Well, maybe invasion is too strong a word, but something has been scratching around in the ceiling of my living room for the last few days. I suspect either a mouse or a chipmunk. Anyone got any suggestions for exterminators or way I could get him out myself?
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There are a number of humane traps you can purchase, or even rent. You will want to act swiftly, in case the animal is trapped - if it dies up there you will have some serious issues with the resulting decay that can cause black mold, and worse.
The M60 machine gun is effective, but rather inefficient:
A mouse you probably wouldn't hear. Chipmunks are not impossible, but not the most likely either. Raccoons, opossums and - now don't get mad at me here - roof rats are the major likely possibilities. Look outside under the eves all around the house for possible entry points. They can get in through some very, very tight cracks. Look for dark, dirty fur rub marks around any openings, no matter how small and impossible they may seem. Once you locate where they are getting in it might help in identifying the species, then choose the appropriate live trap. If you have access to look in the attic above the ceiling the droppings are a sure method of identification.
One thing for sure, whetever it is, you want it out before winter and you want the entry point(s) located and permanently sealed. A professional might be the best bet. See if the Humane Society has a list of critter control companies. Good luck and please report back.
FYI - I evicted a major family of chipmunks from under my garage foundation and I've had a Norway rat under my front deck!!! The rat experience was disgusting. We had a big bird feeder right off the edge of the deck that spilled a ton of seed. Ten feet away we have a small ornamental goldfish pond. Unknowingly, I set up the perfect habitat for a rat. A food source - spilled seed - a water source ( unlike mice rats must have a water source) and perfect living quarters for tunneling under the deck. I was horrified when I saw the rat eating the spilled seed. Then I understood what the tunnel entrances were at the edge of the deck. I had been filling them up and replacing the mulch and they would promptly reappear. We poison baited and got a new feeder that doesn't spill any seed. No more rat!!! BTW when I saw that rat out of my living room window my scream was loud enough to get my husband out of the shower and steaking into the living room. I don't ever want to see another rat again.
But seriously folks...
Glue traps will quickly catch the rascal, but then you have to listen to it scream, plus all the bad karma associated with rodenticide. Poison bait pellets will kill with less or no noise, but the mouse or chipmunk carcass will stink for a period of time.
It might also be a bat, as I had a bat scratching around once when I thought we had mice scurrying in the cailing. THAT is garnd fun when said bat escapes - whooeee, what hollering and dancing!
Get a cat. Or a rat terrier. My sister in DC lends out her rat terrier to the neighbors to help control attic critters.
Glue traps are horrible ways to die - the animal suffers, tries to chew its own limbs off and worse...if you are going to kill the animal at least make the death quick.
If it's an older home with those vents or whatever they're called on the sides of the house near the pitch of the roof, Fox Squirrels can get into this area that's between the rooftop and the ceiling.
I saw rats in our backyard this year for the first time. They were bigger than a chipmunk but smaller than a squirrel. I also feed birds. I didn't react the same way as holland, but I was surprised to see the rats. I thought they were cute and entertaining to watch, but I didn't want them. I thought rats were nocturnal, but I saw these feeding at just about any time during the day.
From "playing around" with trying to rid those rats from our yard, I learned the rats are a lot smarter than squirrels, and I thought squirrels were crafty. So I upgraded my rat-removal approach.
I went to Bass Pro and bought the Crosman American Classic .177 Caliber Air Pistol for 60 or 70 dollars. When I saw the two rats, I slowly and quietly raised a back window and shot one, and then a short time later, I shot the other. They were only 25 feet away, so they were easy kills.
I do not use poison because a poison critter can stagger out into the yard and be taken by a hawk. I saw this happen with a Cooper's Hawk, which is the most common type of hawk you would see in your yard in the city. The hawk digests the poison critter, which could harm the hawk.
For mice, the best trap, in my opinion, is the battery-operated Victor Electronic Mouse Trap. It's simple, clean, and quick. It's rated humane. Bait it with bird seed. The trap costs 15 to 20 dollars at The Andersons.
About rats - I use to have pet rats. In fact, I did alot of rescues of rats. Many of my pets were former lab animals, or discarded pets. In total I had 9 rats over the span of 5 years.
Here are some things I know aobut rats first hand:
*They are smart, as smart as a small dog, or even a yong child. Domestic rats learn their names, can be potty trained, and do tricks.
*They are highly social - typically where there is one there are more.
*Rats do not have a specific sleep pattern, and can adjust their sleeping habits.
*Rats have poor eyesight, but amazing hearing and smell.
*Some rats can breed up to once a month, with litter sizes being 1-13 pups.
*Rats mature at around 3-4 months of age.
*Rats are climbers, diggers, and swimmers. Rats require ample water.
*Rats eat mice. If you have rats, you won't have mice (fi you do have mice, they wont last long).
*Rats are scavengers - they eat plants, meats, dead things, human food, etc. Rats will store food in their dens, so starving is not an effective means to deal with a rat.
*Rats have a social structure - typically with a king rat, and a queen.
Ah, squirrels. Of course. That's the most likely suspect. We think that the rat(s) ate the poison and died in their tunnels under the deck. We shoved the bate packets under the deck and they, along with the rat, totally disappeared. I say rats, because from what I read, for every one you see you have five. Oh my God. There is nothing cute and entertaining to me about a disease carrying rat. Especially when it's less than 10' from your front door. Next thing you know -it's the house.
Here are a few of the diseases that wild rats can carry:
the oxyuroid pinworm Syphacia muris in 67% of the rats
the strongoloyd parasite Nippostronglyus brasiliensis found in 23%
the liver worm Capillaria in 23%
the cestode Hymenolepsis diminuta in 22%
Toxocara cati causing Toxocariasis in 15%
the oxyuroid pinworm Heterakis spp. in 14%
the cestode Hymenolepsis nana in 11%
the intestinal tapeworm Taenia taeniaeformis in 11%
Leptospira spp. bacteria causing Weil's disease in 14%
Listeria spp. bacteria causing listeriosis in 11%
Yersinia enterocolitica bacteria causing yersiniosis in 11%
Pasturella spp. bacteria causing Pasturellosis in 6%
Pseudomonas spp. bacteria causing Meilioidosis in 4%
Cryptosporidium parvum causing cryptosporidiosis in 63% of the rats
Toxoplasma gondii causing toxoplasmosis in 35%
Trypanosoma lewisii in 29%
Eimeria separata in 8%
Coxiella burnetti evidence of infection by Q fever in 34%
Hantavirus causing Hantaan-fever or hemorrhagic fever in 5%
Ectoparasites (note: these ectoparasites are vectors for diseases which are transmissible to humans, such as typhus)
Fleas found on 100% of the rats
Mites found on 67%
Lice found on 38%In Norway rats examined in Chunchon, Korea, Seong et al. (1995) found the following helminths:
Capillaria hepatica in 25.6% of rats
Hymenolepis diminuta in 32.6%
Taenia taeniaeformis metacestode in 65.1%
Brachylaima mascomai was found and studied in wild rats living in the Llobregat delta in Spain (Gracena and Gonzalez-Moreno 2002).
Trichinosis (transmitted when humans eat undercooked meat from hogs that consumed food contaminated with feces from infected rats):
The spiralis causing trichinosis in humans and swine, Trichinella britovi, was found to be prevalent in Norway rats in Croatia (Marinculic et al. 2001)
42.4% of wild rats were found to be infected with trichenellosis on a pig farm (Leiby et al. 1990)
19% of rats from waste disposal sites in Finland carried Trichenella spp. (Mikkonen et al. 2005)
21.4% of wild rats from a hog farm in the Slovak Repuclib carried Trichenella spp. (Hurnikova et al. 2005)
Wild Norway rats were found to be a reservoir host of Cryptosporidium parvum, with an overall parasite occurence of 24%. The percentage of rats infected with the parasite varied according to age, sex and season (Quy et al. 1999).
16% of wild Norway rats in and around Saint Petersburg, Russia carried Leptospirosis (Tokarevich et al. 2002)
45% of wild Norway rats on the Ripa Grande-San Michele port in Rome, Italy carried Leptospirosis (Pezella et al. 2004)
16.9% of brain tissue samples and 27.1% of kidney samples from 59 wild Norway rats collected along the Black Sea in Turkey tested positive for Leptospirosis (Sunbul et al. 2001).
low percentages have been reported in populations of Norway rats in the United States (Davis 1948, Davis 1951b, Nakashima et al. 1978)
8% of fecal samples from wild Norway rats from the West Midlands, UK, tested positive for salmonella (Hilton et al.2002).
Six Sarcocystis spp. were identified in the muscles of 33% of wild rodents (Rattus species and Bandicota indica) in central Thailand. One of the parasite species, Sarcocystis cymruensis, was prevalent in R. norvegicus (Jakel et al. 1997)
Kabrane-Lazizie et al. (1999) studied Hepatitis E in wild rats in the United States. They trapped 239 rats from three widely separated regions of the U.S., and the infection rates were very high: 77% of rats from Maryland, 90% of rats from Hawaii, and 44% of rats from Louisiana had been infected with Hepatitis E
31% of wild Norway rats (114 out of 362) in Japan tested positive for hepatitis E antibodies (Herano et al. 2003)
Norway rats found infected with hantavirus (Seoul virus) in Baltimore, Maryland (Hinson et al. 2004)
First reported case of a wild rat carrying Seoul hantavirus on a wild Norway rat in Europe (France) (Heyman et al. 2004)
31% of 29 Norway rats captured in Buenos Aires had antibodies to Seoul hantavirus (Seijo et al. 2003)
20.9% (39 out of 187) of Norway rats captured in Cambodia had antibodies to Seoul hantavirus (Reynes et al. 2003)
1.53% (7 individuals) of Norway rats captured in a fresh food market tested positive to Hantaan virus in Bangkok, Thailand (Kantakamalakul et al. 2003).
No wonder politicians are sometimes referred to as rats.
heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh he hhe heh h.......................
Politicians as rats using the info that OhioKimono posted above. I think this explains some of our problems.
- Politicians are as smart as a small dog, or even a yong child.
- Politicians learn their names, can be potty trained, and do tricks.
- Politicians are highly social - typically where there is one there are more.
- Some politicians can breed up to once a month, with litters sizes being 1-13 pups.
- Politicians are climbers, diggers, and swimmers.
- Politicians are scavengers.
- Politicians have a social structure - typically with a king and a queen.
JR, you made me laugh. Thanks :)
Question, if there is rat poison...is their politican poison? I presume the poison most effective against politicians is the truth.
a question for those that have had issues with rats....
what part of town do you live? i know rats don't care what zip code you're in, but i'm just curious. i live in old orchard and we saw our first rat last winter. my wife has seen it (or a its friend) a couple of times since then.
my wife and neighbor called the city and someone came out. he mentioned the construction at UT might have brought the rats out (we live very close). he also said there's plenty of habitat in any neighborhood to house these pests. around our house, he pointed out bird feeders, wood piles, thick vegetation (huge hosta and fern beds), etc, etc.
it makes me wish we had some neighborhood cats running around.
I live in the Village of Holland in a subdivision built in the early '50's. It's very much a settled neighborhood bounded by Airport Highway, Angola and McCord. There are no alleys with refuse sitting out. The yards are reasonably well maintained. However my neighbor has had a perpetual pile of wood, much of it just tumbled about, not stacked. I learned the hard way how attractive spilled bird seed is to rats. I've lived here for 32 years and this was my first encounter. We've been feeding birds the whole time. The pond - water source - is 10 years old. The key was a badly designed bird feeder that spilled too much seed. Slowly, my husband is putting seed catching trays under all the (14) feeders. Some are hard to retrofit so he's having to get a little creative. I'm not kidding when I say that I never want to see a rat here again.
Tear 'em up!
The glue traps are the most effective. Firearms of various types are the most entertaining. Not much beats an M-60 unloading on a Norway Brown for pure entertainment value.
Someone makes a .410 revolver (Taurus?) that would do nicely for rat control.
Of course, since you don't know what it is that's making the scratching noise, I suggest you arm yourself as you see fit, obtain one or more light sources and investigate when you hear the noise. Don't forget to bring your Bible, crucifix and holy water.
I hate rats. We never had any rats around our place until about 60 years ago Old Man Gear decided to start keeping chickens, and once you get chickens you get rats. We never have managed to eradicate all of them, but one way or another we've kept 'em on the run.
I live in West Toledo near Elmhurst Elementary. Our home was built around 1950. This is the first year I've seen rats in our yard in the eight years that I've lived here. I've been feeding birds that entire time. Besides the feeders, I also scatter millet on the ground in the fall, winter, and spring for the juncos and migrating sparrows, and it's never attracted rats before. I don't plan to stop putting down bird seed. In fact, the first backyard junco of the fall should show up soon.
My plan is to shoot the rats if I see any more. I enjoy that air pistol. Got some targets, so I can stay sharp with practice in the garage. I'm feeling a bit like Bill Murray in Caddy Shack, except with a different varmint. If you detect any earth-rumbling explosions, you know I've upgraded my rat-removal process to another level.
I wonder if vacant homes or properties that have gone unsold for more than a couple years are contributing in some way. It's interesting, holland, that you mentioned a small water pond. A home two houses away from ours has been vacant for over 2.5 years, and it used to have a water garden pond. I may have to trespass and check on its status and drain the garden pond somehow if necessary. Or blow it up, Carl style.
Postal said someone "mentioned construction at UT might have brought the rats out."
The new Elmhurst Elementary school down the street opened over a year ago. Maybe the construction of that school in late 2007 or 2008 contributed some how.
Unless the vacant homes have food and water in them, or nearby - they are not ideal places for rats. Most vacant homes have their water turned off, and are winterized to prevent pipes from freezing and then bursting.
Rats need three things, water, food and a protected place to tunnel or den. I suppose it's possible that construction could displace them from their dens and force them to look elsewhere. I had all three things rats want within 10' of each other and within 10' of my front door. Who knew?
jr That abandoned water garden might also be a haven for mosquitos. It could be hard to deal with if it's a large one without doing it serious damage, such as poking a hole in it. Mosquito fish will take care of mosquito larvae ( supplied free by Lucas County TSAD ). But eliminating it as a water source for rats won't be easy. You could net it. Pond netting is dirt cheap. It's the same stuff some poeple use to cover cherry trees to keep the birds from the fruit.
"Most vacant homes have their water turned off, and are winterized to prevent pipes from freezing and then bursting."
Not this home. My neighbor and I found that out this past February. I guess that's why you said "most" vacant homes. The bank or or whoever owns the home did not properly shut it down.
Back in early February, water could be heard but not seen in my neighbor's basement drain. This was when it warmed and rained after our cold January. We had no explanation for the water except maybe something went wrong with the abandoned home next to my neighbor, and somehow water was running under the ground, which didn't seem good. So one night, he and a buddy broke into the empty home and discovered the basement was flooded. Water poured down from a broken pipe. It had been 23 months since the previous owner left, and no one shut the water off properly.
I sloshed into the abandoned home's finished basement with my chest waders and a flashlight. Items floated about. The damage. It was a nice basement. The cold water was near the top of my chest waders. I had to stand on my tippy toes to avoid taking on water, but some spilled over. I had to plunge an arm into the water to reach the valves. I think the water was colder than fishing the Maumee River in March. But I got the valves turned off, which eventually solved my neighbor's basement drain issue. I think the water in a vacant home is suppose to be shut off at the street by whoever owns the house. At least turn the valves off in the basement.
How awful. I wonder to whom that big water bill was billed to?
An update: haven't heard anything scratching around in the last day or so, but had a little stakeout next to where my birdfeeder was (close to the house) and saw a mouse jump up under the siding. Going to clean up that birdseed on the ground and put a couple of traps out both near where I saw him and maybe in the attic.
Remember Mr. Jinks? "I'll tear those meeces to pieces!"