Friday, October 13, 2006

You Dirty Rat

I almost didn't post about this because I don't want you all to get the wrong idea about my living conditions, but here goes anyway...

I've posted a bit about my house here and there over the years, not enough to clue in any stalkers of course, but little tid bits. It's a tiny cottage, the sort that was inexpensive worker housing when it was originally built, in an inner city suburb of Sydney. Think the classic Sydney terrace house, but only a single story (if that helps). In the past 30 or so years my suburb has gone through the classic inner-city renewal, and like mine most of the homes in my street have been renovated and added to over the years. A living room and bathroom extension which was done by my landlords prior to my moving in has meant that it is still a fairly small house, but it's nice and comfortable. Some original features, polished floorboards etc, but modernised.

So, my point is that yes it's an old house but it ain't no filthy pit.

Anyhoo, I think I've set the scene. So last night I was watching tv,
Jamie's Kitchen to be exact (about the lead up to the opening of Fifteen in Melbourne) when I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye. A sort of scuttle. Two seconds later I was squealing like a virgin at a prison rodeo, as a rat quickly turned tail and shot back out of my living room into the kitchen. A rat. In my kitchen

My house has a few draughty gaps here and there where the old house meets the newer extension, ones that have been plugged as they've been discovered. Little hidden places where the creature might have found a tiny hole to squeeze through. I have had very little problem with any kind of pest, so it's not a regular occurance by any stretch of the imagination. The rat just got lucky, or unlucky perhaps.

So anyway, cue freak-out. I used to have a pet rat many years ago, and I think they are prefectly lovely creatures, but the idea of a wild one running through my house does freak me out. To make matters worse, post freak-out he (or she) must have managed to squeeze themselves somehow under the baseboards of my kitchen cupboards. Yup, I could hear it scrabbling around in there - but a cautious opening of all the cupboards revealed nothing. It was like underneath the dishwasher or something.

After an hour of so I then noticed silence. In one respect this is even more daunting, because when I could hear it I at east knew where it was. Best case scenario: it found it's way back out of my house the same way it came in, and it has gone off to live on a nice farm in the country. Worst case scenario: it was elsewhere in the house. Actually, the other bad, bad scenario would be if it had a massive coronary brought on by the shreaking of one very small, but very loud, queen and turned up it's toes - somewhere unreachable. ::shudder::

I inspected the rest of the house and couldn't find it, so eventually I went to bed... but not before I sealed up the gap under my bedroom door with one of those long sausage shaped draught excluders. Now I'm faced with the daunting moral dilemma of whether to buy baits or a trap, just in case it's still alive somewhere. I really don't want to kill it, it has a right to live as much as I do, but I don't like the idea of having it running around in my house. The hygiene of it especially. As it is, my kitchen is about to get the spring clean of a lifetime this weekend.

::shudder::

Anyone got any advice?

16 comments:

M-H said...

I live in Leichhardt and I had a huuuge dead one in the shed last winter. This winter I've had one scrabbling in my kitchen ceiling. I poisoned it. Sorry, but they're hardly an endangered species and they spread disease. Get thee to the supermarket and get some Ratsack. It makes them bleed internally and they get thirsty and go outside for water and die.

I won't tell you the story about the rats' nest we had in our neighbourhood in Dulwich Hill. That involved a team of council workers.

Sunshine said...

I know I shouldn't laugh - it must have been terrorising. But just the way you described the whole scene, I just can't help giggling out loud. :P

Oh, advice - send it to Sizzler? :P

yaniboy said...

You know what's worse than actually seeing the rat? Only hearing the scrabbling noises at 3am in the morning...

That happened to me about six months ago... never saw anything, just kept hearing it... fortunately it's stopped now.

And I'm so with M-H... get thee to the pest control products... okay, maybe not the Ratsack, coz that just sounds awful with the bleeding and whatnot... but you gotta go something... other than scream at it, obviously...

Michael Guy said...

Holy High Heels! You'd have to peel me off the ceiling if I saw a rat run through here. Isn't there some humane way of getting it out of the house? I mean, they make gizmos that plug into wall outlets that send out high-frequency sound waves. Apparently the 'noise' sends the rodents packing.

Or maybe you could just play that RENT dvd over and over and over.

The Other Andrew said...

Jeebus MG, brilliant idea. The time I was waiting for the rat to reappear felt like five hundred twenty five thousand, six hundred freakin's minutes. C'mon ratsky, no day but today!

Therin of Andor said...

Not to spook you too much, but my Dad's bread shop in the 70s had constant rat visitations (from the Chinese restaurant next door) and after several desperate months of failed attempts poisoning and trapping them (and even locking a cat in there, our rat inspector told us they needed to be locked out (ie. chicken wire stuffed up their holes. Ouch).

He also said that for every one rat you see, there are 100 more than you don't see. ;)

The Other Andrew said...

Errr, thanks for that! :)

Tyson said...

The last musical I played for, while I was standing around in the orchestra pit before a show, our theatre's rat did a run right in front of me (i'm talking less than 10 centimetres) and dashed off under the stage (where he has a direct route through tunnels back up to the bio box). Needless to say, people knew there was a rat from the screaming. :)

The Other Andrew said...

I'll bet the scream was pitch perfect though...

Miss Eudoxia said...

Bubonic Plauge is spread by rats....as is the nasty Rat Lungworm ...... hmm I am sure I can think of more, but I digress.
Feel free to borrow my two dogs for a few nights. Both experienced ratters and are on mouse patrol in my place on many occassions (the joy of living in the bush in a drought). They may slightly trash your kitchen trying to catch the rat but it is worth it!
Other option, you can borrow a diamond python fo r awhile, they tend to keep the ratus ratus away :-)

Michael said...

"Scuttle" and "scrabbling", while used to good effect in various Stephen King novels, are never very comforting around one's kitchen and den are they?

As you may have guessed, I play the RENT DVD in full, glorious surround sound pretty much 24/7 around here which, thanks to this post, may explain why I've never been plagued by a single household pest. Or guest.

Michael said...

PS Sizzler! Sunshine's shout out to that venue had me scurrying over to www.sizzler.com, and it is a hoot.

Therin of Andor said...

My Mum and Dad once went to see their first ever "R" rated movies: a triple bill of "Oh Calcutta!", "The Kama Sutra" and, appropriately enough, the animated "Fritz the Cat", at the ol' Rockdale Theatre (before it got turned into car sales yards). While they were trying to concentrate on the raunchy fun on the screen, a large rat walked out on stage and perched on the footlights. grinning at them.

At one of my previous schools, we had a new teacher arrive and he was being shown to his classroom: right next to a cemetary. Impressive enough, but on the balcony after lunch, two rats were standing on their haunches fighting over a discarded felafel in rolled Lebanese bread. Of the winner, one of the kids said to the teacher, "It was so big I thought it was a kangaroo. But it didn't have a pouch."

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

oh, unfortunately, I'm with the Ratsak brigade. but I do get to feeling a bit guilty sometimes.

at the moment we have a couple of ratus ratus in the backyard, nibbling on the last of the mandarins and darting across the back verandah in the early morning and scaring the bejeezus out of us. as long as they're outside, I don't feel too bad.

when I was about 8 or so, we had the most gi-normous rat in the backyard. we lived in a rural area, so rats did pass by every now and then (have to say, there's more in the inner west though). but this one was *huge*. my brother (7 years older) and I chased it around the yard and eventually had it holed up in the dog's kennel.

we threw the dog in, but the dog was having none of that ratting stuff (pedigree corgi, so I guess it was expecting a burrow or something).

we threw the cat in with much more assuredness. he was an enormous tabby with *attitude plus* from a pub in Parramatta. chased dogs and did away with anything that moved in no uncertain terms.

the cat did the bolt in no uncertain terms.

eventually, my brother got really annoyed and ran it through with a star picket. and then I think it got roasted over the incinerator...

I tried not to watch that bit. heh.

The Other Andrew said...

Miss E - can you even imagine me wrangling all that menagerie in my tiny place? The rat would be the least of my problems. Although, having had a pet snake many years ago I would love to meet said diamond python some day.

Michael, I think it actually has left the building. Seriously, not sign or sound of it since. I'm hoping that the scrabbling was it frantically making its way OUT to get away from my artless imitation of Angel.

Therin, did the teatre rat have its Equity ticket?

Speedy, ewwww. Gross. You know I'm of a tender disposition! So was this rat Hebe* sized? You didn't off the wrong creature by any chance did you?

(*Speedy's small chihuhua cross)

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

ha! poor Heebster! :-) you know, she has mellowed in her middle age...