Rats! a tail of woe, probably pointless

Not much point in this tail really other than to vent my thoughts & frustration. Perhaps a rant as I am tearing my hair out. We all live close to rats. I don't like them but have to live with them, a fact of life. I live in an early 20C cottage in Berkshire. Have done for 27 years. Semi-rural area with a stream flowing along the front. Quite idyllic on a good day. Built on a 12inch concrete raft with suspended floors on sleeper walls. The old place has recently suffered a quite severe infestation of rats. All feed, both animal & human, is kept secure. From whence they came I know not but they certainly have made merry below floors. There are about 2 dozen airbricks around the perimeter just above ground level, these are all sound. I can see no signs of burrowing but I don't think rats burrow anyway. Wife & I keep 3 cats, 2 dogs and 2 goats. Goaties are cleaned daily and all is composted. Goats are a couple of hundred yards away.
One day about 6 weeks ago we heard some scurrying in a kitchen cupboard. Open the door and see ratty nonchalantly munching on a block of my favourite olive oil hand soap, I'm almost sure he winked at me! Close door. Open door again and scoop all contents onto floor and then most into bin. Clean whole kitchen (I do mean whole) and put down some poison bait in, around and about. 3 separate locations all safe from domestic animals. I don't like using poison but when needs must.......... A few minutes after several hours labour more scurrying from a now freshly cleaned empty, bar poison, kitchen cupboard. There's ratty munching on a lump of poison. Close door. Take unhappy wife to local hostelry for a bit of lunch and a chat with friends. On return find bait all gone. Replace all. More scurrying and more bait gone. That afternoon 7 bait blocks were taken from a single location. Following morning had the dubious pleasure of seeing a dead rat lying on a shelf in a kitchen cupboard. Continued to place bait until it was not taken. Still have some in place but it hasn't been touched in a couple of weeks. Have found a couple more carcasses since then, but this must have been a fairly severe infestation. I presume there will be more carcasses beneath floors. The buggers have destroyed wiring beneath the floors. A major problem for me is that 22 years ago I laid 1.25inch thick pitch pine block flooring over 2/3rds of the ground floor. Most of the underfloor is now inaccessible and the whole house needs rewiring. I know its overdue for rewiring but it would break my heart to rip this wonderful floor up. Rats! One little bonus to this sorry affair is that my wife saw a ringed tail disappear under a unit in our utility area whilst all the above was going on. She didn't know what it was but said it looked like a raccoon. I've never seen a raccoon in the flesh but Rocky, as she is now known, is still with with us and can be seen here~ http://www.flickr.com/photos/95403421@N00 /
Rats!
rats live on no evil star Blimey, that's an old one from my school days 50 odd years ago (read it backwards).
Rant over and apologies for bothering you kind folk.
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If you have three cats and two dogs you shouldn't have rats.
We only had one cat and he saw to the rats when we came back from holiday to find them.
Mary
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I agree entirely; neverthless we have suffered a veritable plague of the wretched creatures. The cats are probably overfed and can't be bothered. Retriever is sadly a bit long in tooth and Newfie is so laid back he would just want to mother them. Now I need either a VV small person or a robot that can creep in, under and around dwarf/sleeper walls to lay and tack cables under my house. Rats!
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Get a Squirrel trap. Bait it Catch Rat(s) Release in the local neighbourhood aggravating morons back garden.
or
Shoot the buggers
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These are expensive, but absolutely the bees knees (or the rodents graveyard): http://www.ratzapper.com /
Available on ebay for around 30 quid.
And/or get some Jack Russels.
Some serious government advice: http://www.csl.gov.uk/prodserv/cons/RatShortGuidelines.pdf
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I'll second that. But they only get one at a time.
Before anyone questions it, we don't have a cat any more and because we have chickens we occasionally see a rat in the gardenn. Mrs Next Door isn't fond of rodents (I'll put it no more strongly than that) so we like to deal with them if we suspect they're there.
Mary
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...
LOL!
Mary
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Ray wrote:

Just a thought (I don't know how this will square with wiring regs), how about routing a channel in the flooring, a short distance from each wall? Lay the wiring in the channel and cap with strips of wood. These strips could either be a close colour match or even a contrasting colour and be made to look as if part of the original design. If you want the floor level, the strips could be glued into the channel and planed level. If you want future access, you could screw down a strip that is wider than the channel.
--
Howard Neil

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writes

Excellent living conditions for rats. Especially if visitors bring food for ducks etc.
Rats do burrow and climb. Sachets of bait a good solution but slow as boss rat gets first pick and so on, down the hierarchy.
Look for other possible access points, unsealed drains, wall cavity, soffit, etc.
On the electrical front, you could get the system tested which might provide some reassurance. Exposed copper is not good but there must be hundreds of thousands of similar situations but where the householder and insurers are unaware.
The *Racoon* sounds like an American Mink. They eat rats and are supposed to be having a major impact on Water Voles.
regards

--
Tim Lamb

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From the picture conveniently supplied by the OP it looks much more like a kitten !
--
Dave Baker
www.pumaracing.co.uk
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Call the environmentl health depeartment of your local council. Many provide a fre service for curing rat infestations.
Peter Crosland
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"i" or "e" missing? A council that provided a f(i)re service for curing rat infestations would soon have the F(i)r(e) Brigades' Union hammering on the door to the Mayor's Parlour! On the other hand; a council that provides a fre(e) service might have problems from the rat(e) payers come next election.
--

Brian



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Our council provides a free service for some pests, including rats. Pretty prompt service too, although thankfully we think the local cats got ours and they never bothered putting poison down.
--
Mike Buckley
RD350LC2 GPZ750 Turbo
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Of course I should have typed free. Many local authorities DO provide a free service to eliminate rats because they pose a serious public health problem.
Peter Crosland
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Many councils provide a free rodent control service.
--
Skipweasel
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
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contains these words:

Thank you for your erudite contribution bringing to our attention the steps taken by caring councils in the extremely important mater of environmental and/or public health1
But do those councils have rat-payers ? [The original poster seems to have 'e'ezed away from the thread.
....
leaving just the pedants ...
--

Brian



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Ray wrote:

I cant think of any need to pull the floor up to rewire. Wires can go in walls, in skirting board if capped, and so on. Keep your floors. If the damaged wiring still conducts it can be left there, the ends of each cable clearly marked to avoid confusion, and is available for future use for low voltage uses, phones, or more likely nothing.
NT
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Ray wrote:

Broken drains? I've seen them excavating under a concrete floor, presumably accessed from redundant drains that had served a long-gone outside toilet.
You can apparently plug the open vents on the drains & drop a smoke-bomb into the inspection chamber/manhole to locate broken drain pipes; I've never done it though.
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Look again because there must be an access point somewhere. If you can find that and block it the problem should go away. Rats can climb, burrow and jump better than you might think. My pet ferret's favourite sleeping place is in the cupboard under the sink snoozing comfortably under the dusters that were kept there. Took me a while to work out how she got into a supposedly closed cupboard. She goes down the side of the fridge, gets behind the kitchen units, climbs up the back of them by bracing her back against the units and her legs against the adjacent brick wall like a mountain climber in a 'pipe', does a 180 degree flip in mid air and then enters the cupboard through the hole at the top where the sink waste pipe comes out. Jumps down onto the top shelf from the waste pipe and then down onto the floor of the cupboard. I'm sure any self respecting rat could achieve the same level of agility.
I was so impressed I've removed the manky old polish impregnated dusters and all nasty chemicals and put a clean old sweater in there for her to sleep in.
--
Dave Baker
www.pumaracing.co.uk
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Could you though?. There was a time when I'd have tried ... :-(

a) wot's a duster?
b) what's polish?

Oy! That's my line ...
Mary

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