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I got me some scary-smart rats

  1. Dec 13, 2011 #1

    Chi Meson

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    We have ducks (remember) and they live in a chicken coop (we'll get chickens in the spring too). Having a mini farm has brought in a mini-infestation of mini rats. But dang, they are smart. I've tried four kinds of trap/bait combinations, so far. They avoid them.

    I have eschewed poison up till now, but found one that looked like it was completely contained, and wouldn't harm our dog, cat, or ducks. It features a block of poisoned grain inside a u-shaped enclosure that only rats and small vermin could get into. I put this next to an opening under our deck.

    This morning the enclosure was completely plugged up with dirt; the little buggers just gave me the finger!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 13, 2011 #2

    turbo

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    Rats are smart!!! Got to give them that.
     
  4. Dec 13, 2011 #3
    !!!?!!!

    What's attracting them? The animal's food?
     
  5. Dec 13, 2011 #4

    turbo

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    Got animals? Got animal food (especially grains!)? You've got rats, or mice at a minimum.
     
  6. Dec 13, 2011 #5
  7. Dec 13, 2011 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    We had to move to another area for a time. The following August when they worked the farm fields around us, we were invaded by huge rats. They even came right through the wall to get the cat food.

    I quickly learned that a trap is only good for one use. However, if you clean them with bleach and water after each kill, they can be reused.
     
  8. Dec 13, 2011 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    Here you go, Chi, problem solved.

    giantcat.jpg
     
  9. Dec 13, 2011 #8

    turbo

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    Back a few hundred years ago, ships would be "manned" with ferrets and cats. The ferrets could get into real tight places and run the rats out of the cargo, and the cats would kill and eat the rats. Ferrets were quite prominent guardians of middle-east granaries well before cats (think Egypt) became such a fad. Ferrets were able to go anywhere a rat could go, and they wouldn't eat the grain.
     
  10. Dec 13, 2011 #9

    Chi Meson

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    I'm liking the sound of ferrets. I'll trade two useless guinea pigs for a nice ferret!

    Do rats eat guinea pigs?
     
  11. Dec 13, 2011 #10

    AlephZero

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    You only get one "shot" at rats with any particular brand of poison / bait. If you don't kill them all the first time they try it, you are wasting your time after that. The trouble is, the poisons that are available to the general public are too weak to kill them with one shot. It's worth getting a professional if the problem is serious, because it isn't going to get any less serious on its own.

    If they are getting into buildings, plugging the hole with a mixture of weak cement (lots of sand, not much cement powder) and broken glass usually works. They will try to chew through the cement, get a face full of glass, and go some place else.

    Good old fashioned spring traps are about as good as it gets, but obviously not where other small animals can get caught. Live traps baited with chocolate are OK, but you then have the problem of what to do with a caged live rat which is not only angry but high on caffeine as well.

    On the other hand mice are dumb. All you need to know is that they prefer to move around with their whiskers touching something, like a wall, rather than run across open spaces. Set some traps where they will run over them, and you don't need any bait at all.
     
  12. Dec 13, 2011 #11

    turbo

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    Ferrets would, unless they are the are they well-behaved kind that I have owned. Ferrets love attention and interaction.
     
  13. Dec 13, 2011 #12

    AlephZero

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    I'm not sure you need to use the bleach, but the important point is never handle the trap with your bare hands. Always wear rubber gloves, so the trap never gets to smell of "an animal that isn't a rat".

    The old-style method was to wrap your hands in an old grain sack, so the trap only got to smell of grain and sack-cloth, not of human.
     
  14. Dec 13, 2011 #13

    dlgoff

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    Do ferrets eat ducks?
     
  15. Dec 13, 2011 #14
    I used to have a ferret and did some research on the diet and such. You can live feed them, basically baby chickens, so I would say that they would probably eat a baby duck. That is assuming you have a farm-style rat-hunting ferret though. The docile house ferret that I had wouldn't hurt a bug.
     
  16. Dec 13, 2011 #15

    Ivan Seeking

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    We found it to be absolute. Once a trap had killed a rat, it never worked again until cleaned with bleach. Once I figured that out, I killed about 50 rats in a week.

    No doubt human scent could have an effect as well, but that was never an issue for the first kill.
     
  17. Dec 13, 2011 #16
    This is good to know. Every fall I get mouse intruders. Traps weren't so successful. I ended up putting absolutely all my food in the fridge so there's nothing to attract them.
     
  18. Dec 13, 2011 #17

    BobG

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  19. Dec 18, 2011 #18

    Chi Meson

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    Update: 2 rats down last night; 4 total

    I feel only slightly bad/evil, but hey, they're rats. I found most of their holes and plugged up their downhill escape and filled up their burrow with water: two hoses into two uphill holes. The water ran from both hoses for 5+ minutes before I saw water come out of the downhill hole.

    Yikes!

    It went below 20F last night (-10 C). This morning, two frozen rats.
     
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