Rat in the house... any ideas?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by steve-in-kville, Dec 15, 2005.

  1. steve-in-kville

    steve-in-kville Raised Bed Artist

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    From the looks of things, we have a rat in the house. We thought it was a few mice... I set mouse traps (both snaps and stickies) and we find the snap-traps sprung in the morning and the stickies are not being touched. My wife and her mom are convinced its rats... every night this week some rodent got ahold of my baby daughter's bottle and chewed the nipples all up.

    I went to the farm supply store and bought some real rat traps plus the super-sized stickies. Any other ideas in case this doesn't work?? Remember, De-Con bait can't be used since the rodents will eat the stuff and crawl into the wall and die (and then I have to smell that for two weeks... trust me, I know!!).

    Suggestions appreciated!!

    steve
     
  2. DixyDoodle

    DixyDoodle stranger than fiction

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    IMO, stickies are useless. When you say REAL rat traps, you're talking about the snap ones? Be careful if you are using them around children.

    Something else that works....the metal humane (eg. Hav-A-Hart) traps. The rat walks in, grabs the bait and the doors on each end close, trapping him inside. So if he's in far enough to spring it, he ain't gettin' back out! ;) What you do with him at that point is up to you....most people in my area take the whole trap and sink it in a barrel of water for half an hour. So much for being humane, huh, but it beats seeing rat legs, etc, bloodying up the basement. I would say that a quick drowning is better than dying slowly over the course of hours, in any case, if that kind of thing bothers you.

    I would never use poison. Not only can the rat die in your walls, but it could die in the yard and be ingested by pets or other creatures.

    My opinion is that I try to be as humane as possible, but if it came down to a rat coming into my baby's room or chewing on wiring or other potentially dangerous stuff, that rat is GONE in whatever fashion works.

    Oh, and cheese is not the best bait for mice or rats, forget those cartoons! LOL Better if you use peanut butter or something like that....my BIL even used weiners! But I found the peanut butter was very attractive to them.

    Hope that helps!

    DD

    PS> I happened to look out at the bird feeder this morning and was dismayed to see a good-sized rat pigging out under it, in the daylight, no less! Putting my trap out there tonight. >:)
     

  3. bob clark

    bob clark A man's man

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    :viking: :viking: KILL IT :viking: :viking:
     
  4. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    my house is a conglomeration of add-ons with a small dirt floor cellar for the furnace and crawl space under the rest. we have had rats from time to time (they seem to be tunneled in fairly well. i swear there is a network of tunnels under the concrete patio between this house and an older log home with a stone root cellar).

    i suggest you find a way to secure the trap so the rat cannot drag it away. i had one take a trap into a wall in the basement. he musta been a trophy.

    and peanut butter works good as bait.

    when i was a kid, my dad ran around the house with a shoe after a critter woke my sister in the night. he cornered and wacked it good...he was nearly heartbroken to see he had killed a flying squirrel. we do not see to many of them. i saw one in my basement just a few weeks ago.
     
  5. frogmammy

    frogmammy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My mice didn't like peanut butter. They like grapes..catch a mouse within 5 minutes of setting a trap with a partially eaten grape.

    Mon
     
  6. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Rats are usually much more suspicious than mice of new things in their territory, so it often takes more time to lure them to a trap, glue board, or bait station. Rats are strong enough to wedge a glue board against something and pull free, so you would need glue boards designed for them instead of mouse size glue boards.

    Look for droppings. The size will tell you if you have rats. They are much larger than mouse droppings. Rats like to carry their food to a hidden corner to eat whereas a mouse will nibble wherever they find food. Rats also need a daily drink of water. Control the water and you will make their life tougher and your job easier.

    Rats are large enough that when a poison kills them they will stink for longer than 2 weeks.

    Look for the food supply and control it. If they are dining and drinking on your pet foods, eliminate their access by picking up the pet food shortly after you feed your pets. The pets will quickly adapt and eat what you feed them as soon as you put it down. Put your bulk into rat proof containers.

    They are living somewhere near the food. Find their pathways. This is important. Once the problem is solved, eliminate the harborages. Rats are attracted to baby formulas. They might even get in the crib with the baby at night. Take action now. Figure out how they are getting to the bottles and surround the path with the glue boards. Some people don't like them, but they can work quite well if used intelligently. Persevere.

    Good Luck
    Gary
     
  7. DixyDoodle

    DixyDoodle stranger than fiction

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    LOL

    Steve, also: rats can jump quite far....not as far as a squirrel, mind you, but it would have no problem in jumping over your glue traps.....or into the baby's crib!

    Obviously, you should also be looking around and seeing where the rats are getting in. If you don't take care of the access, you will just keep getting more pests. Check inside and outside your building. Rats can squeeze through a hole less than an inch in diameter, so look closely.

    Gary, I've had mice drag the traps away also! We just secure them with a long piece of twist tie, but yeah, for a rat it'd better be unchewable.

    DD
     
  8. ihedrick

    ihedrick Can't stop thinkin'

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    ...become a cat horder??? :shrug:
     
  9. jersey girl

    jersey girl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Peppermint is a good way to keep them out. Any rodent is allergic to it. I made a basic soap and loaded it with peppermint oil, cut into small pieces and threw them all around under house. You could also use oil on cotton balls. Be sure to use the pure oil and not cooking oil. Somehow they can tell the difference.
    The great thing about this idea, it's not harmful to cats or dogs and you don't have to mess with the trap or smushed rat.
     
  10. Ozarks_1

    Ozarks_1 Well-Known Member

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    If all else fails, you could do what a buddy of mine did after trying everything else and nothing worked. The rat would show up at night while he was watching TV and sit beside the TV watching him.
    Finally, he'd had enough. So, one night as the rat was watching him, he slowly, calmly, and carefully picked up his .44 Magnum revolver ... and blew that sucker away! :clap:
    ("Go ahead, make my day.")

    Do you suppose there was a reason my buddy was called "Crazy George"?
     
  11. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    What about the bucket half full of water with a walkway to the top edge as posted somewhere else on the board?

    One poster said to put sunflower seeds on the top of the water as bait, but you might want to float a layer of baby formula or milk, as it seems that's what is attracting him.

    I'm really trying NOT to panic about a rat possibly attacking your child as he/she sleeps.

    Rose
     
  12. bretthunting

    bretthunting Well-Known Member

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    DD had 1 in her room a year ago, i used one of thase large rat traps (looks like a giant mouse trap) and peanut butter, set the trap at night and had the rat the next morning.
     
  13. ceresone

    ceresone Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I used to have a daughter that had the same problem.
    she waited till the kids were all in bed, and house was quiet. when she heard the rat on the counter, she peeked around the corner with her 22 rifle. aimed carefully, shot, rat jumped--and she blew her toaster to h---! other daughter wrote a poem about it!!
     
  14. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    we get black snakes from time to time. the entryway had water damage a few years back. there weas a small hole in the corner of the door frame above a crwal space that is very shallow and near impossible to "crawl" to. i was coming down the stairs and my last step was lengthened when i saw a black snake very my foot wanted to be. the entry door was open, and not wanting to kill an ally in the fight against rats, i chased it towards the doorway. it decided to go down that hole instead of outside. i stood there and watched, kinda bummed, and it poked out its head. it sat there with its head out of the hole and that was it. i kept trying to scare it outside somehow but it just stayed in the hole with its head out "hissing". after about three rounds of the head going in and out i realized the snake was home and was defending its hole. now i am friendly with black snakes, even in the attic or basement. the home by the doorway was too much so i grabbed the 22 and waited until the head poked out again. i put one in his head and he disappeared into the hole never to be seen again. this year i caught and released one of his relatives in the same little hallway and another one on my kitchen stove.
     
  15. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Rats can jump 18-24 inches, and climb just about anything. When it comes to placing the glue traps for rats, several are needed close together. The glue can be purchased in a gallon bucket and it is easy to make your own. A shingle of chunk of plywood work great.

    Rats can get through a quarter sized hole, or through a 3/8 inch slot (like under the door or siding).

    Mice can occasionally get free from a glue board, but studies have shown the event is so tramatic, they usually die from the experience. I have had snakes and birds get caught on them as well. I even had a flicker woodpecker get stuck. I slowly removed each stuck bird part until it was free and it flew away. They're so destructive I wouldn't have minded if it died, but the customer was so upset that I had to let it go. Glue boards also work well as a indicator for bugs. In USDA facilities I had to log anything captured.
     
  16. RedneckPete

    RedneckPete Well-Known Member

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    Nail 1 1/4 inch finishing nails up through the trap just INSIDE the line made the snap bar. Space them about a 1/2 inch apart. Sharpen them with a file once they are sticking up and in place.

    Then fasten down the trap. The trophy ones won't get away anymore.

    Pete
     
  17. Pony

    Pony STILL not Alice Supporter

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    I used to train rats for psychology experiments. They are VERY smart. I loved to handle them and train them and play with them and carry them around with me.

    That said, I am TOTALLY SKEEVING OUT at the thought of wild rats loose in the house!

    <shudder>

    When it comes to mice, we've had a lot of luck with the aluminum traps that they get stuck in. I imagine a rat's natural curiosity will make it HAVE to look in that trap. You can get them in rat size at Farm and Fleet or TFS.

    Good luck!

    Pony!
     
  18. steve-in-kville

    steve-in-kville Raised Bed Artist

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    Thanks for the replies. I had something get caught in a big rat stickie last night and managed to pull out of it. None of the spring traps were touched. All bait was intact. I'm tempted to try the box trap idea... then I know I have 'em.

    steve
     
  19. littlebitfarm

    littlebitfarm Scotties rule! Supporter

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    I baited the rat trap with a dog biscuit that had bacon grease on it. Wired the dog biscuit on with a couple baggie twists. Then tied the trap down , so it didn't get dragged.

    Kathie
     
  20. DixyDoodle

    DixyDoodle stranger than fiction

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    Oh yeah, good idea! I forgot about bacon! That stuff works good, too. I used to just dip a cottonball in bacon grease.

    Steve, the box works great but it will cost you $30 or so for the trap. Worth every penny though. It's safe around kids and not messy. The only thing is, you have to administer the 'final moments' yourself. Since the trap is initially open at both ends, the rat thinks that it's not a confining space and can get out easy, so they aren't so leery of going in. Once they hit that trigger in the center though, bang, closed on both ends. Leave it lengthwise up against the wall, rats and mice tend to make their paths along them....and be patient, it might take a few nights until the rat is used to it as being a piece of the usual furniture.

    Good luck, I hope you catch him! Oh, and don't forget to reset the trap when you do, in case there is more than one!

    DD