Pack Rats!!!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by countrygrrrl, Oct 10, 2004.

  1. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    And, no, I don't mean the human kind.

    :mad: :mad:

    When I first moved in here, I found pack rats living under the bathtub.

    :mad:

    Despite the little presents they kept leaving me (acorns, pieces of aluminum and whatnot), I chased them off. :yeeha:

    And I have managed to go almost three years now without a reappearance of pack rats anywhere near my home.

    Until now. :mad: I just did a perimeter check and found a dead pack rat.

    That won't do. :yeeha: Although fortunately, I found no other sign of their presence.

    How do I make sure they don't decide to move back in? BTW, there are no food sources outside, other than my veggie garden, which at this point has only tomatoes, basil, thyme and sage. The field across the road, however, is VERY unmowed and must be chest high. :no: Not my field but I'm sure that's contributing to their presence.

    In any case, how do I get the pack rats to stay away?? :mad:
     
  2. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

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    One word, Catzilla!
     

  3. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    :haha:

    Laura, I love cats, but I love my birds more. My place is like a wonderful sanctuary for all kinds of birds, especially this time of year, and I plan to keep it that way. So no cats. Ever.

    But chickens --- I forgot I'm supposed to have some chickens arriving pretty soon. ! Pretty well grown ones, too. Maybe they'll take care of the pack rats? :yeeha:
     
  4. Gayle in KY

    Gayle in KY Gadabout

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    You could get a Gila Monster or a Rattlesnake. Both of them eat packrats.

    No? How about trapping them and selling them as pets? Maybe toss some mothballs into their midden (midden is my new word for the day :) ). I'll keep searching...
     
  5. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Well, actually ... ::blushing:: ... I've been very lax about throwing mothballs under the place this summer and, truth be known ( ::moreblushing:: ) found the little darling :mad: while I was tossing some mothballs out, having suddenly remembered how lax I've been about it.

    :no:

    The skinks appear to have taken care of all the mice --- they eat baby mice and it's been a very, very, very long time since I've even seen a mouse. The rat snakes are all out in the fields and the barn --- they don't come in the yard much because my dogs are too obnoxious. I already have tiny lizards that I just adore :) , so no way for a Gila Monster! And I haven't seen a rattler here since my first summer here.

    But thanks for reminding me about the mothballs! They've worked wonderfully the past couple of years and it's my bad that I forgot them this year. :rolleyes:
     
  6. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Snakes cg.... ssssnakes. :) Leave them alone, and they'll come home, wagging their tails behind them (what is it I'm quoting????). Cause they'll have their bellies full of packrats.
     
  7. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    You know ... it strikes me that I've seen many fewer rat snakes this year than usual. It's also been much cooler than normal. Hmmmmm.

    Gayle, BTW, your link is great. Everyone around here has problems with pack rats --- and some are determined to find their stash because they're so certain the little fellows have been going into everyone's homes and stealing jewelry for years upon years upon years. :haha:

    One fellow swears the pack rats stole his hammer and he wants it back! :D
     
  8. Gayle in KY

    Gayle in KY Gadabout

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    Countrygrrrl, here's another site. I think it's hilarious, although too 'PETA-correct' for my tastes. It's, actually, the site that gave me the idea to capture and sell the little darlings.

    Don't neglect to close up their entries, with hardware cloth (I guess that means screen), once you have them gone and, if you have any mess to clean up, wear a mask and gloves while working. Be safe.
     
  9. Gayle in KY

    Gayle in KY Gadabout

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  10. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Packrats! Yech! They can really create a nasty mess. Hope you get rid of them soon.

    A funny:

    A few yrs ago I took the greyhound from nw colorado to austin texas to visit my mom and help her after her heart surgery. She left me a key to her townhouse apt so I could get in (she was already in the hospital). I searched and searched for that key and could not find it. I finally got to a phone and called her. She swore it was in a particular hanging pot of fern. 'There was nothing there but a pecan', I said. 'Durn squirrells', was her reply.

    Key never did turn up.
     
  11. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    :haha: :haha: Cyngbaeld, that's how it is around here. People have terrible times with them and, I'm telling you, I found acorns and little pieces of metal and aluminum everywhere when I first moved in, esp. under the bathtub where they were living. :na: Pesky little devils!

    Well, now I'm on the hunt to find out if they eat tomatoes. :mad: I've been happily sharing the tomatoes with the birds, but just went out to pick some ... and something went tearing out of them 100 MPH.

    :mad: And it wasn't a bird. :mad:

    Given we're cooling down, it may be time to take the tomatoes down. Boy, I hate doing that, though! But if I have to, I will, because I'm thinking that's why the pack rats are coming around all of a sudden --- that and fewer rat snakes.
     
  12. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Pack rats, also known as woodrats, are chiefly nocturnal, but occasionally seen in the day. While they are agile climbers, their nests are usually at ground level. One animal may have several dens. Their food is generally determined by what is available locally, and can eat just about anything, including grass, leaves, fruits, nuts, bulbs, dry seeds, bark and fungi. They may also be attracted to people food. If they nest in buildings, their trails are usually quite evident from their nest to feeding areas. Their nests are usually constructed of twigs and are easy to spot if they are under porches or in crawl spaces. Their access to buildings is usually above ground level, so check the eaves and roof for entry points. Ordinary wooden rat snap traps work well. Use dried prunes, raisins or nuts tied to the trigger. Live traps, like the Tomahawk #102 or the Havahart #1025 are also effective.
     
  13. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Thanks, gobug. There's no evidence of a nest in and around my yard area --- but I have a VERY wild hollow I've been cleaning out which is housing all sorts of critters, including a family of beaver (I'm right off a river), a fox and rumor has it --- little black bears. !

    There's also a burn pile over in a side pasture which I left be because there were bunnies in it. I bet the pack rats MAY have moved in there.

    I think I'm going to have to take my tomatoes down early. :waa: :waa: Darn.
     
  14. sidepasser

    sidepasser Well-Known Member

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    Hi Countrygirrrrrrrl...(is that enough r's?)

    If you had a cat (I know, big if, right?) you could do what I have done and put a collar with a bell on it so the birds would know it's around...of course that kinda defeats the purpose of having a rat cat doesn't it???

    Oh well, I bought these cool little mouse traps at Home Depot (I know, supporting big business, but what's left around here??)...they aren't the regular wooden kind of mouse traps, but are a plastic v shaped trap, and boy are they great...bait them the same as a regular mousetrap, but just sit them down next to a wall, and push down on the top of the v and it sets. No more pulling back the little wire thing that always seems to know when I'm not paying attention and SNAP, right on my finger...

    These kind of traps catch the tiniest mice up to larger mice, but won't work for a RAT sized rodent,,,but then again, if you catch 'em young...

    I've pretty well tamed the rodent population around here along with Lucy, the rat terror and Mr. Biggs the now, sometimes, rat catcher...for some reason, he's been a slacker lately. Oh well, can't beat a rat terrior for hunting mice, at least Lucy's reliable.

    Sidepasser
     
  15. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I forgot to add that they reproduce slowly compared to mice, and live alone except when mom has a litter of 4 or 5. So unlike mice, when you see one, that may be it. One of the large wooden rat traps will break your finger if you're not careful.
     
  16. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

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    Now Countrygirrrrrrrrrrrl, from one packrat to the other, you could do some tradin' there with them critters and make out pretty good. You may end up with your neighbor's hammer and a few more shiney baubles that haven't been missed yet.

    A few years back, (quite a few) a city friend slapped a bee and lost his expensive watch down a crevasse in the rock. Being the city type, he was opposed to climbing down the cliff to see if it could be retrieved. I couldn't let it go so a couple of days later, after the city friend went back to the city, I meandered down a ledge along the face of the cliff to find the bottom of the deep black hole.

    Dang! I got down there, and just out of my reach, was a treasure trove of lost stuff with a big ol' packrat sittin' right in the middle of it all. I suspect the rat just moved in instead of trying to haul all that stuff back to a nest. He sat there and waited for stuff to fall from heaven.

    For a pocketfull of sunflower seeds and a few raisins, I came out of the deal with 2 shiney watches, a diamond earring, 65 cents and a 22 rifle. After that, I visited my furry friend in the side of the cliff every fall after the tourists went home. I always took him a good stash of winter fat and protein and he gave me the summer's bounty of lost stuff. It was always worthwhile but never as profitable as that first meeting.

    The moral of this true story is ....uhhh.... I dunno, but there is one...somewhere......Oh.... never pass by the opportunity to fetch a bargain, even if you're dealing with rats.
     
  17. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Hehe, Laura! :haha: There's one guy down the road determined to find their stash. He's sure he could live off the proceeds of selling it off. :haha:

    Gobug! You mean, I may have just found the end a a pack rat dynasty? :waa:

    Well, at least that means I can keep my tomatoes up a little while longer. Maybe. Except there was that mysterious critter that raced out of them earlier today. :no:
     
  18. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ..............Remember , gay rats like strictly...Pink traps, and they become more pliable when listening to Van Cliburn and Mozart in D minor...fordy... :eek: :)
     
  19. Gayle in KY

    Gayle in KY Gadabout

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    Uh, countrygrrrrrrrrrrrl, you DO know that skunks LOVE tomatoes, right?
     
  20. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    :eek: Skunks? :eek:

    You know ... ::lightbulb:: I just remembered that, early this morning, I saw the little Aussie from across the road taking off from my side pasture with a pack-rat sized critter in his mouth.

    ::lightbulb::

    The *incident* was close by enough that, had he mortally injured (but not killed) the critter, the pack rat COULD have escaped the jaws of the ferocious Aussie ( :haha: ) and made it to the side of my place ... which would explain why I found him very, very recently dead.

    ::mysteryofpackratdeathmaybesolved:: :yeeha: