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17 January, 2011

Silence of the Rats

As usual, scrolling back (or even using the keywords I so laboriously entered while avoiding completion of some other chore) to find the exact words is too much effort, but I do recall writing a couple of posts about the rat invasion of Olympia. At first I was trying to be a good neighbor, but when they started to try and make themselves at home in my house, I drew the line.

There must have been some beer-fueled bravura, or bravado (whichever is mas macho), threats served up hot, promises and plans promulgated.

I did bludgeon one, and probably one brood got dumped from their garbage can home into a city truck. But as for the pellet gun, slingshot, and elaborately conceived deadfall traps (which I would of course bury so that they could become archaeology one day), well none of that happened. If you've read my earlier stuff (back before I sold out), then you're aware of my pro crastinator status.

Instead, it ended up being money paid to the rat guy. They confirmed that rats were only 10% of their business a few years back, and now it's more like 60. Already, local Tea Party activists are clogging blogs and talk radio with their "composting causes the Black Death" campaign. They're especially pleased to be able to use "Black" in a denigratory way while maintaining plausible deniability against charges of racism. Plausible Deniability, you remember, don't you, how Prophet Reagan made that the 11th Commandment?

Oh, rats, yeah.

So the guy comes and seals (most) access points, sets traps, bags a few, says he thinks activity is decreasing. I thought I was smelling one, but he could not find anything, and said maybe it was babies of a momma rat he'd trapped. That happens sometimes, rodent broods abandoned, then dead.

But as it turned out, I found the source, trap snapped on it's rat neck, hidden on the garage floor behind something. By then, it had gone from the first sick must, past the stink spores blooming into the whole space, to a nasal assaulting fish-corpse miasma. The body flattened where it rested on the floor. I was not happy with rat guy, but then again it had escaped detection by the residents again and again, so I never said anything.

Actually, the residents avoided the garage, especially after dark. Noises made us jumpy. The girls decided it was up to the guy to do anything out there and outside, and the guy took to making lots of noise so rodents would scatter.

Rat guy didn't totally seal up the entries the first time, not so much out of lacsadasicality as from the knowledge that once you start trapping, rats are smart enough to notice, and may be inclined to leave. Trap them under the house or in the attic, and they may get deparate and chew their way out. Into the house, of course, drywall being the path of least resistance.

So now there've been some rat casualties, and the survivors seem to have fled. Known entries are sealed. The disturbing scratches on the fiberglass shower that sounded like a rat was inside, and maybe moving in some rat furniture--those sounds are gone.

Seems like they're stuck outside for the time being. Here's hoping.

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