This topic contains 29 replies, has 24 voices, and was last updated by  logi 2 weeks, 5 days ago.

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  • #4992


    Evening all,

    I moved into our new house 23 hours ago. It’s been a bit of a battle so far splitting our time between entertaining our toddling daughter and slotting our worldly belongings into their proper place, but we are getting there. As I was pulling yet another load of assorted crap out of the van, my wife, who is folding laundry into the wardrobes, calls me into the bedroom.
    “Listen to our new pets…” she whispers, pointing at the ceiling. “Mum said that they might be bats, or maybe a pine marten. I forget what she said.”
    I listen to the final half a second of a worryingly-loud scrape before it goes silent, but that’s all I need to hear. “Umm, darling…” I whisper, “Did your mother say bats or rats?”

    I go outside to the shed and pick up our freshly-inherited aluminum ladder and a handheld torch about as old as I am, carry it through to the entrance hall and lean it up under the only access hatch to the loft. After sweeping away the worst of the cellar spider cobwebs with a dustpan brush, I poke the torch and my nose up into the gloom.

    A polka dot pattern of perfect rat droppings covers every square foot of the gangplanks between the insulation. Bats my bollocks, I chuckle.

    “But what would they eat?” my wife calls up to me.

    In one of the outbuildings across the courtyard resides the cat who outlived her owner, a frail and emaciated thing, more cataract than cat, and in the center of her world lies a constantly-overflowing bowl of food. A neighbor has dropped in every couple of days for the last three years to keep the supply flowing. I imagine a procession of rodents strolling nonchalantly up to the cat and pissing on her face before tucking into her food. It might even explain the smell.

    Luckily, there is a “humane” rat trap in the shed as well, so first thing tomorrow I’ll be sending that up into the loft.

    So, two questions: what is the best bait to set the trap with? Can I assume cat food… or is there a secret trick that I’ve not considered?

    …and what’s the best method of killing them once they are in the trap? Drop the whole thing in a bucket of water? Tip the contents into a burlap sack and smack it with a brick? Let it loose in the courtyard and chase it around with a rolling pin whilst holding my pinafore up around my armpits?

    I’d also gratefully receive any humourous rat-related anecdotes you might be willing to share.

    Thanks, all.

  • #4994



    Remove food sources.

    Get some poison bait blocks – they will breed faster than you can trap them.

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 1 day ago by  oldguy.
    • #4998


      Unfortunately, we are morally opposed to using chemicals and poison.

      I prefer to use subterfuge, cunning, and brute force.

  • #4996


    A good Terrier? Poisoning could result in some smelly corpses – I’ve been recommended the sticky rat traps.

    Do rats not need a source of water so could be mice?

    • #5006


      My (beautiful, intelligent, faithful) mongrel would have a good crack at the job, but he’d probably be offended if I hired someone else in to have a go.

      And I am in Ireland, the place is like 90% water. The whole country is one great big water source.
      Also, judging by the size of the droppings, they’d be some pretty f*cking scary mice.

  • #4997


    Presuming the trap is a cage trap of some sort, try Nutella (other similar brands are available!) on the treadle.

    Drowning the rat could potentially end up with you in court under the animal welfare act 2006. Possibly, technically.

    If you don’t have an air weapon to shoot it, I would suggest cranial dispatch.

    Ironically, in my opinion, if you plan on using a humane (cage type) trap it is only humane if you release the creature afterwards. If you plan on killing it, why subject it to being held in a cage trap and then finding an acceptable method to kill it? Presuming you can 100% avoid by-catch of other species, if not, cage trap and cranial dispatch or shooting.

    My views.

    • #5004


      Ironically, in my opinion, if you plan on using a humane (cage type) trap it is only humane if you release the creature afterwards. If you plan on killing it, why subject it to being held in a cage trap and then finding an acceptable method to kill it? Presuming you can 100% avoid by-catch of other species, if not, cage trap and cranial dispatch or shooting.

      Releasing it is far from humane in my opinion, if they don’t make it back to where they came from then they are likely to die within days or even hours of being set free in an unfamiliar environment, and not from a nice quick knock on the head that they could expect here… almost certainly at the hands or claws of another animal or eventual starvation. If the problem turns out to be bigger than I had originally thought, then I’d consider getting lethal traps, I’m only suggesting the “humane” one because it was there in the shed when I was rummaging around. …and I certainly wouldn’t want to catch the bats or the pine marten in a lethal trap!!

  • #4999


    This guy tests a different mousetrap every week and posts a video.

  • #5000


    Drowning is illegal. Either despatch with an air rifle or into a sack & smack with a hefty bit of wood.

    I’d recommend going for some lethal traps (mk4 Fenns work very well, mind your fingers!) if you don’t want to despatch them yourself.

    As far as bait goes, tuna mixed with olive oil into a smooth paste works a treat, as does cat food also blended up with oil. They can’t run off with it that way & have to stay around to nibble at it, increasing your chances of nailing the little buggers.

    • #5005


      As far as bait goes, tuna mixed with olive oil into a smooth paste works a treat, as does cat food also blended up with oil. They can’t run off with it that way & have to stay around to nibble at it, increasing your chances of nailing the little buggers.

      Genius that is, nice one.

      With regards to the drowning being illegal… that’s a shame, as it’s a far better death than 99% of rats could ever hope to end on. Bludgeoning it is, then!

  • #5001


    Rat poison dehydrated them, they can start chewing plastic water pipes. And they can die in places you can’t remove the bodies.

    So you’ve made a good choice to avoid.

  • #5002


    With a smidge of ingenuity, you can knock up some electric traps.
    I used to do it when I’ve had mice infestations. Good instant deaths!

  • #5003


    I’m not entirely sure there are any ‘humane’ methods. If you do use an air rifle, make sure it’s a good .22

    Poison is the only method I’ve found to work with a big infestation. When we bought our place, there were rats and mice everywhere. We paid someone to take care of it. However that was baiting inside the house, and the stench from decaying carcasses afterward was terrible. I collected bags full of vermin out of the roof spaces. Subsequently, I have put bait stations around the perimeter of the outside of the house, and we have been rodent free for a couple of years. I rotate the kind of bait used and also keep them irregularly filled to keep population resistance from developing.

  • #5007


    Peanuts work well.

    Baited trap after hearing what sounded like a boss rat in the loft, literally 20 seconds after leaving the neck breaker it snapped onto a beautiful little field mouse, guilt and shame.

  • #5008


    They can be beggars to trap, so don’t dispare if you initially fail. If they have another source of available food (chicken pen, sheep barn, weekly Asda delivery or anything like that) they are hard to encourage into a trap or to take poison, you have to cut the other food scouce off first.

    If you cage trap, smaller ones can virtually get through the mesh, it looks impossible but they can and become wedged or escape. Use a Hessian sack over the cage door, open door, tip rat into a sack, quickly roll sack up and rat in a corner, whack over the head. Easier to demo than describe. Don’t get bitten.

    Good luck.

  • #5009


    We had a similar discovery when we moved into our current house.

    Humane traps don’t work. Go for lethal snap traps. Council pest control disposed of the bodies for us.

    It took us a year and a half to find their access point, so no matter how many we killed, we were stuck with them! Eventually found short bit of pipe going into the subfloor under the front doorstep. The rats tunnelled under the slabs at the front and then straight under the step. Once we sealed that they didn’t last long.

  • #5010


    I’ve got a lot of rats around at my allotment and have tried various ways to keep their numbers in check as I think they are eating more hen food than my hens. I have a spring trap, a multiple capture cage trap, an airgun, some poison and I’ve also found a cat in the hen house which I assume is responsible for the dismembered rat parts I’ve found occasionally.

    The spring trap has caught a few, none yet in the cage although my wife has seen small rats in there and sent me to kill them and cage has always been empty.

    The airgun has been the best method of pest control and I often get one or two if I sit long enough watching the hen food with the gun trained through the fence of the hen area while resting on a storage container. The other day though I was resting the rifle on the container when a rat poked it’s head out of a hole in the container and so I lifted the lid and found a rats nest inside and baby rats started jumping out though I managed to shoot 4 at very close range and I think I hit another as it jumped out shooting from the hip.

    When I tried poison I lost a hen and have not put anymore down.

    The cat I’ve only caught brief glimpses of which is probably down to me having a dog with me most of the time, but I like this cat as it seems to have my back.

  • #5011


    Keep in mind that glue traps do not kill them immediately. I used to work in a restaurant and was first to come in after the traps were left at night. The sounds can be pretty awful on a good day. To me it feels like torturing an animal. I haven’t seen a live mouse in a spring trap, so I can only assume they die quicker.

    If I learnt anything from the place I worked at, try to find the entry point and do your best to get rid of mice/rats completely. Do not stop when it gets tolerable – the issue will come back and it’s not the most pleasant to deal with.

  • #5012

    Mike w

    We had 3 cats, one of them bought in a large rat, I was at work when my wife discovered said rat in the kitchen. She locked the cats in the kitchen with the rat and went out. Several hours latter she returned to find all 3 cats on the kitchen table and the rat in control of the rest of the kitchen.

    When I returned home I was sent in as rat catcher / killer. After several unsuccesssful attempts on its life, the rat got into the cooker – in the insulation around the oven. At this point, I solved the problem by disconecting the cooker, carrying it outside and unscrewing the side panels. The rat ran off…

  • #5013


    Start a cat farm with 100,000 cats. Each cat will average twelve kittens a year. The cat skins will sell for 30 pence each. One hundred men can skin 5,000 cats a day giving a daily net pro?t of over £10,000.

    Assuming your loft rat population is 1,000,000 rats. The rats will breed twelve times faster than the cats. So you have four rats to feed each day to each cat and in turn feed the rats the carcasses of the cats after they have been skinned.
    So you feed the rats to the cats, and the cats to the rats, and get the cat
    skins for nothing.

  • #5014


    deal with this the mans way, no guns no chemicals, just hand to hand combat.

    When we had a rat in the kitchen (what we gunna do…?) I threw my family out, sealed the doors behind me and told them only one would emerge alive, me or the rat.

    Hard battle. Kitchen looked a bit like the tower block in Die Hard by the time it was over. The final scene involved expanding foam and a hammer drill with a 6mm bit. Not pleasant.

  • #5015


    Not all cats are good at it, but:

    My Grandad had a cat on his farm whose job was to protect the grain store from rats. He never fed it. It was a small but healthy looking thing. It used to kill rats bigger than it was. Soppy too (with humans).

  • #5016


    We had mice and I borrowed some snap traps from my daughter she’d got a few mice in her flat with them but our mouse/mice were having nothing to do with them no matter what bait we used. So I got glue traps and caught one the first night. Didn’t even use bait just put them in areas of the floor I knew the mouse would walk across. Nasty bit was it was still alive when I found it in the morning so I had to bash it with a trainer and then pull the body out the glue so the trap could be reused. But after that first kill the mice are avoiding the glue traps as well as the snap traps.

    The thing that seems to have worked was we found out they’d made a hole in the wall (by enlarging the gap where a pipe went through) into our store cupboard and gnawed holes in packets of pasta/grain. Bunging up all the holes with scrunched up aluminium foil and putting the plastic packets they could gnaw into inside thick plastic boxes seems to have stopped them. Figuring out where they are coming in/out and what they are eating and then stopping them seems to be more effective than traps.

  • #5019


    Rats and mice love a bit of chocolate. I’m not sure about wild rats but pet ones I’ve had all love cheerios… You should definitely rotate the bait that you’re using as they will be smart to it after one gets caught with one kind of bait!

    As others have said, be sure to remove any source of food for them but also try to block any small gaps. You’d be surprised the tiny gaps that they can squeeze through.

    Nice to hear that you’re trying to avoid inhumane methods 🙂

  • #5020


    A .22 airgun will sort them quickly and humanely. The slower velocity of a 22 is more likely to kill them instantly than a .177. The smaller pellet is more likely to go straight through the rat and it’ll scamper off and it’ll die slowly (providing food for the others) .22 are slower (600fps vs 850fps approx) and flat head pellets will help further.

    High power capacitors charged off a car battery with cheese on the 2 prongs make for nice homemade rat landmines…

  • #5021


    Glue traps and drowning are horrible. As mentioned in a couple of posts above, finding how they are getting in is essential. With a food source outside you are unlikely to get rid of them if you can’t stop their access.

    I’d go for killing traps – most of the time they give a very quick death, except as said, if they can get food elsewhere the traps might be not so effective.

    Good luck!

  • #5022


    We had an 18 month battle with rats after moving in to a new house (they don’t mention that in the home report do they!) so you have my sympathy.

    They were nesting in the loft insulation and apparently will always try to return to the same spot to breed. This meant every 6 weeks we’d get another rush of young rats. We tried all the traps and poisons we could and found that they all worked for a short while, and then the rats would work it out and avoid them. The snap traps were the most effective and easiest to deal with resetting. Most poisons will have an agent which dries the corpse out and stops it smelling, we still got a load of flies though.

    On each breeding cycle we would catch a load of the young rats but the mum was always too wise to get caught! The answer was to block their way in, this took a long time to find all the holes. Apparently, they like to have two entry points so keep looking even if you block one hole.

    Once we finally blocked everything the remaining rats got desperate for food and all the traps tripped very quickly.

    The nastiest thing I found was a trap which had been triggered but only had the remains of a head and spinal cord left.

  • #5027



    Well, I’ve just been up into the attic fully, to set a couple of snap traps and the cage trap down, and it’s pretty grim up there. A lot of faeces, lots of brown stains, definitely a lot of chewed wires… I don’t think it’s a small number of rats, unfortunately.

    Quick question… the water tanks up there… they don’t have lids on… is that normal? I mean, there’s no carcasses floating around in them, but they are exposed to the spiderwebs and general roof grit that comes away in showers when you so much as look at it… I assume this is why, in older houses certainly, you are advised not to drink from the hot tap?

    Should something be done about this?

    So top of my list now is to seal every hole giving access to the house. After a quick check on our side of the building, including up on the roof, things actually seem quite good, and there are no obvious holes visible, and all internal holes around pipes and such are already closed up nicely with expanding foam. The problem is, we are attached next door to an entirely-disused middle cottage and a pile-of-stones end cottage in a row of three. It’s going to be a hell of a task to seal up any holes at roof-level between us and the middle cottage from their side, and the crouching-room-only attic space between us is blocked off quite badly on our side with roof joists and low walls… not to mention the piles of rat shit and clouds of spiderwebs.

    I guess at this point I’m not asking for any advice (do keep it coming, though!)… I kind of know what needs to be done… I suppose I’m just looking for sympathy, really. Because this is going to be a f*cking horrible job.

    Of course, continued rat-related-anecdotes are always going to be welcome.

  • #5028


    I guess I’d probably be thinking about clearing out the rat shit and spiders webs, and perhaps taking some bright lighting to help see what I’m doing, those yellow flood light type things which can sometimes be found cheap online.

    Approach it in a ‘Cheeearge!’ style – and go to war. 😉

  • #5029


    I’ve only encountered 2 rats in our house, both brought in by the cat. 1 dead, the other very much alive and dropped in the middle of the lounge floor. That was an entertaining chase before I finally caught it in a bin and released it back the other side of the road, although I should probably have killed it – I was more worried about getting bitten by it.

    Then had to clean and disinfect much of the lounge and most of my toddler daughter’s toys where the rat had run over them during the chase.

    A mate of mine runs a pest control business and was asking him a couple of weeks ago for advice for my sister’s neighbour and he said the primary thing is to stop any food source and they’ll quickly stop coming. After that, traps and an air rifle with poison as a last resort.

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