Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A rat is cute - in a cage

I like rats. I have petted them and played with them with my daughter. I think they are cute and smart and interesting. I enjoyed Ratatouille. But these days, I understand the motivation of the little old lady in that movie who took a shotgun and began shooting left and right at a rat crawling over her house. I totally understand, and wouldn't mind doing it myself.

It all started when I backed my car into the garage door, bending it in an ugly way and leaving a gap along the ground. Let this be a warning to you all - FIX HOLES IN YOUR HOUSE RIGHT AWAY. After a few months, the rats crept into the garage and enjoyed the food we were storing in there, and made a disgusting pissy/crapy nest of one of our camper foam pads.

That was a year ago. It has been an unending battle every since. We closed up the hole in the door and every other hole we could find in the house. The rats remained. I initially tried soft tactics, such as putting peanut butter down the side of a bucket that they would fall into. They laughed at such innocence. I set traps. They were ignored.

One day I opened the door to our water heater closet and convulsed in disgust when three rats who were warming their bellies on the top of the water heater (and probably having a few beers) went skittering up the pipes into the attic.

We put wire mesh along the gap in the door to the water closet. They promptly dug a new hole through the wall from the crawl space. We removed all food from the garage. They built a nest in the attic above our house; we could hear them scraping and digging in the wall just above our heads in the bed. We could hear them dancing on our ceiling at night.

We called in an exterminator to destroy this infestation. He laid traps everywhere and got five (or was it six) rats. But one of them completely ignored the traps. Every night we still hear her scraping and digging right above our heads. It is infuriating.

One day I went to fetch our sleeping bag from our outside earthquake bin and found that our food supplies had been raided, shredded, urinated and defecated upon. I spent an hour cleaning up the unholy stinking mess (being eaten alive by fleas - did I mention that we had a flea infestation, probably because of the rats?). I saw our dear friend had dug a hole right through 1/4 inch of hard plastic to get in.

We removed the food and I put a trap in there. She ignored it. She went back into the garage and got into some Cliff Bars we had left in there (silly us) and then proceeded to destroy a diaper bag I had put in there which must have had a little food in one of the pockets. Arrrgghhh!

Last night I got Rat Glue traps and laid them in front of the hole. She deftly stepped around them, and this morning I saw her (a beautiful gray specimen) running along the railing above our garage door.

This morning I listened to the terror experts talk about the difficulty of fighting terrorists, how their roots are deep and almost impossible to eradicate, and how everybody is tired of them and wants them to go away. Although my problem is on a much much smaller scale and involves destroyed property and not human lives, I could only nod my head. I completely understand...

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