Friday, 14 August 2015

Oh, rats!

An unlikely combination of our weekend shenannigans in the loft and SausageTheCat has caused us a little bit of concern today.

As I mentioned a few days ago, Dawn and I ventured into the loft on Sunday and dragged out all of the fibre glass insulation to help with moisture problems.
At the time we noticed what we thought were mouse droppings as well as a couple of empty poison sachets, but we didn't hear or see anything else to suggest there was an ongoing issue.

In retrospect this may or may not be related, but less than 24 hours later my dad and I twice heard clattering downstairs in the house that we couldn't quite place, but as it was raining pretty heavily at the time I assumed it was chunks of cement throwing themselves down the drainpipes from the gutters (which hadn't been cleaned out by Roofer #1 despite him promising to do so).

But SausageTheCat's latest rain-soaked gift to us today has raised some questions.

baby black rat incubator more
Kids these days - too much pocket money

It's not a vole, it's not a shrew and despite its humongous ears it's definitely not an elephant... so what is it?
Although I have recorded it on the StC Killboard as a mouse he's yet to actually present one to us after four months here - so could it be a baby black rat? A ratlet?*

The Rentokill website says that black rats (Rattus Rattus - imaginative) have tails that are longer than their bodies, and with our little thing here measuring-in at 5.5" in total with a 2.5" body it certainly fits the bill. They also, apparently, have big old ears going on and as you can see in the picture these are like yacht sails, although they look a lot bigger than any of those I've seen on Google Images. Perhaps his mum said he'd grow in to them...

The main reason for our concern is that Rentokill also says that black rats are known commonly as 'roof rats' because they're climbers and can easily get up there. And as The Lodge doesn't have cavity walls to provide an escape route, did my dad and I hear one abseiling down the inside of a drainpipe?

sausagethecat incubator more
Have we disturbed a nest in the loft?
Could it just be coincidence?
If I scrub that pound coin with Swarfega will I still get bubonic plague?

Dawn wants to chuck more poison in the loft whereas I'd rather they didn't expire up there and stink the place out (flies, too) so I want to set some traps before we get replacement insulation so we can know for sure.
It's likely that we'll do a mixture of both, so watch this space...

* Yes, I know they're called kittens but I didn't want to confuse anyone.


  1. It's very likely that the rats are using the fallpipes to climb & descend. Guards fashioned from mesh/fine chicken wire across the top of the fall pipes will block the easy access to the roof level. It will also stop leaves blocking them in the autumn.

    1. I'm off to the garden centre in a minute, as it happens, so I'll look to see if there are any cheap pre-made versions available. Failing that I might knock some together using chicken wire or the aviary wire I've got left-over from rat-proofing the shed.


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