Saturday, June 21, 2008

Party On, rattus rattus

omg baby chicken 1
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
The rats have migrated from the garage to the kitchen. This means, among other dismaying facts, that I constantly have UB40 in my head. It also means that the rats are growing fat, first on bread carelessly left out on the counter and now on the bait from the traps, which they pick off with scornful ease. Therefore I have to move to sterner stuff. I'm considering this little gem, which I found on (where else?) metafilter.I'm just not sure if a rat will fit through a paper towel tube and then, if it does, and I make it drop into the kitchen trash can half full of water, what happens the next morning when I'm confronted by either a drowned rat, or, infinitely worse, a drowning rat? I have no idea but I guarantee it won't be pretty.

A tougher friend from Florida, where they live amongst all kinds of horrible vermin like rats and palmetto bugs and members of the Bush family, said that I would have to just get mean and use either poison or the glue traps. I'm afraid of using poison because of the dogs (either they might get into it directly or what if they chew on a poisoned rat?) and glue traps are just so incredibly cruel. Back when I worked in a fabulous antebellum mansion in Baltimore, there were often mice in my office and the custodial staff would put out glue traps. Then sometimes I'd come in in the morning and there would be piteous mouse screams coming from a glue trap under my desk and then A (who was really good looking and also super sweet, so at least there was that consolation) from maintenance would come and just step on it. He was brisk and matter of fact about it, but still, that was horrible too. I have this idea that I could pick up the trap and put it behind the car and back over it, thus ending the whole trauma except for the cleaning rat guts off the driveway part but, honestly, I'm not sure I can even get close enough to rat in a glue trap to do that. And I have no backup, here: young M is off doing a George Orwell in Baltimore, which was supposed to make him appreciate the value of high school but which, infuriatingly, is only succeeding in making him announce that he loves Baltimore, where it is exciting. He also mentioned that he doesn't understand why I won't sign the papers to admit him to the Marine Corps on his 17th birthday in December. But that is yet another horrible traumatic tale I can't get into here because it just makes me want to take to my bed forever.

I confess: I have a rodent phobia. I can handle snakes - in fact, I handled one last night; the friendly guy with the friendly boa was at the Westville where I and 10 or so of my close friends and relatives had gone to lose miserably and shamefully at trivia - and bugs and lizards and pretty much anything, really, but mice and rats and squirrels and, embarrassingly, gerbils and hamsters freak me completely the fuck out. They. . . scurry. Those. . . teeth. The. . . tails. Aaaaaiiiiieeeeeeeee!! I'm getting chills all over just typing this and I want to hop up on my chair like the worst kind of stereotypical 1950s cartoon housewife and shriek like a proverbial little girl. Alas, this approach, while sort of entertaining, particularly in high heels, is fairly useless and I know this because I have tried it. So I don't really know what to do, short of just moving immediately to another country.

In other news, the QOB seems to be settling in fairly happily at my mothers. It's not a long term solution - as my brother said memorably, "The QOB has probably never even spoken to a Republican in her entire life. We can't lock her up with 1000 of them now." - but she's definitely getting better. I took her to an emergency dentist to get her dentures fixed (well, sort of - it's not perfect and I might have to take her back on Monday, which, since I don't much like dentists and sitting there while they work on my aunt is not much better than sitting there while they work on me - I mean, the whirring drill noises, eeee - is not a trip I'm really anticipating with glee if you know what I mean) yesterday and then we all came over to my house and drank some champagne on my back porch. The QOB brightened visibly at the sight of the champagne and thus you know she is improving by leaps and bounds. And the search for a house sort of goes on, not as fast as one would wish, because getting everyone in this family on the same page as far as what's going to happen eventually is damn near impossible. That said, oh Asheville blog readers, if you should in your travels come across a house for sale or rent in West Asheville that has either two apartments or a mother in law apartment or could conceivably be converted into such a thing with minimal trouble, please please let me know ASAP. Also, I will happily accept rat removal tips and tricks. Oh yes, I will.


Edgy Mama said...

We had a rat who would crawl through the dishwasher drain hole and arrive under the kitchen sink, where all the trash was stored. He would then have nightly gorging parties a la Templeton, before squeezing back out again. We tried traps and the bucket of water trick to no avail. Then someone told us we needed a bigger trap. So we bought a trap that looked big enough to kill a small raccoon, popped it under the sink slathered with a pound of peanut butter, and voila, the next morning, we had a dead rat. Who, while not precisely the size of a small raccoon was much larger than I'd imagined. Particularly given the size of the drain hole he was squeezing through.

arratik said...

Large rats can usually squeeze through holes the size of silver dollars. The last ones we had succumbed to a combination of bait traps and a few of these nasty looking things, strategically placed throughout the basement. Once the coast was clear, I stuffed copper mesh into as many entryways as I could find.

I did feel a little bad when I found the remains, but the way I see it, the last thing I'm going to do when an intruder finds his way into my house is try to trap him with a precariously balanced cardboard tube and let him loose in a nearby park, ya know?

skippy haha said...

do you know anybody with a big mean cat? the wnc nature center rent weasels? that snake at the westville pub? a hawk? an owl? there are definitely people in town who have these rat predators as pets, you could put an ad on craigslist. the toilet paper tunnel into bucket is a great tip.

haskell said...

Or if you have room for another dog, how about a Jack Russell or a rat terrier? It's what they were bred for, after all.

Edward said...

I've had pretty good luck with the no kill traps to catch them, then I take them for a ride in the car. Release them too close to home and they come back.

Lee H. said...

The glue traps gross me out, too. I don't recommend backing over it with your car, though... it and the rat would likely stick to your tire, and then you'd be back there chiseling glue and rat parts off the rubber. Yeesh.