all creatures great and small (part ii)

i have so not missed the rodent population of my home…

…and i can’t stress that enough.

it’s one of the wonderful things about getting the roof redone. since then (knock on wood) no critters other than the three pups in the house. the way it should be. prior to that? a whole different story – rampant building in the cotton fields that border our neighborhood coupled with settling foundations leading to big gaps in your roof trim equaled out to a rodent issue that, at times, was border line biblical.

i had days i caught over ten rats, in a single trap, in a single day. and would still nab between four and six the day after. not that it couldn’t have probably caught more, just that i worked that day so i couldn’t empty the trap as much. it was not a good time for this house, needless to say.

and i hope we never see it anywhere close to that again.

that being said, no house is impermeable to rodents and the other day we heard a weird “chatter” noise that sounded like squirrels (we have several squirrel feeders and such out back, partially due to some guilt left over from the roofing stuff) which freaked me out. i DID have a squirrel get in back when and while i got it back out of the house the same day, given we’re talking a full sized life fucking squirrel being in my kitchen and utility room, i did so with little to no damage. so had a little p.t.s.d. when i heard the noise as it seemed to be coming from the A/C closet, and the unit was running at the time. when it cut off, the chatter got LOUDER.

standing around the unit at various angles we could pinpoint the noise – it was UNDER the unit, in the little space with the intake vents. and you could hear the pitter patter of little feet.


we prepped – all bedroom and bathroom doors were shut. all the dogs were put in another part of the house, and the hall was blocked off with a big open cardboard box. i slowly lowered one of the louvered intake vents to see no squirrel, but what appeared to be a mother and baby(ish) rat, but they had super long tales compared to their bodies. i had os run and fetch two smaller boxes out of my studio, and within minutes i’d snagged the mother barehanded and got her in a box. junior proved to be more illusive. his tail was pretty damn tiny and kept slipping through my fingers. i pushed the vent back in place and had os hold it while i took the “momma box” outside and ran it all the way to the end of the sidewalk. i figured that way, if she did get out, it would be a bit tougher for her to get back in. i came back in, swapped places with the boy, and tried a few more times to grab junior by the tail with no luck.

finally resolved to the fact that that wouldn’t happen, i took to the last resort and set a spring rat trap with a big dollop of peanut butter under the a/c and left it. i went out to the end of the sidewalk and was really surprised the box WASN’T empty, so i walked it down to the cotton field at the end of the block, turned the box upside down, and dumped mamma rat out. she took off under the SUV in the nearest driveway, but when she did she didn’t so much as “run” as she did “hop” in really rapid time.

kangaroo rats? the movement says yes, but the tail said no.

anywho, i checked the trap later that day and the next and it hadn’t been tripped. the following morning nik said she saw junior (or at least a rat fitting my description) out on the back porch near the table behind my grill and when i took off it did the same hop thing. my theory is it got in via the pipe in the slab that carries the a/c plumbing and that’s how it ended up under the unit where said pipe pops back out of the slab. the trap is still in place as of when i’m writing this in case it comes back through (and is still empty) but by the time you read this i should have the thing blocked with a mix of spray foam and steel wool so insure it’s not a rodent entry again. once it’s blocked? THEN i’ll pull the damn trap!

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