Tuesday, July 10, 2007

High Concept Week Interlude: Rats!

Dave's Long Box readers may recall that I've posted in the past about my battle with vermin in and around Camp David. Previously I have resorted to lethal methods in tackling the mice that infested our kitchen -- I've even resorted to making an unholy alliance with Dr. Doom to destroy the rodent invaders:

(I also had a Captain Cold themed mouse trap with a drawing of the Flash villain urging mice to "chill," but it wasn't as cool as the Dr. Doom one.)

Some readers took issue with a) my partnership with Doom, and b) my lethal methods. P-Tor in particular eloquently argued for more humane means of eliminating those damn mice.

Well, now I've got rats in the garage. Big fucking Norway rats. You can hear them scurrying noisily around behind the paint cans and under the cabinets - they sound like invisible dwarves. They leave turds the size of deer droppings on my countertops. My daughter Ava saw one the other day when she was getting in the car, and she mistook it for a squirrel. I'd let my cat deal with them, but I'm afraid the rats would kill and eat her. My mouse traps are inadequate - they would just piss these gamma-irradiated monsters off and I'm afraid they would come for me and my family while we sleep. I need to get rid of these bastards or make them pay mortgage. Clearly I needed to get some spring-loaded bear traps or some terrible poison to get the job done.

Or so I thought. Then I took Ava to see Ratatouille.

It was her first movie theater experience, and at first she was a little overwhelmed by the digital sound system and the huge screen, but she enjoyed it. So did I; it's another quality Pixar movie with absolutely stunning animation. Ratatouille even has a F*%# Yeah moment - the climactic scene when sinister food critic Anton Ego finally tastes Remy the rat's cuisine is absolutely brilliant.

On the drive home Ava and I were talking about the movie and what parts we liked, what parts were scary, etc. I pulled into the garage, and my daughter says: "Dave, we have rats in our house, too, don't we?" Yes, she calls me Dave.

Well, crap.

Now I can't kill the hideous vermin that infest my garage. Now I'm going to have to buy little cages and humanely trap these little bastards.

You win, Pixar. You win, P-Tor and Ava. You win, tiny little Angel Dave on my left shoulder.

You live another day, Norway rats.


Bully said...

Why not leave out a cookbook in the garage, Dave? Then they can learn to cook, turn your kitchen into a gourmet haven, and you can make millions, I tell you, millions off of the fuzzy little beasts!

And looking at the spam comment above me, I can think of worse vermin than rats which need to be exterminated with extreme Doomsian prejudice.

Paulius said...

I went for the humane method until I was releasing one and the little barsteward turned around and bit me.

Getting a rabies shot pretty much gets rid of any empathy you have for them.

Thats a great idea guy said...

Paulius is right. If you have to get a tom cat to get rid of this things, do it. Go to a farm and get barn cat or two.

Rabies shots are not quality father/daughter time.

Thats a great idea guy said...

after your done, just drop the cats back off near a farm.

spacekicker said...

hahaha..man that made me laugh

Harvey Jerkwater said...

Dave--seriously, don't use cats. Rats found in human-filled areas are too big. (Too much food in one place, as in human settlements, breeds Mondo Rats.) If they are in any numbers, and they might be, they will kill and eat your cat. I'm serious.

If you want to go the "killer pet" route, you'll need a dog. Lots of dog varieties were bred to be ratters.

To get rid of the little bastards requires a couple of well-placed traps, sealing off their points of entry, and eliminating their food sources. Since it's a garage, there's probably only one entry point and one food source, so it shouldn't be too hard.

Or what you could do is trap a few of them, then offer them all the rotted cheese and condiments they could ever want in return for being your Rat Minions. Then you could unleash those minions and have them lure still more rats to your side. Over time you could build an unholy army of pestilential vermin mighty enough to topple a town! A state! A nation!

You could be...The Rat King! MUH-HA-HA-HA-HAAA!!! Kneel! Kneel before Dave!

Just a thought. I'm spitballin' here.

apk said...

Word has it that a good Rat Terrier or two can dispose of a barnful of rats in an afternoon. I bet one could clean out your garage during a smoke break.

So yeah, buy a rat terrier, have them dispatch the Norwegians with extreme prejudice, and tell your daughter that the rats moved to France to become cooks.

Then give her the dog as a gift, and you're good to go. She'll forget all about the rats while she plays with her new best friend-- your Lord and Savior, Loki, the Vermin Punisher of Doom.*

*Disclaimer: i don't have kids.

Unknown said...

You need a Rat Zapper. Seriously, google it. Loads of fun for everyone.

Derek said...

Just present it to her this way.

The rat in Ratatouille is named Remy. Remy is also the name of Gambit, who we all know...sucks!

So, using the Transitive method...we can see that rats suck! It's really quite simple when you think about it.

Anonymous said...

Doom will not tolerate your weak kneed capitulation to the Rats Dave. I fear for your safety.

Anonymous said...

Dude, your daughter calls you Dave... Awesome. About the rats, I echo the thoughts of those who advise against a cat. Cats don't cut it against the wickedly fiendish domestic rats of our time. Either go the trappage route, or get yourself a Rat Terrier. Good Luck

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Do rats like to drink antifreeze? I remember reading that rats can't vomit, so poison those suckers.

Dan said...

Your daughter calls you Dave? This isn't some sort of Atticus Finch thing, is it?

I'm with the folks recommending the dog idea - schnauzers and cairn terriers, among others, were bred for such jobs, and tend not to be too yappy for smaller dogs.

And if you get a charcoal-colored cairn, then you'll be rid of your rat problem and have Toto, which, if my surmise about the general little-girl mindset is correct, trumps Remy the Rat any day.

Anonymous said...

Kill the rats, Dave. I suggest a harpoon gun and involve some kinda of magnet.

Anonymous said...

Just tell her the monster in the garage is getting the rats.

I can't think of any drawbacks to that plan.

Anonymous said...

If you want a cat for the job, try a big one, like a Maine Coon cat.

Ferretnick said...

Dave, as a fellow Northwest resident who had to deal with those same frickin' little monsters...
You gotta kill em!
Poison, trap, shoot, WHATEVER it takes.

Hantavirus is nothing funny and not worth risking your or your family's health for.

It traps aren't working and you're leary of using poison around kids, check out Rodetrol (http://www.benedaniels.com/rodetrol.htm). It kills them by disabling their metabolism but doesn't affect other species (and is harmless around people).

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Echoing Bully (because who doesn't love Bully?), if the rats learn to cook, then they can stay.

You live on an island. The rats have nowhere to go. So they breed and their little rat chillens have no place to go. Then they breed and on it goes.

If this were Civil War: Dave vs. Rats, I know which side I'd be on.

McGone said...

Your daughter really calls you "Dave?" Jesus, even I call you "Mr. Campbell."

Great post, Mr. Campbell.

Lewis Lovhaug said...

Pardon my ignorance, but couldn't you call an exterminator?

Anonymous said...

Just call your boy Willard and have him come pick up the little critters. You get a rodent-free garage and he gets a few more minions for his unholy army. It's a win-win.

Arkonbey said...

I live rural and I look at it like this:

Rodents in the wild = cute.
rodents in/near the food supply = vermin.

Ferretnick is very right.

Or, you could see if a local lab needs some subjects...

Anonymous said...

Somebody might have already suggested this, but I've had success with the sticky rodent traps that smell like super-sweet peanut butter.

You just lay them out, and when you get up in the morning, the varmint is immobilized in the trap like a break dancer on a Crazy Glue-coated cardboard slab. The more it struggles to break free, the more it's fur, muzzle and legs get stuck to the trap.

It's relatively humane, because the trap doesn't kill them...you do. But you can spare your daughter the trauma of seeing a dead rat in a trap. When she asks what you're doing with "Remy" and that burlap sack, just turn around, smile, and tell her, "Remy's gonna help Dave play a game against the side of the house."

Anonymous said...

Let's think this new compassionate line of thought through... capture them alive and then what? Put them in a pen until someone adopts them?
No, Dave. It's You vs. Them.
To. The. Death.
What you need to do is send your family away to a safe house, so you can have at the little bastards without worrying about collateral damage. And if you drop a lit stick of dynamite in one of their holes, put a rock on top of it, so they can't throw it back out.

Anonymous said...

You need to call up a few friends and invite them over for a rat-shanking party.

Anonymous said...

Man... now this is on MY HEAD???

Well... while MY advice was originally aimed towards MICE (and in my own case, FLYING SQUIRRELS), RATS are a whole new dilemma.

First off... they're MUCH bigger, and thusly, more DANGEROUS.
To that extent, I would NOT recommend the sticky traps.

No matter WHAT "anonymous" may say, getting caught in glue is NOT more humane, but that's not the main point.
Being caught in glue does in NO WAY immobilize them.
While they're thrashing around (and believe me, it WILL sound like something is going on in your garage that has EVERYTHING to do with SURTUR and the sword of DOOM) they WILL be more dangerous when the time comes to dispose of them.

Not that I'm recommending killing them, but even if you were to stroll into your garage with a 12-gauge shotgun and pick them off from a corner, they STILL might be able to get loose of the glue and tear your shit up!

So...no glue traps.

You have 3 real choices.

1) the mid to larger size humane trap (not too pricey at a hardware store. $20?)

Glop some yum-yums in there and walk away.

Sometime in the middle of the night (or whenever you usually hear them tear-assing around in there) you'll hear a "sflang" (thinking that perhaps ARCADE has trapped another pesky mutant for his Murderworld), and then you drive to the woods and let 'em go.
(or somewhere else that is not near civilization)

Just remember two things;
- watch your fingers
- run like hell

If you have to, rig up a release method with a long bit of twine, so you're not near the trap when you open it, and then go back for the trap when you know the coast is clear.


2) Call an exterminator.
Sometimes it's best to call a professional.

(But I'd only do this as my last resort. Give peace a chance, man.)


3) CLEAN YOUR GARAGE of "creature comforts" (foodstuffs & hidey-holes)!

Get the car out of there, and during the SUN-FILLED daytime hours (when rats are much less likely to stroll around) CLEAN that garage.

If you store food in the garage (pet food perhaps) then get a big tupperware-type container. Rubbermaid makes them.

We use them for storing deer-corn and bird food and food for the outdoor cats.

Then, use some bleach and a mop to clean the floor and other surfaces.

Also, get rid of any soft, spots for them to nest. (blankets, rags, etc...) or hollow dark spots that they might hide in (old tires with no rims, etc...).

(Those big Rubbermaid tubs are good for all that stuff too.)

Believe me, if there's no reason for the rats to go there (no food, no soft places to nest) they will leave and move on (and go back down to the Morlock tunnels that spawned them).

AND, you'll have a beautiful, clean garage.

Even if you were to KILL this batch.
If you don't take care of the problem (whatever is luring them into the house in the first place) you'll just get a new batch.

And no CATS or DOGS.
The risk is VERY high that even a trained rat-killing dog will get bit at LEAST once.
And that is all it takes to pass on rat disease to the dog and then, to you and yours.

Good luck my friend.


Anonymous said...

I gotta go with the majority on this one, Dave - the rats must die.

I'm normally a soft-hearted animal lover, but we're not talking about Mickey and Minnie here. Rats carry disease and if they are in your garage, that means your family and pets are at risk.

But I'd call an exterminator. Do-it-yourself jobs can be dangerous (don't listen to the guy who said, "Put out antifreeze" - what if a neighbor's dog or cat gets a hold of it?) Go with a pro on this one.

discord8 said...

The real question is...what SUPERHERO should Dave recruit in his battle against the horde of rats? Superman would be overkill; even his super-breath couldn't get rid of them without blowing down the entire garage. Cyclops could only pick them off when they're out in the open.

Myself, I'd like to see Ant-Man leading an unending army of ants in an epic assault on the furry vermin.

Anonymous said...

Here ya go, Dave.

THIS how-to WIKI just popped up.

"How to Catch an Animal With a Havahart Trap"



Good luck!


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

You know, I understood less than half of that. Still thought it was cool to see how Google maps is put together.

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