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Oh, Rats!

plantdude

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This is a little off topic from tobacco, but I've noticed other people have posted threads on rat problems in the past. I usually don't have issues with trapping them but this year I've wound up with an especially smart rodent(s) that has got into the garage and proceed to eat a hole in the wall and spit out large amounts of insulation. Judging by the size and copious amounts of turds it leave everywhere there appears to be at least 1 fairly large rat. I've tried mouse traps, rat traps, sticky traps, and even the careful use of poison (contained and inside the garage with the garage remaining shut except to pull the car in or out). I've used cheese, cracked corn, peanut butter, and honey roasted peanuts for bait (which usually works very well in the backyard) but haven't even gotten a sprung trap yet. I've got an indoor cat, but she wouldn't know what to do with a rat.

This rat is doing some damage and I'm concerned it may eventually make its way up into the attic, which worries me since I replumbed the hot water lines in our house with PEX (plastic tubing rodents are known to chew through occasionally). I also kiln my tobacco in the attic and don't want the rat up there smoking my tobacco:)
Does anyone have any tips for baits or traps or even poison for hard to kill rats (i.e. rats more intelligent than myself)? Unfortunately shooting them isn't an option in the garage - this rat has been smart enough to not show itself regardless of the time I go out there anyway.
 

plantdude

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Wire a fresh, gummy bear to the bait arm of a clean rat trap.

Bob
I put a strawberry flavored fruit gusher (flavored gelatin snack) on there since I'm currently lacking a gummy bear. I'll try a gummy bear next time we make it to the store. Our small town is is currently getting walloped by corona and going by the official numbers we look to be in the midst of the log growth stage. Face masks are mandatory in our stores and I don't want to wear one so i'll be waiting on the wife to go to the store again.
 

GreenDragon

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Nutella has always worked for me on stubborn rats. Used cooking oil mixed with Hershey's syrup is also good. Rats are like us, they like fats and sugars. They also develop patterns on when and where they look for food, and frequently forage across several houses on a rotating basis, so it may only be hitting your house 2 days out of the week. I'd sprinkle some flour near the hole and check it frequently for paw prints to see when it likes to visit.
 

plantdude

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Nutella has always worked for me on stubborn rats. Used cooking oil mixed with Hershey's syrup is also good. Rats are like us, they like fats and sugars. They also develop patterns on when and where they look for food, and frequently forage across several houses on a rotating basis, so it may only be hitting your house 2 days out of the week. I'd sprinkle some flour near the hole and check it frequently for paw prints to see when it likes to visit.
The Nutella will be next in line after the fruit gusher sits for a day. I repositioned the trap between the wall and lawn mower along its main run so hopefully that will get it. I'm seeing new wall insulation scattered near its hole everyday so I get the impression it's living in there. I know our chickens are probably drawing them in. I've killed a few in our woodpile and I know we have some that occasionally hang out under the bags of cans that are waiting to be recycled on the side of the house. Time to get more traps I suppose.
 

plantdude

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You don't want to force him to chew new holes, but you can stuff holes with steel wool to limit his movements.
My fear is that he is in there and the steel wool would make him go up into the attic or cause even more damage if I blocked his way out.
The last time this happened I used poison and the rat died in the interior wall between the garage and family room. Smelled a little ripe for a few days. I filled that hole in with expanding foam once the smell started to go away, I'll probably do the same with this hole once I kill the rat.

This is one of the drawbacks of having chickens - the feed attracts all sorts of critters. We used to get an occasional mouse in the garage. Once we fenced in the yard and got chickens, the rats and mice quickly followed.
 

plantdude

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Have you positively ruled out flying squirrels?
Not entirely:). My wife does have a "pet" squirrel though. It will stare in the kitchen window in the mornings and follow her out when she feeds the chickens. It will even get down on the ground and come within a few feet of her to beg for food. The squirrel won't do that with anyone else in the house, just her. It thinks she is the food lady I guess.

Of course that means the squirrel has free reign to eat the apples and chew up the cucumbers too... Oh well, keeps the wife happy.
 

GreenDragon

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Growing up my mother raised several litters of orphaned squirrels. Lots of owls and hawks that got the mothers. Anyway, she would raise them and then rehabilitate them back into the wild. I thought it was normal to be able to go in the yard and call a squirrel down to come sit on your shoulder and eat a ritz cracker! We had a mailman for years that brought one of the the squirrels a cracker every day. It would wait by the mailbox for him.
 

plantdude

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If you’ve got chickens you’re always going to have rats. Here is my anti-rat arsenal.
Nice.
I was out there this spring with a pellet gun before it got too buggy out. I don't know if it was a coincidence but every time i went out with a gun one of the neighbors would go out in his backyard that backs up to the corner of mine. I know he is always yelling at the neighborhood kids when he sees a BB gun. Shooting at the ground under the raised chicken coop with two fences between us would be zero likelihood of hitting his property, but I figured it would be best to avoid any confrontations since we are in city limits and the law would be on his side.
Going outside anywhere near sundown this time of year is just too mosquitoey or I would love to be out there since the trees have leaves and block the neighbors view now. Even standing outback on the screened in porch in the evening trying to enjoy a cigar requires perpetual motion with the handheld bug zapper to keep the mosquitoes at bay though. I can put up with the heat and humidity, but the mosquitoes get to be a little too much sometimes.
 
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poppins

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This is a little off topic from tobacco, but I've noticed other people have posted threads on rat problems in the past. I usually don't have issues with trapping them but this year I've wound up with an especially smart rodent(s) that has got into the garage and proceed to eat a hole in the wall and spit out large amounts of insulation. Judging by the size and copious amounts of turds it leave everywhere there appears to be at least 1 fairly large rat. I've tried mouse traps, rat traps, sticky traps, and even the careful use of poison (contained and inside the garage with the garage remaining shut except to pull the car in or out). I've used cheese, cracked corn, peanut butter, and honey roasted peanuts for bait (which usually works very well in the backyard) but haven't even gotten a sprung trap yet. I've got an indoor cat, but she wouldn't know what to do with a rat.

This rat is doing some damage and I'm concerned it may eventually make its way up into the attic, which worries me since I replumbed the hot water lines in our house with PEX (plastic tubing rodents are known to chew through occasionally). I also kiln my tobacco in the attic and don't want the rat up there smoking my tobacco:)
Does anyone have any tips for baits or traps or even poison for hard to kill rats (i.e. rats more intelligent than myself)? Unfortunately shooting them isn't an option in the garage - this rat has been smart enough to not show itself regardless of the time I go out there anyway.
Make sure its a clean trap, they can smell dead rat if you have used it before. Tie fresh cooked chicken skin or meat onto trap we caught heaps as they were fighting over it.
 

plantdude

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Plan D. Move to Alberta. We don't have rats.
Just moose! It'd be my luck one or more of those would take up residence in my garage:)

I finally saw the little bugger tonight, big grey rat and I'm pretty sure there was at least one other on the other side of the garage. I'm not sure but I feel free pretty certain it was was flipping me the bird before it scurried off.
I've heard the fox calling outside our fence the last few nights so hopefully they take a few of the rats out that are running through the alley.

What a weird year. Virus lockdowns, rats, rabbits (which we seldom get in the yard), late hailstorms, we even have had a flea infestation this year which is a first for us.
 

plantdude

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Growing up my mother raised several litters of orphaned squirrels. Lots of owls and hawks that got the mothers. Anyway, she would raise them and then rehabilitate them back into the wild. I thought it was normal to be able to go in the yard and call a squirrel down to come sit on your shoulder and eat a ritz cracker! We had a mailman for years that brought one of the the squirrels a cracker every day. It would wait by the mailbox for him.
Our local vets (they are a married couple) do the whole squirrel rehabilitation thing too and have pet squirrels running around their back yards. I guess they used to be pretty common pets. One of Benjamin Franklins old letters mentioned how his niece was heart broken that her pet squirrel had died.
Years ago we had a group of baby squirrels get into our garage. We didn't know it until one of them got into the house. My wife called me at work to come home because something was behind the liter box in the laundry room and making scary noises at her. I got home and used a stick to move the litter box and the baby squirrel went shooting out into the garage. They do sound pretty ferocious when they are cornered:). I found him and his friends and got them out of the garage and we fed them in the front yard for the next few weeks. There was a dead squirrel that had been hit by a car not to far from our house that was probably their mom. Ahh, the good old days when the garage was full of baby squirrels instead of rats;)
 

plantdude

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Rodentia vs. Rodentia.

Bob
Cute with fuzzy tails vs not so cute with naked tails:)

I had two pet rats a child, they actually make good pets. They're not so cute when they are eating my house and leaving little rat raisins all over the boat and workbench though.
 
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