Monday, May 07, 2007

Rats!

One of the advantages of living in the countryside is watching all the wildlife right on your doorstep. One of the disadvantages is when the wildlife crosses your doorstep and comes right inside your house.

We've heard scrabbling and gnawing sounds from the space in between the downstairs ceiling and the upstairs floor for the last couple of nights. Ed went out and got a few traps (the old-fashioned Tom and Jerry type), but we're not sure where to put them to best effect.

I'll keep you posted about our progress in getting rid of these pests. In the meantime if anyone has any experience or tips we'd be glad to hear them.

15 comments:

Bill of Ballaugh said...

I'm often troubled the same way. The most effective placement I've found is against a wall AND inside lengths of plastic tubing about 18" to "24" long. You can often find such scraps near,or on, building sites. It seems that mice don't like open spaces so the middle of the room is no good. Over here you can also buy a sort of fruity teabag, very fragrant, which you can use instead of a trap but, I suppose, these mightn't be so good among children. Talking about wildlife,, I'm looking out of my study window while typing this and, lying under a cross-member of the fence at the bottom of the haggard, and with its butt firmly pressed against an upright, is a really plump hare taking in the sun with its eyes firmly closed. Could it be using the fence to shelter from the wind? It's no more than 20 feet from where I'm sitting. God, but I love living here.

Anonymous said...

While cartoon mice like cheese, real world mice prefer peanut butter, and really looooove chocolate. (Hey, at least they have good taste.)

Smash a small amount of peanut butter firmly into the trigger. You want the mouse to have to work hard to get at it. If it's too easy, he'll lick it off and leave the trap unsprung.

If you really want to tempt the little varmint, put a chocolate chip on top.

-Nerd In The Country

Alec said...

I concur; peanut butter is the best bait, and because it's sticky it can't be nicked without springing.

Gid said...

Would you like to borrow one of my cats?.. they're all specialist killers.. Brenin's field of interest is squirrels and wood-pigeons, Arian tends towards birds and smaller rodents like mice and voles, and Gronw is an out-and-out ratter..

Anonymous said...

I agree with Bill, the countryside is a place of wonders. My mum's house, where I grew up, backs on to miles of farmland, and we had (and still have) daily visitors from a family of ducks, a mating pair of pheasant, blackbird, bat, stoat and heron, et al. Also hedgehog, although my mum did manage to tead on this whilst running in with the washing recently...

re rats, however, if we're trying to be eco-friendly, shouldn't we be trying to do this to all our furry friends, not just the pretty ones?? All of us (I suspect) would count ourselves as 'animal lovers' yet we seem to have a blind spot when it comes to 'vermin', which we're quite at ease just to hit with a brick! The definition of vermin seems a little loose, however, being 'anything inconvenient to a human and not cuddly enough to keep as pet'. So we put mouse traps down, farmers shoot foxes, we wholly exterminate the Thylocine etc, etc and etc. I've kept cats for 10 years, which have caused far more damage to my home and possessions than any furry intruder, yet I merrily feed them twice day......

I think we also need to remember, with our ever increasing urban sprawl, that it's us that have invaded their environment, not the other way around. All they are trying to do is eek (sorry, couldn't resist that one!) out an existence in the only way that they know how.

So on behalf of our nameless and whiskery cousins, can anyone suggest any humane ways of ridding ourselves or disuading any uninvited guests?

Andrew

Anonymous said...

Further to my previous, a quick 60 second squint of the internet has found dozens of companies who sell humane traps, and, more importantly, ways of repelling those unwanted fuzzy visitors.

There are loads repellants that use ultrasound rather than poison, humane glue traps and specialist companies who will advise on how to rodent-proof your house. Repellants start at only about £14, and would be much safer, I would have thought, in a house with kids, either than putting down poison or spring-loaded traps for little fingers to find.

So if anyone has unwelcome footsteps in the attic (assuming that it isn't burglars!) then please please please save all the envirmonment, not just the cuddly bits!!

Andrew

Anonymous said...

Humane glue traps?

Glue traps are the least humane rodent traps available. The mouse gets stuck and panicks. There is no way to remove the critter, either. I tried, but only ended up breaking a leg.

Better to use a snap trap and get it over with quickly.

billy said...

The countryside?
I'm one mile from the city centre and regularly shoot rats in the garden. When I get to six in a fortnight I call the ratcatcher and then we don't see any for a few months.

Stephanie said...

We are constantly battling mice here. A friend told us that the ultrasound things work for him. I think I'm trying that next.

Anonymous said...

Hello from Swansea :)

We get mice, but no rats. The mice are bad enough. Friends have trouble with rats, which scare even friends' troublesome moggies who love a scrap. Putting poison down would be a problem because they have young kids. I'll ask what they do.

Mice I can deal with (we mostly use humane "catch them in a box" traps baited with Coco Pops and then take the offending animal a long way away - the neighbours would probably not appreciate dumping it next to them!) but if I suspected rats I'd be straight onto the council. I've rung them before and our council's pest control people are pretty helpful. As for "but they are our furry friends", I don't let my non-furry friends shit on my food, either.

bill's comment about traps inside piping sounds a brilliant idea.

T

lilymarlene said...

I stay regularly with my mother and last summer was kept awake by scrabbling sounds from the ceiling above my room. I phoned the council and they came next day and dealt with the problem. It was rats. They went away.
I know they are pensioners but I think most councils will get rid of vermin for free....!

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