Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Rats! What are They Good for?

     They're good for an anecdote, I'll tell ya.  Everyone's got a good rat story.  Okay, maybe not everyone, but there are a lot of rat tales in the city.  Feel free to share yours in the comments section.

     I would like to thank those of you who have made comments on my first entries into the blogging world.  Keep them coming.  Your stories add to the fun.  And don't forget to vote in the polls. Now back to the rats.

     Rats are perhaps more than annoying.  They are downright icky.  So it was not a pleasant start to my morning yesterday when I came downstairs to the bathroom and spotted, sitting neatly on the toilet bowl, one little black pellet.  I had been around enough to know that this little poop was not left by any human.  That was a rat poop.  
     I immediately went into the nearby room, with the pantry, that would have treats that might interest a rat.  I didn't see a rat munching away, but I did see our cat sitting somewhere I'd never seen her before.  She took one look at me and I could see the look on her face, it said, "Oh boy, there's going to be trouble now."  She decided it might be best to leave, but then she came back and left and came back again.  She wasn't sure if she wanted to out the rat or if she was best to get the hell out of there before the trouble started.  At least I had a pretty good idea the rat was in there.
     The rat was very helpful as it decided to start moving and banging into things that were cluttered on the counter.  Soon the chase was on.  What do you do if you want to catch a rat?  You grab the first weapon you can see (I've got another rat experience from my twenties when I learned this - that time I used a hockey stick.  Stickhandled the rat right out of my bedroom). This time around I first picked up a baseball bat, but on second thought I chose a ski pole.  A lot of useful sports paraphernalia in my life.
     Rats are pretty quick though and despite some pretty good thrusts with the ski pole, the rat escaped to I didn't know where.  Sports equipment wasn't going to do the trick this time.  More serious rat protection measures were going to be necessary.  I am now the proud owner of two Victor rat traps.  
     Now the Victor rat trap company has some recommendations on their website,, on what to use for bait. Having spent some time around fishermen though, I thought I'd be independent and come up with my own lure.  I went with the salami.  Rat traps are scary as one little slip and the trapper can become the trappee.  I managed to set the traps without losing a finger (although there was a near miss) and hoped for the best.  The traps were set at 6 pm.
     By 11:30 the house was quiet and the rest of the family was asleep.  I sat in my chair reading.  Not waiting for the rat.  I had seen no sign of it and figured maybe it had decided to leave our house given that it was obviously inhabited by some highly intense downhill skier.  Then I heard a noise.  An unfamiliar noise.  I went to check the traps.  (Warning - what comes next is not for the squeamish).
     Rat on!!!!!  There he was, caught by the head and flopping around in the trap.  All I could think was he might get loose if he keeps flopping.  I looked around and there was no sporting equipment to be found, so I grabbed a piece of wood and hit that rat as hard as I could about four times.  It stopped moving.  Yes, I killed a rat.
    What is with these rats anyway?  What gives them the idea that they should come and hang out with us?  Other animals know to stay away from us humans.  But no, the rat thinks he's either clever enough to pull it off or has some historical entitlement to live in our domains.  Man I hate those rats.  Hopefully this was a bachelor rat.


  1. Jack...infamous rat killer! Now, do you leave the rat there as a warning to other rats? What do you do with a dead rat?

    I don't have an interesting rat story, the only rodent here is my rabbit...which is good because I don't have a lot of sports equipment lying around to use as weapons!

  2. I have no rat experiences. Or mice, for that matter. And I've lived in some shitholes. But I've always thought that if one were to invade my abode, I'd just move. Simple as that. It would freak me out no end.

    But you gotta admire your rat. I mean, how many rats are considerate enough to take a dump in the toilet?

  3. I smell a rat! As for your pic' vote, how about another category? Equally unimpressed. I want to see a pic' of the rat. Now be a good chappy and make me a Gin and Tonic! Ta-ta for now, xelA.

  4. Hey Jack next time you see Lorraine tell her a rabbit is just a rat with bigger ears and bigger poo. I'm not sure I would have killed it right away. I would have been tempted to put it in a box, drive it over to Joanne Cowan's place and see if she wanted to try to nurse it back to health.

  5. Oh, of mice and rats! They are strangely captivating. Jack, your story was both disgusting and funny; well done. I'm surprised more people don't have tales of the vermin with tails.

    A couple short(ish) rodent anecdotes.

    Having recently moved into the Strathcona neighbourhood of Vancouver's Eastside (both a hipster area and possessor of Canada's poorest postal code), I was awoken at 3AM one night to the sound of rustling inside a half unpacked box. A mouse was rooting around in my stuff. Partially awake, I decided in my genius to close up the box and "trap" the lil feller, and deal with him later. I went back to sleep. Well, examining things the next day, all I found (Duh!) was a box with a hole in it.

    I then set some humane traps (not all of us have blood lust) These are plastic contraptions you bait with cheese or peanut butter at the back that tilt when mousey mouse enters, closing the door behind him.

    Sometimes the trap's door would close on it's own and you would think you caught one, but no, false alarm. Finally, I was close to sure that I had one but he wasn't making any noise so I figured he must be dead. I took him to the toilet for a burial at sea, flipped the door open and dumped the little bugger into the bowl. But he was still alive, franticly attempting to climb the porcelain walls. I didn't know what to do so I just flushed, and watched Mickey being pulled into the swirl. I could see his beady little eyes fixed on me as he struggled to escape his watery grave, only to disappear into the sewer. I nearly shed a tear. I consoled myself by thinking that he probably came out alive at the end of the line - just like in cartoons - both a little wetter and a little wiser.

    Rats are scarier. On Vancouver's Davie Street near Denman there is a liquor store next to a Safeway. Connected to the liquor store there is a big concrete garden box that contained shrubs. Street people would lean against it all day, tossing garbage in with the greenery. The local crazy old lady who believes it is her duty to feed the poor neighbourhood pigeons (aka rats with wings) would dump a massive pile of birdseed on the sidewalk right in front of the shrubs every day.

    Walking by one midnight, I noticed a rat slip down the side of the garden box, grab a bunch of birdseed, then make his getaway back into the shrubs, stopping once to give me the evil eye.

    Taking a closer look, I got within ten feet and started counting rats - one, two, three, four. Then I saw a group of five or six sitting together amongst the plants and the garbage, all staring me down. Then a rat came sprinting from across the parking lot, passed within five feet of my right foot and jumped up into this rat's paradise of a nest. I looked in the direction from which the nasty beast had come. Ah, an open dumpster. Then I saw one guy creep along the top of the dumpster, jump off, and then take off into the Safeway underground parking lot. Mmmm, doughnuts. The dirty vermin were on their night time feeding rounds. Thank god I wasn't covered in peanut butter.

    I saw these rats doing their nocturnal business one more time, living the good life on sloppy Safeway seconds, cold fries and leftover pigeon food. Then a few days later I noticed that the shrubs had been razed and there were numerous rat traps throughout the area. My frightening furry friends were gone. Again, I almost shed a tear.

  6. Somebody needs a blog!

  7. Flying bats - or - Bats in my Belfry - As a teenager, my brother and I used a tennis racket to deflect a bat in my bedroom (Montreal) into a sleeping bag and then released back out the window. More recently, upon asking Jake to start the bbq for supper, he came in looking bemused and said "Mom, I think there is a rat in the bbq!" When Max and I went to look, ratty had found the grease drip hole again and fled, rather more scorched, to freedom again. The smell of the burning fur was not to our taste, we pan-broiled the steak, burned a tank of propane with nothing cooking to clean the bbq and it was probably 3 months before I was comfortably recovered enough to use it again!

  8. P.S. ... did anyone listen to 'The Debaters' on CBC Saturday morning? The hotly debated topic was Blogs. The Anti-Blogger won but the debate was hilarious!!

  9. I've heard at least one other rat in a BBQ story. Makes you want to think twice before lighting the grill. Do you check for a critter or just fire up the grill and see what's for dinner.

    Thanks for your rat stories.

  10. Oh, I forgot! I do have a rat/mouse story. I'm not sure what it was. I used to drive an old beater. One day, it really started stinking. Like, really bad. Not being a mechanical type, I never check under the hood unless absolutely necessary. A friend checked for me, and found a dead rodent on a ledge. He had crawled up there to keep warm, I guess. Who knows how long he'd been there, either.

    That's it. I guess I didn't have a rat/mouse story afterall.

  11. Oh, did we have rats in our house when we were little - we lived beside a dry riverbed (in the summer) and formerly where western communities garbage dump was (before Alpine was even thought of). In the house, out of the house - we saw a rat daily, but one morning Dad got up his usual time (6am) and opened the cuppboard door to get some sugar out for his coffee, and out jumped a rat! on to his chest and running through the house! Dad just about had his second heart attack! So that evening we set the traps - it was better than most fishing days I had been on with him! With a snap snap snap - we had a triple header on! Gross, but we gotem'...there's more stories, but that was a gooder! AB-S

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