Rattus Pigmentus

There must be a better title for this, but is too weird/gross/funny to hold back until I think of one.

This :

Some months ago I had a rodent problem. Well, it had been a problem on and off for a few years, started when my neighbour used my chicken shed for a while (for chickens). The rats loved it, free food. They weren’t a bother at the time, entertaining to watch from the balcony. Then they built a shed of their own down the bottom of the village (the neighbours, not the chickens or rats). While the chickens were relocated a hundred metres, the rats decided my house was a better bet.

It was incredibly annoying. Ok, I’m not great at keeping a tidy kitchen. But nothing is an obstacle to them. Cupboard doors, hah! Make a hole in the back. When I started keeping veg in a metal-screened box, they still gnawed in.

They nested in between the kitchen ceiling and the office floor. I tried lifting a floorboard in the corner, non-starter, the screws that had been used wrecked the board on removing, would have ruined the floor to go in that way.

I didn’t want to kill them, just get rid. I tried a humane trap bought locally, caught a couple but most escaped, strong little varmints.

Rodents can be a health risk, so I wasn’t ruling out lethal means, them or me. Poison wasn’t really an option, I’ve got a dog, he has catholic taste, might nibble on a rat corpse.

Funniest was trying shock tactics. Drilled a 2cm hole in each corner of the office floor. Lit a banger/firecracker and covered it with a pan, boom! Dodgy Chinese fireworks, lifted pan into the air, deafening (ear protection after first attempt).

But their reaction to “move out!” was “what..?”.

Finally I looked on Amazon and found a humane trap that was pretty darn military. Most days over a week or so I’d wake up to a caught critter. No surprise they beat the earlier trap, some were the size of small cats. I relocated them down below the village, where coincidentally a lot of semi-feral cats hang out.

It worked! Not heard one for months.

Back to the title, first image.

I’ve been doing a bit of spring cleaning, rearranging the office. Moved a cabinet thing around, found loads of horrors behind it. Including chewed-up oil paint tubes and pigmented poo!

The paints were oil-based (maybe linseed), so it’s not too hard to imagine them figuring out this, for them, was tinned food.

What gets me is I’ve never kept oil paints in the office. They must have dragged the tubes up the steep marble back stairs before feasting.

I shouldn’t be too surprised. Must have been this time last year, spring cleaning in the bedroom, found heaps of hazelnut shells on top of the wardrobe. I might conceivably had a bag of hazelnuts at Xmas, two floors down, but never noticed a disappearance that would explain the heaps. The nearest good hazelnut tree I know of is about 500m away down by the river. Wherever they got them, rodents, respect!

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