Normally we keep our rat relationships under wraps. Anyone who has endured the rat-in-residence gets challenged and frustrated by this smart visitor: Will he leave? Will he die here? And what do we do?
For a couple months, our own “Mickey” would pitter-patter all night long. Eventually he passed away, replaced by “Minnie” shortly thereafter. While it’s been quiet here, other Montclarions aren’t that fortunate.
Recently, a handful of neighbors shared rat travails on the Montclair SIC message board. We decided it would be useful to pass along their advice, summarized in these Top-Ten Montclair Rat Tips:
1. Call Rat Patrol
“After being awakened at night several times, I paid the Rat Patrol to come out, plug the holes and set traps in both my crawl space and in the attic. He came back a few times to check things. It’s been several months and I’ve had no rats ‘inside.’ He has a two-year warranty.”
2. Use The D-Con
“I used to use D-Con when we had rats or mice, but our rats (one each time, two separate occasions) liked it so much here that they didn’t leave in search of water (it makes them thirsty) as they are supposed to – oh, no, they died inside the wall, and do they ever stink!”
3. Welcome Flies
“Now I know what flies are for: the maggots consume all the flesh, and then the smell goes away. But it was kind of gross having to get rid of the flies in the stairwell with a vacuum, and yes, there were that many.”
4. Watch The Pets
“There is another concern about using D-Con, or any poison. If the rat, mouse, gopher, whatever, goes outside to die, it may be eaten by someone’s cat or dog. Then that animal either gets very sick, or dies.”
5. Try Dry Ice
“Get dry ice and put it in their burrows to suffocate them and the dry ice will dissipate without danger to any other animals. Dry ice is heavier than air and will push out the oxygen. When caught in a high CO2 atmosphere, they just pass out and die.”
6. Engage Your Traps
“We do the best we can to keep them out, but they still manage to sneak in every now and then. We keep a trap permanently set in our crawl space and catch one every couple of weeks.” (Some neighbors use special electronic traps.)
7. Feed Birds, Not Rats
“I too have rats in my basement, especially when I was feeding my birds. Now I try to feed them on demand and do not have any seed out at night which the rats love.”
8. Honor Birds Of Prey
“Also, we have lots of hawks/birds of prey around here who will eat rats. It’s bad enough that a bunch of punk kids up on Magellan shot and killed a resident Red Shoulder Hawk last year.”
9. Control The Plants
“I also have ivy and I have black berry.” One possibility is to keep these plants under control, as they attract vermin visits.
10. Plug With Abandon
“The most important thing, as others have said, is seal up all holes. There is a great fluffy spray just like shaving cream and that is great for plugging up plumbing holes, etc.”
So what’s missing? We thought that feline ownership would surely make the list. After all, cats are programmed to pounce on our favorite vermin and present them as gifts. While some creatures follow their instincts more than others, any rat-catcher goes a long way. Natch, that kitty is a commitment.