Monday, November 12, 2012

FC of PFHQ vs. the RATS of NIMH

I have a barn.

It's really a shed.
No, wait ... it's really a "Hey, where are we going to put this? I know just put it in the barn."

That's a more accurate name, but like deoxyribonucleic acid, it's kind of long and awkward, so ... "barn" seems to work just fine.

The barn is 12' x 16', with a loft and a concrete floor. From the ground up, we built it in 1989 from a Popular Mechanics plan.

I had never built anything bigger than a squirrel cage at the time, so it always had a few cosmetic flaws, but it has served us well.
So well that we have neglected it and the barn deserves some TLC soon.

But back to the point of this story ...

Yesterday, I decided to organize it so that I could actually use it as a wood shop

When I moved a stack of lumber, I found this.
It's a huge multi-generational rat nest.
I knew I had a rat problem because several tools had been ruined by chewed wires.

I had no idea I was running a rat condo.

I took a few of the usual steps.

A while back, I put out some D-Con mouse poison and a rat trap, but both had ... disappeared.


The workbench above the nest is 8 feet long and the shelf you see is about 3 feet wide.

When the lumber stack was removed, I could finally shove the heavy workbench out away from the wall.

The nest completely filled the space beneath the workbench.

When I say filled, I mean FILLED.

What astounded me was the variety of stuff that the rats had moved from across the barn and into their nest.
PVC fittings, screwdrivers. metal wrenches, all manner of bubble packed hardware that I had hung on the rafters above the workbench, fatwood kindling from the kindling buckets, charcoal,  ... you name it and it was there.

I kept finding things that I had repurchased and now I knew I wasn't crazy at the time when I thought, " I know I have one of these somewhere."



There were horrible things in the nest too.

My timidly shaky finger is only that close for a size reference.
I do snakes, sharks, and gators.
I don't do spiders.
... shudder ...

If you go up to the picture before the  ... shudder ... spider ... shudder ..., you can see the missing rat trap in the nest.

They made it part of their nest ... but ... first, THEY DISARMED IT!

Are you kidding me?

In the picture above, I have the killing bar pulled back.
Notice that the latch that keeps the killing bar barely held down when you cock the trap is gone.
The two holes at the tail end of the cat picture are where it used to attach.

Oh, and I found the dust mask I wish I could have worn while I cleaned this mess

Yup, part of the nest ... as was the "D-Con" rat poison bait package.

More evidence for the NIMH connection ... outside, behind the barn, an armadillo had dug a burrow beneath the concrete slab and pushed dirt up against the bottom edge of the T-111 wood siding, causing it to rot, which made entry that much easier for the rats of NIMH.

Obviously, the rats planned that and no doubt encouraged the hapless armadillo to do the heavy lifting.

Evil geniuses.

We aren't dealing with normal rats here.

Oh they looked normal when they ran in and out the hole in the back wall of the barn.

But, I know better.   In the tight confines of the barn with a concrete floor, real firepower was not the answer to a rat scurrying in and out as you destroy their nest.   I am temporarily between bb/pellet guns, but the third time she ran back in, I remembered my high power, surgical tubing sling shot hanging on the opposite wall.   This would be an easy shot. I turned and reached up to take down the sling shot and steel ball ammo off the shelf.   The bands were gone ... chewed to pieces.   I have just one thing to say about that. One word.   Well, it's an acronym technically, not a word, but let's not quibble over semantics at a time like this...  


robin andrea said...

OMG! You have quite a battle on your hands. They are crafty little things, aren't they? Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I had a fruit rat mangling my papayas that I could not catch. He would mock me, I swear to you! He outsmarted every trap. The only thing I ever caught was a cardinal. As I nearly wept over that tragedy, he was on a fence post nearby laughing. Yes, he was laughing, I could tell. Once the fruit had all been picked, he left my yard for another and I hope to never see him again. Obviously, he went to better schools than we all did. I wish you the best of luck!


Anonymous said...

Wow. that is just incredible. You sure have your hands full. I would love to see a photo of the barn when it becomes your wood shop.

Wally Jones said...

The exterminator guy said the rats apparently learned to replace a shingle over the hole they chewed in the garage roof and that's why I fell through.

You have my empathy AND sympathy.

cinbad122 said...

I was wondering why you hadn't posted in so long. Now I know why. Oh, and I love that movie! Nikki (cat) is named for Nicodemus. Silly ex-roommate....

Sayre said...

Are you sure these are rats and not some new alien visitor that just LOOKS like a rat?

Pablo said...

Maybe you could use your atlatl. Is it ready?

I do NOT envy your situation, having a wooden-sided cabin with a concrete floor myself.

So when you get it all cleaned up, will they just move back in, or will they move on?

Marilyn Kircus said...

Hope you are sleeping very lightly these nights. Rat retribution may be on its way.

Floridacracker said...

SITREP 12 OCT 2012:
Spent 6 hours today cleaning and rearranging the barn. No sign of NIMH rats. Practicing selective abandonment of stuff. Created useable space for working. Plan to replace siding with HardieBoard panels not T -111.
Where are my ratsnakes?

Anonymous said...

You need some of those cats you hate, they will keep the rats @ bay. I had rat issues too, chewing ductwork under my house, and wiring. Rat snakes could only do so much. Two resident mousers have stopped the problem.

Mark P said...

Well, if you need some barn cats, I have a few (seven to be precise) that I can offer. I'll drive them down.

Mark P said...

Also, I had to follow your link to NIMH. The first thing I thought of when I saw that was R.O.U.S. but, fortunately for you, I guess they were not involved.

Buford Nature said...

Woodrats (Neotome floridana)?

Floridacracker said...

I can't do cats. I do acknowledge their ratkilling prowess tho.

Maybe that's the culprit!

Floridacracker said...

I can't do cats. I do acknowledge their ratkilling prowess tho.

Maybe that's the culprit!

Sandcastle Momma said...

That is one serious nest! Being a cat person and having a really good ratter in my brood of cats is a good thing for me but you being the snake man and all it looks like you need to not only encourage the PFH snakes more and probably import more as well! Good luck!

Oh, and after seeing your posts about snake encounters - your spider phobia makes me giggle lol

Anonymous said...

Hey FC,

When I lived in Archer my washer and dryer were in the shed in the back. There were all sorts of animals that got in but I never saw a mouse or rat. After I moved to Gainesville the washer stopped. The guy came out and took out a huge rats nest. I was so embarrassed! I'm shuddering now thinking that rats were in there with me. Ugh.


Buford Nature said...

Not ratS. Rat. Singular. Ever seen a kitty cat skeered of A rat (singular). It's a real trip. Kitty watches from the safety of on high, while Mr Major Woodrat has his way. Oh, and the books says they are gray - nope, they are brown, sleek, and .. well, major.

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Julie Zickefoose said...

I am reminded, most unpleasantly, of hearing the story of when the 1930 Ford Model A I learned to drive on (now, I'm not THAT old; it was already an antique) was found by its savior/restorer. He lifted the back seat and it was "full of meat." Rotting meat, hauled there by a rat. Gaaaggg. I found this post amusing to look at, like a trainwreck you can't stop looking at--the disarmed trap, the dust mask, the slingshot...ack ack ack ack

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