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Rats...
Old 03-11-2010, 08:53 AM   #1
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Rats...

It appears we have some new house guests. Rats in the attic. Or mice. A recent handyman doing some work in the attic said he saw signs of life and DW said now she hears them.

What to do. No cat, no chance for one. We live in South Florida where tree rats are common and the oh-so-beautiful palm trees around the house are also a red carpet for attic-dwellers.

Suggestions on how to eliminate the current uninvited residents are welcome. I'm not squeamish but do have a bit of a hard time in the attic.
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:01 AM   #2
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Call an exterminator? You can buy rat traps but personally I wouldn't want to mess around with rats. Ugh.

We have lots of wharf rats here in New Orleans, and we see them outside occasionally. Hopefully none are in my house. (shiver)
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:48 AM   #3
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Dead rat in the wall is pretty stinky till it gets dry, so take this with caution:
Rat poison. In my experience the rats tend to die at or around their water source after ingesting the poison. Assuming no water under the house or in the walls you should be ok..... see line one. Sticky traps are horrible - mechanical traps i feel better about, poison seems better for extermination.
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:50 AM   #4
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Mechanical rat traps with peanut butter as bait...
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:57 AM   #5
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All of these rodents love peanut butter--it's the best bait I've found. I think they'd walk into a cat's mouth if they smelled PB in there. We've never had rats, but the occasional mouse will find its way into the house. I usually trap them live and take them out to a distant field (with some snacks to get them started, and a small blanket, and a little canteen . . .). These live mousetraps are usually available at Lowes or HD.
Rats-if you want to trap them live, you could get a wire cage trap at Harbor Freight (about ten bucks). Or, get a snap trap at Lowes. I don't like the glue traps--it makes for an ugly scene.
You shouldn't have to crawl all over the attic. If they are up there, they'll come to your trap if there's a gob of PB on it. Just put it by the hatch and check it every day, replace the PB every couple of days.
Poisons: I'm not a fan. I'd rather get the beastie out of the house (alive or dead).
Happy hunting.
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Old 03-11-2010, 10:07 AM   #6
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Eeeewwwwww...rethinking about where to live in Florida. Must remember not to live near palm trees nearby.
Me? I'd just pay an exterminator as I'm a total sissy about rats....eeeeewwwwwww!
I've used those mice trap poisons that mice eat before and they work well, but a mouse dying in the house is alot less stinky than a rat. Had a cat or something die underneath my pier and beam home in Houston/Bellaire really, and it took a few months for the smell to die finally. Not pleasant at all.
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Old 03-11-2010, 10:10 AM   #7
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I live in a house where the majority of the occupants object to rodentcide without first trying milder rules of engagement. You could get a live trap like this (Troubleshooting under the burden of preconceived expectations). "Customer feedback" indicates a preference for Velveeta cheese (perfect sticky yet gooey consistency) with a crunchy peanut-butter outer coating.

Hawaii's #1 rodent vector is bowls of pet food. #2 is a tree full of yummy fruits like guava.
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Old 03-11-2010, 10:22 AM   #8
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Hawaii's #1 rodent vector is bowls of pet food. #2 is a tree full of yummy fruits like guava.
Here, they hang out around the canals. The further from a canal one's home is, the less likely one is to have problems with rats and nutria.
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Old 03-11-2010, 11:01 AM   #9
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First, go look for droppings to decide whether you have rats or mice. Then go buy the appropriate traps. Get about 10. For rats, I recommend glue traps, and nail them down. To be more humane, check them daily, and humanely whack the rat in the head with a big stick. Put the traps along the wall. Do some research online. I also recommend against poison.

Next, walk around the outside of your house and figure out where they are getting in, then seal those places.
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Old 03-11-2010, 11:39 AM   #10
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First, go look for droppings to decide whether you have rats or mice. Then go buy the appropriate traps. Get about 10. For rats, I recommend glue traps, and nail them down. To be more humane, check them daily, and humanely whack the rat in the head with a big stick. Put the traps along the wall. Do some research online. I also recommend against poison.

Next, walk around the outside of your house and figure out where they are getting in, then seal those places.
I like TA's strategies. You really need to hit this problem with a big hammer and right away. The situation is not likely to improve on its own.

For rats/mice, don't bother with live trapping. Use a variety of glue and mechanical traps and baits (although I agree with others that peanut butter is tops) and buy more of whichever type of trap and bait works best.

If you don't get results (no further indication of their presence) fairly quickly, get 2 - 3 proposals from exterminators.

My usual spring problem of possums, racoons and ground hogs digging under the porch and patio to make dens has started already. Later it will be squirrels chewing on lawn building and wrecking the bird feeders. I do use live traps for all these as I haven't been able to locate anything to do a more "permanent" job with animals this large. But it's a pita driving miles away to relocate them when I could just be dropping them into a garbage bag and then into the trash.......
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Old 03-11-2010, 11:53 AM   #11
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Ugh I recall once having to dispose of a mouse in a sticky trap that was alive, with just it's leg stuck. We had winter gloves on trying to free it but the sticky was stronger than bone as we accidentally snapped the leg, what a horrible sound that was.

If I remember correctly we panicked and tossed (now sufffering even more) mouse still attached to trap into a nearby dumpster and fled.
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Old 03-11-2010, 12:12 PM   #12
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What ever you do, do it quickly. A couple will turn into a Kagillion quite fast. In fact, I have been told that if you have any evidence at all, it is already an infestation.
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Old 03-11-2010, 12:18 PM   #13
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I had a smiliar problem 2-3 years ago...I kept hearing sounds coming from the attic. I didn't know if it was mice, rats or something else. I finally went up in the attic and waited/watched for awhile and finally saw a squirrel near the chimney area in the ceiling. Apparently it had been nesting in my attic for some time because it had gone to the bathroom up there and had literally caused the outside house overhang/venting area to rot through...pretty gross. Anyway, I called an exterminator and he determined that they were coming in through the chimney. He rigged up some wires near the opening where they were getting in and hooked the wires up to electricity. The only way for the squirrels to get in or out of the attic was to go over the wire. I think I ended up with 2 fried squirrels....not a very humane to get rid of them but at least it worked. After they were gone, he closed up the hole and repaired the roof overhang that had rotted through.

I'd encourage you to get rid of whatever you have fairly soon because they can do alot of damage, whether it be chewing through wires or other damage as happened in my case.
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Old 03-11-2010, 12:19 PM   #14
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Ugh I recall once having to dispose of a mouse in a sticky trap that was alive, with just it's leg stuck. We had winter gloves on trying to free it but the sticky was stronger than bone as we accidentally snapped the leg, what a horrible sound that was.

If I remember correctly we panicked and tossed (now sufffering even more) mouse still attached to trap into a nearby dumpster and fled.
just so. tried sticky traps in the desert and it was painful trapping a dipodomy. Kangaroo rat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
they are just too cute. Did some live trapping - the FIL used to drop live traps with targeted critters in a barrel of water, then feed the desert - protein doesn't sit around long out there. We are softer and took unwanted critters for a ride (to a farm upstate where they could run and play <jk>), but live traps require constant monitoring down there to be humane. Doubt that poison is humane, but the inhumanity is less obvious. Haven't used it in the desert - no desire to poison roadrunners or ravens or other meat eaters.
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Old 03-11-2010, 12:30 PM   #15
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Ugh I recall once having to dispose of a mouse in a sticky trap that was alive, with just it's leg stuck. We had winter gloves on trying to free it but the sticky was stronger than bone as we accidentally snapped the leg, what a horrible sound that was.

If I remember correctly we panicked and tossed (now sufffering even more) mouse still attached to trap into a nearby dumpster and fled.
If you're squimish, better stick to live traps. Whacking the mouse stuck on the sticky trap would have resulted in a humane dispatch from its dilema. But I understand..... if ya just can't do it, ya just can't do it!

Note that relocating OP's rats after catching them in a live trap isn't doing anyone any favors. You're just moving the problem around.
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Old 03-11-2010, 12:57 PM   #16
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If you gotta kill the rat(s), mechanical traps seem pretty humane to me. It snaps the critter's spine in less than 20 ms and they never see it coming. Disposal is a breeze too.
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Old 03-11-2010, 01:02 PM   #17
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My usual spring problem of possums, racoons and ground hogs digging under the porch and patio to make dens has started already. Later it will be squirrels chewing on lawn building and wrecking the bird feeders. I do use live traps for all these as I haven't been able to locate anything to do a more "permanent" job with animals this large. But it's a pita driving miles away to relocate them when I could just be dropping them into a garbage bag and then into the trash.......
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Old 03-11-2010, 01:45 PM   #18
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You don't want stinky rat carcasses up in the attic, and if you don't want to go up there to deal with it yourself, you want them to leave on their own. Exterminators have concoctions that will make the little suckers take dirt naps, but also make them incredibly thirsty before they croak. They abandon your house for the nearest source of water before they go to Rat Heaven.
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Old 03-11-2010, 01:58 PM   #19
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The only way for the squirrels to get in or out of the attic was to go over the wire. I think I ended up with 2 fried squirrels....not a very humane to get rid of them but at least it worked. After they were gone, he closed up the hole and repaired the roof overhang that had rotted through.
So the goal was a couple fried Squirrels? When you met your quota, you closed up the hole? Was it repaired in such a way that if fried Squirrel is needed again, it can be easily reopened?

So many questions, so little time.
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Old 03-11-2010, 03:32 PM   #20
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As one who suffered through a longstanding mouse infestation and learned the hard way , I recommend the following steps:

1. Exclusion. Find the entry points. Hire a professional if necessary. Once the access has been eliminated and you have a captive audience then...

2. Use the trap of your choice. Again, hiring a professional may be money well spent, especially if you're squeamish about dealing with the dead/captives. I believe a reputable exterminator will guarantee their work.
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