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It's a Rat!


The call late on a Friday was on the verge of panic. Rat droppings were spotted in the garage. That triggered the mother of all garage cleanings. We spent the better part of a Saturday cleaning out every nook and crany looking in places we hadn't looked in since moving into the house in 1995 and using cleaning products we typically hire people to use. There was plenty of evidence that we had "friends." The evidence was widespread. The situation while temporarily addressed, but the long-term out look was simply unacceptable.


The next step was a trip to Home Depot. Home Depot can be a little intimidating--at least to me--and this trip was no exception. It turns out that there are dozens of choices for eliminating the species. I'm not totally ignorant of the topic and from what I gather, the people in the know prefer the box of tasty rat snacks that they'll munch and take back to their rat nest so that the nasty effects happen some place else.


I understood the logic of this approach, but it failed me on two fronts. First of all we have dogs who spend a fair amount of time in the garage and I was worried that the poison destine for the nest might not make it that far and would be consumed by the dogs.  Second we didn't want to guess on the effectiveness of this issue, we wanted positive confirmation. I needed a body.


This narrowed my options considerably. I could have gone old school and opted for the spring loaded headache, but then I spotted the mother of all rodent ridding devices. For $40 plus 3-C batteries I could set up my own high voltage electrocuting rat zapping trap. I put a dab of peanut butter at the back of a trap, flipped the switch and the trap was live.


I returned to the garage every 30 minutes for the better part of the weekend. I'm not sure why I was disappointed that we were apparently rat free. It  was the desired outcome, but I was clearly seeking a level of revenge and I guess I wanted a little return on my investments. It wasn't to be. I was bummed and Eve was thrilled.


After a week the excitement of the pending carnage had clearly faded. I was now forgetting to check the trap and my focus had evolved to the troublesome sprinklers. I went to adjust the offending sprinklers at the control panel (also in the garage) and I noticed that someone had dropped a shoelace in my clean garage. Why would a shoelace be right there? Right in front of the ... oh my god that's a rat tail! He was so big he didn't even fit inside his trap! In my mind we had a cute little mouse or hamster running around. It was not cute, not little, not a hamster, not a mouse...this was a size 12 rat.


I admit that I experienced a bit of a rush. I was even Neanderthal enough to take a picture (below) of my catch. The trap, which after frying its prey, turns into a handy dandy dead rat carrier. But how do you dispose of a dead rat. Was it trash? Was it recycling? Was it compost? The compost bin clearly says no "animal waste" and technically this was both animal and now waste. But the same compost sticker said that "meat" was appropriate.


I'm rarely handy around the house and almost never the protector that Eve expects of me, but when it comes flea bitten scamperers, you shouldn't mess with me!



April 6, 2011

© Greg Harris, 2011

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