’t do it without rubber gloves because they carry diseases.
So after I paid him, I was feeling pretty good about the fact that soon all the rats would be gone although that evening as I was sitting in my nesting chair in the living room listening to music on my CD player and reading, I could hear some rustling in the wall between a book case and my piano. I figured it was one young rat that hadn’t yet eaten the poison.
The next morning I was awakened at 5:00 a.m. by lots of rattling around in my walls and under my bedroom floor above my library ceiling. Bill had asked for a large towel to put under the cellar door on both sides of it, and I gave him one that I use to wipe down Maggie if she’s been out in the rain. He said they can get through very small cracks because they can somehow disconnect their jaws and once they slip their heads through the body comes through.
I knew I had some mice because Brat Cat (Pixie) occasionally left a baby mouse in the living room in the night for me to find. There was never any part of it that she ate or any blood, so I picked it up with a paper towel and threw it into the garbage wastebasket under the sink.
I looked up rats in one of my nature books and out of the six rats shown, I figured my rats are Norway rats. I’m just hoping they all die soon even if they stink, although because I have sinus problems and can’t smell much anyways, I’ll just be glad they’re dead. Even if they smell eventually it will go away.
|Two of my three chickens in their run.|
The next day I heard no sounds of rats in the walls at all. Maybe they are all dead now.
I did find a large dead rat in the chicken stall in the barn. Bill had put some of the rat poison in the barn, too, in a stall full of junk where the barn cats can’t go and behind the bales of hay in a stall where I keep hay for my ponies. I haven’t found any more dead ones in the barn since. I’d never seen more than one rat other than one that was in the chicken stall and immediately ran back to the hole it came in through when I went in to gather eggs.
I downloaded pictures of rattlesnakes but the blogger wouldn't accept them.
Have you ever had rats in your house?
What about a barn or garage?