Slightly off topic, but...

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My question is about rats. I have a shop that has been invaded by rats and I am currently without a cat that catches mice and rats. My old cat kept them at bay, but the new one just likes to watch them, apparently.
Anyway, I have set out rat traps and I have shot 2 with my pellet gun. The first night with the traps I caught 3 rats. After 3 more nights with reset traps and new bait, not a single rat.
I am wondering if rats learn to avoid traps after they see what they do, or did I get them all the first night? I don't know if I am just lucky and there were only five rats, or whether they all left after realizing they weren't welcome, or whether they have learned to avoid being seen and to avoid the traps.
Anyone know?
--
Robert Allison
Rimshot, Inc.
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Robert Allison wrote:

Stuff I have read about Florida rats: they have "runs", learn to avoid traps. Advice was to put the trap vertically next to their run. They also like to be above ground, traversing fences, branches, etc. Do you know how they got in?
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Norminn wrote:

Through one or a hundred of the 4,000 or so holes in the walls, ceilings and roofline of the shop. This is not a shop where I am going to be sealing up all the holes. I would have to rebuild the shop for that. This is a corrugated steel building 36' x 28' and there are no closures on the corrugated steel, making a hole at every single peak of the panels (they are run vertically). I didn't build it, I just bought it that way. I am just happy that it is water tight.
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Robert Allison
Rimshot, Inc.
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Robert Allison wrote:

I couldn't believe it until I saw it, but I had heard noises inside our downspouts which are right alongside our patio. Sitting on the patio one day and saw a rat scurry through the hedge, jump into the bottom of the downspout and then heard it scurry UP the inside of the downspout. Crafty devils!
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Robert-
I have had very good luck in my battle with rats over the years.
Where I used to work it was impossible to seal up all the entry points (an ~ 5000 sq ft structural test lab) so I got very good at trapping mice & rats.
Rats are very smart but the trick I learned & works for me .....is to bait the Victor spring traps with peanut butter......but NOT set them for a few days (nights).
I re-bait as needed if the rats eat the PB.
The concept is that rats are very suspicious of new things in their environment. After a while they get used to whatever you've added.
Baiting with PB w/o setting the trap, gets the rats thinking " free PB in this location, cool! "
After the third night of "free PB" I set them......the usual result is full traps.
Also make sure that you have a lot of traps, in one trapping session I caught 4 rats with 5 traps. I have re-used traps but I usually get new ones so the rat doesn't smell his dead buddy. I'm not sure its necessary
A former co-worker used a "rat zapper" with great success but at ~$50 you could buy at least 2 dozen regular spring traps.
I'd bet that you got all of the recent group; with 5 kills.
Put out some PB & see if it gets eaten.
cheers Bob
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re: Put out some PB & see if it gets eaten.
...but move the traps from the current locations since they apparently know where they are.
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wrote:

JAT but, as one poster said, replace the trap or run it through the dishwasher to get rid of the scent of the dead one (the trap may not withstand this) especially since they often bleed from the nose and mouth. Secondly, I agree that you should move the trap since other rodents have probably witnessed their dead comrad in that spot. Then, when replacing the trap bait it without setting it so that the new location is just another meal.

re: Put out some PB & see if it gets eaten.
...but move the traps from the current locations since they apparently know where they are.
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wrote:

"Bait and switch"!! Isn't there a law against that? Contact consumer affiars.
What do you think about setting a few traps outside the building. I know there are too many holes in to get them all, but if they see they can get killed even before they enter, maybe they'll steer clear.
Also make sure nothing edible is inside. They can smell it I think.

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wrote:

And maybe you'll trap innocent creatures.

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On Thu, 27 Mar 2008 15:55:47 -0700, aspasia wrote:

Hold up! There can be secondary advantages to outside rat traps. Capture the ..Bufo marinus - Giant Toad, Cane Toad, Marine Toad .. if you live in Miami. They kill pets, so trap them.
http://www.floridagardener.com/critters/BufoM.jpg
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alt.home.repair:

Last fall I replaced the gasket and installed metal shims around the bottom corners of a garage door for a client who was catching a couple of rats every day. An exterminator was working the case, and he told her that these were "teenage" rats that were looking for a warm place with the onset of winter. There was a creek across the street from her house.
The rats were apparently squeezing in at the corners of the door. The holes were very small. Custom-cut sheets of heavy aluminum solved the problem.
To address your question, new rats came in every day and died in the traps. Since these were "teenage" rats, maybe they were stupid. My experience says that you probably got all the rats, but leave the traps out for another month or two just in case. And look for the holes they're using. You can try poison, but they might die inside your walls. You won't like that.
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Steve B.
New Life Home Improvement
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I'm sure they were. Tennagers are stupid. In fact "teenager" comes from the Greek word for stupid, estupido.

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if they can learn mazes they can learn where the traps are, or smell you on them.
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You're facing a potentially mean problem because rats are far more intelligent and adaptable then other rodents. Your turf has been invaded and you are in initial phase of an all out war. There was an article recently (in maybe TOH magazine, sorry couldn't find it) about a couple in NJ that made it through a rat infestation that took months and $$ with a pro exterminator. Your best chance might be to line up all the allies you can, County Health Department, farm service people, whatever. Good luck and pick up any unsprung traps with stick.
Joe
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They learn, and if you have seen 5 chances are good you have somewhere in the vicinity of 500, if not 5000 living within 100 yards.
You need a new cat, or cats, and/or maybe a few terrier breed dogs. -----
- gpsman
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gpsman wrote:

Cats are far from a "sure thing" for getting rid of rodents. Cleaning up food sources and nesting sites, in addition to the traps, would help more.
When I stored old clothing in cardborad boxes in garage, I found out that mice loved to nest in the cozy stuff.
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On Thu, 27 Mar 2008 11:49:06 -0700 (PDT), gpsman
Yeah, rat terriers :)
Or, introduce few rat snakes into the building.
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Robert Allison wrote:

Rats are smart. But here's a trick.
Go to pet store and buy one white mouse.
Then go to pet adoptions center (SPCA, Humane Society, etc.). Ask to see cats.
At each cat cage, put in mouse.
Adopt the cat that shows the most interest.
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that's clever.
attempting to trap all the rats in a non-enclosed area is like trying to bail a hole in the ocean. any outside your area fill into the ecological hole you're attempting to make.
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Interesting analogy.
When you let a cat outside it does create an ecological hole. The size of the hole varies.
I think for most cats, it's a pretty big hole.
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