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Motor City Homestead » Blog Archive » Small town problems, big city solutions

Small town problems, big city solutions

So, we’ve got a new addition to the MCH.  Unfortunately, he only comes around at night, steals from the garden and chews holes in our garage siding.  It’s a rat.  And he’s a smart one.  After Gabe and Robbie proved themselves as stellar pest control officers last week, I put them on the case, with a $10 reward for catching the rodent.  Sadly, great enthusiasm and lots of running and yelling proved insufficient in this latest pest control venture.  Not only did we not see the rat, but he managed to spring all the rat traps we set over the course of a week, and eat all the bait.  With the traditional spring traps a failure, we moved on to glue traps.  They are absolutely my least favorite means of pest control, because once the animal is caught, it still needs to be killed.  That’s unpleasant.  My brother Chad recommends the “dip of death” with a youtube video demonstration, but I’ll spare you (more on that later).  For two days the glue traps proved they were only good for catching legions of ants.  Then, this morning I noticed one of the glue traps was askew, and something was definetly caught in it.  Unfortunately, it was a mouse, not the rat.  And, even more unfortunately, I had to give it the dip of death myself.  I used a bucket of water, Chad uses the toilet, and the whole thing is over in about 30 seconds. 

Clearly, the rat is attracted to the food in the chicken coop.  The rabbits are messy eaters, so they spray their pellets on the ground at night.  The chickens get table scraps, so there is often a watermelon rind or something on the ground that a rat would consider good eating. 

Now, on a real farm, I’d have an old tomcat that lived in the barn, a rat snake or two living in the corn crib, and we’d have no rat problems at all.  But, here in the city, I can’t just let a cat run free around the neighborhood.  So, we’re stuck with traps, and so far our own “Templeton” has proven impossible to catch.  Home Depot sells some live traps that I’m tempted to try - I’ll let you know how it goes. 

117 Responses to “Small town problems, big city solutions”

  1. joanE Says:

    Dad says are you sure it’s a rat….not a racoon. Rat’s aren’t super smart….

    ~M

  2. Nate Says:

    Sadly, the holes chewed in our garage siding are clearly rat sized. And the poop left behind is decidedly rat sized as well. Although there hasn’t been any new deposits lately, so maybe we scared him off.

  3. Kyle Says:

    Nate, the “Dip of Death” takes a long time, and it’s kinda heart-breaking. The easiest thing I’ve found is just grabbing the tail (or a nice piece of firmly attached glue trap) and swing them onto the edge of a table, right at the neck. Sounds far more cruel and gruesome than it is, it’s quick and relatively humane. Outside of fancy vet drugs (talk to your dad) combined with the comfort of loving pageantry, I don’t think there is a truly “humane” way to kill something. Ya just gotta do it.

    I know you finally caught him (Templeton), but I haven’t been to your blog in a bit, so this is a “hello”… with a gruesome twist. Grody (sp?)

    Kyle

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