Category Archives: Rat

Scare of a Lifetime

I’ve lived a lot of places and seen a lot of things, from snakes in the kitchen to bats in the ceiling, but a rat in the toilet takes the cake. People always talk about the scariest moments of their lives. You hear a lot of near death experiences, the occasional skydiving story, and more often than not you hear about people coming face to face with their worst nightmares. Well last week I lived what has got to be the scare of a lifetime.
The scariest part about this I think, was that it was in my own home. When I saw the snake in my kitchen, I was in Texas, the bats in the ceiling were in a rental home in Michigan, and I even came face to face with a whale shark while snorkeling in Australia (not too dangerous but definitely unexpected). I have a knack for attracting animals to me, but this was unreal. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve suffered from a moderate form of musophobia since I was a young girl and found a mouse in my Chinese food, so you can see why a mouse in the toilet would come to #1 and not the whale shark.
It was your average Joe Saturday morning, I had woken up early (okay 8 o’clock) to try and get a run in before I met my mom for brunch. I got up set my clothes out, did a little stretching, and then headed to the bathroom for an early morning pit stop. I just got the toilet seat up when I heard an unusual sound from the toilet. Thinking it might be clogged, I looked down to find my nightmares staring back up at me. A huge, black rat was splashing in the toilet. I screamed so loudly I’m sure the entire apartment could hear me but I didn’t care, I left that building as fast as I could, and told the land lord I wouldn’t be back until the problem was solved. Let me tell you, there’s nothing like a rat in the toilet to really start your day! Talk about a butt pucker!

Rat Blaster

I can’t deny it anymore: there are rats in my house. I tried to ignore the droppings I would find now and again and even brushed off the scuttling in the walls, but when I opened my son’s dresser and found a nest of wrappers and poop, I lost it. Now that I’m out of denial, I can see exactly what I’ve been blind to and what my husband has been trying to point out to me.
There are droppings underneath the couch, near vents, scattered in the carpet, and covering the floor in the shed. Not only are those subtle signs everywhere, but last week when I turned on my kitchen light in the morning, one sat right in the middle of the floor and looked me dead in the eyes before he ran off. I really lost my top after that, to think I would willingly let rats in my house? You’d be out of your mind! Especially since my son is only 18 months old, that just doubles the trouble!
Well I went Ghostbusters on the darn rodents, I sent Mark to town to bring home all the traps he could fine, big and small, then doubled it with poison boxes set out (I didn’t get as many of those but with a son so young I don’t want him to happen upon one and mistake it for a treat) for them to take back to their nests. I’ve even considered buying a little cat to keep the rats in my house in line and I would too, if Mark wasn’t allergic to them. After a week we’ve had no luck. Instead of finding dead rats, I’ve only found teeth marks, scratches, and a shredded bag of flour in a cupboard above the stove.
Even if I can’t get rid of them, I won’t give up. If the army couldn’t solve a problem, they wouldn’t give up they’d just call in the big guns, so that’s exactly what I’m doing. I just got off the phone with Allstate Animal Control, and they said they have just the man to help me with the rats in my house. Hopefully, within the next couple of weeks I’ll be rat free, and worry free.

Rats in the Barn

A few weeks ago I discovered rats in my barn. I didn’t really mind, it was outside and my cat would catch a few here and there, until I found the nest living under the floorboards and it hit me that there weren’t just a few, but twenty or more.  That wasn’t even the worst part, the worst was the dream I had last night ABOUT the rats in the barn.

I was upstairs cooking dinner, but I didn’t have any pasta for my spaghetti so I made my way to the basement, which somehow became my barn (it was a dream, just go with it).  The second my foot left the last step and hit the floor, I was ambushed by six giant, foaming at the mouth, rats, and they were pissed.  They attacked me and started biting at my ankles and calves, latching their teeth onto any open skin they could see.  Shaking myself free I ran for the only thing I could find, an old, beat up tennis racket.  Turning back to face my opponents I rapidly began whacking them with the net, but all it did was stun them.

I moved to a better attack, by holding the rats down with the racket and stomping their heads in with my boots, I was able to kill them.  I quickly defeated the original six and raised my hands in the air to enjoy my victory, but my celebration was cut off by the thundering sound of millions of rats moving out from behind the walls and from underneath the floors, all towards me.  Turning wildly around I saw him, the 8-foot tall rat king.  He was devilish and cruel, no mercy shown in his red eyes, and they were the last things I saw before I was avalanched by the wave of rodents.

I woke up: it was 1:30 a.m.  Now not only were there rats in the barn, but in my dreams.  I will not let this continue.  Be it with a tennis racket and boots or ten gallons of bleach or a dump truck of rat poison, these tiny little monsters won’t ruin my good night’s sleep.  Tomorrow morning, no matter what the price, I will be getting rid of the rats in my barn.

Rats on a Plane

I was recently reading an article about rats on a plane and I couldn’t believe what I was reading.  A plane that was six hours into its flight to London was stopped, turned around, and sent back to Mumbai because a rat was seen on the plane.  Once it finally landed back where it took off from, everyone was escorted off the plane and the cabin was fumigated.  The passengers were delayed and placed on another flight!

I did a little more digging and it turns out that this isn’t exactly a rare thing (it’s uncommon but not rare).  Rats sneak their way onto the plane through catering vehicles and sometimes they’ve been known to stowaway in luggage, too.  Not only do the little rodents pose health hazards for passengers and crew, but also safety hazards for the plane.  Imagine what would happen if one of them got their little hands on any sort of wire in the engine! It’s very well known that rats like to gnaw on chords like that, and if something like that happens New Line Cinema would have a sequel for Snakes on a Plane.

Not only does the plane have to be fumigated after a rodent sighting, but the electrical wires and cables have to be checked, and probably re-checked after that, to ensure that the plane is safe for take-off.  I don’t understand why the news never covers anything like this?  Before you take a flight, check your bags and food for mice, I know I will.  The last place I want to be is stuck with a bunch of rats on a plane, people are bad enough!

Dead Rat Smell

The smell of dead rat is starting to give me a headache; no, I take that back. It’s worse than a headache it’s a 24 hour migraine that has thus far proven incurable. It wasn’t until Monday that I started smelling it, and now it’s been nearly a week and I can’t get rid of it! As a single mom with a two-year old son, I can’t have something so pungent and maybe even harmful in my house, but I also can’t afford to have some two-bit, simpleton of an exterminator smash up all of my walls just for what could be one rat. Well against my better judgment, I called a local exterminator in (without looking into him at all) to help, and a lot of good that did.
This guy was a sight for sore eyes, he showed up in an old, beat to hell Chevy with sagging Wranglers and mud on his shoes. Trying to follow my grandma’s advice of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, I smiled and welcomed him inside offering him a glass of water. He accepted, downed it and followed it up with a large belch, then told me to take him to the dead rat. Before I knew it part of the wall in my pantry was gone, and so was the man who did it. He wasn’t at my house for an hour before he skipped out on me!
Now I’m stuck here in my tiny house with a crying toddler, a dirty kitchen, an empty glass of water, a wallet that’s $200 lighter, and that dead rat smell as strong as ever; not to mention the newly discovered rat’s nest inside of the wall. Well the rodents seemed to be winning this one and I might have had to let them win if my dad wasn’t as good to me as he is, by tomorrow afternoon my headache will be cured and my house will smell fresher than ever. The moral of this story is if you’re hiring someone to rid your house of vermin, hire the right someone; do your research and you won’t be stuck, like I am, with the awful smell of dead rat.

Copper Harvesting Rats

Now I knew that people did it when short on cash, but I had no clue that there were copper harvesting rats! Late last month while enjoying a Criminal Minds rerun, my TV shut off out of nowhere, with a little investigation (and a lot of mess) I was able to find the problem. A rodent had been chewing on the wires, most likely to yield a profit with the copper wiring; or realistically to trim down their big front teeth. Either way, it was Saturday night and there was no way I was missing the playoffs just for some rat in withdrawals. Luckily my brother, Nathan, is an electrician and lives just down the street; he was at my house within the hour.
After digging a few handheld, electric saws out from the garage, we set to work behind the TV, determined to figure out the extent of the problem, but what we found was worse. Piles of feces and dried urine puddles; it was definitely rats and they had been doing much more than just taking care of their dental work back there. Not to mention the fact that the wires from the television were stripped and chewed through in numerous places. From the looks of it, I wasn’t going to be watching the playoffs game. Besides harvesting the copper from the cable, it looked like they had gotten to some of the outlets, lights, and other various wires.
It was just my luck that something like this would happen, I assume that it’s because of the rat I stepped on in 9th grade. It’s like Taken, only with rodents! Back to what I was saying, once I stepped back and looked at the situation (and maybe googled what to do) I decided that this was too serious for me to handle myself. Since I already had the almost free electrician, I called in an exterminator, a contractor, and the cable company. Someone had to know what to do! Fortunately they did, and last week I had everything put back together. Wires in place, walls repaired and rat free, all evidence of rodent excrement gone, and the best part was that I had my TV back. Not to mention Nate let me watch the game at his house. Football night can’t be ruined by some crazy, copper harvesting rats!

Fruit Thief

Living in Southern California means that I can grow fruit trees, but it also provides an abundance of fruit thieves. A few years back when my boyfriend Danny and I decided to start planting fruit trees, we were expecting that animals would occasionally rob us of some of the delicious fruit when it started growing. Well, we were spot on. Last year we started seeing small orange balls beginning to grow on the branches of one tree, I was ecstatic! Seeing as I don’t have any kids and Dan is allergic to dogs and cats, these trees became my babies, and it was thrilling to see the fruit sprout; but along with my new produce, came new visitors. It wasn’t long after my first orange sighting that I catch sight of a sneaky little critter making off with one in his paws.
I immediately marched Danny down to the nearest Home Depot to find something to protect my little saplings (though they hardly were anymore) from the intruders. We bought ourselves some bricks and cement and spent the rest of the night laying a two-foot tall wall around all five of our various citrus trees, I was determined to keep them safe from predators, but it didn’t work for long. A few weeks ago I started finding busted open fruits laying on the ground, insides eaten out! I was awestruck, what sort of thief could so slyly maneuver over the wall, up the tree, and back down only to litter my lawn with the rinds?
It only got worse from there, on Saturday last week we had a little rain that wet the ground just enough for me to see the footprints that the culprit had left behind. To my surprise, it looked just like a tiny hand! I would not stand to see some four-fingered creature stealing my fruit and I had Danny setting traps in the yard before the sun set that evening, and it paid off. Last night we caught ourselves a rat, and though my battle is far from over, I was pleased to have finally identified one of my fruit thieves.

Dead Rat

I don’t know if you’ve ever smelled a dead rat, but it’s not pleasant that’s for sure. It was roughly a year ago when my wife Justine and I discovered that our new house (of only three months) had a rat problem; no wonder it sold so easily. It took us a while to realize that our moving boxes hadn’t had holes in them when we moved, and all of our food was intact when it was packed away. The hard part wasn’t getting rid of the rats, but convincing Justine that traps and poison were the way to go. As an animal lover she was hesitant to bring harm to any creature, she wouldn’t even swat flies in the house! At first we tried to just block off any place we were suspicious that they could get in, but then we discovered that the rats had chewed holes in our couch, the one Justine’s grandma left to her when she died. After that there was no mercy for any vermin in the Nielsen home! We set out traps in hopes to catch all the rats red handed.
My master plan didn’t settle well with my wife, and when she found a dead rat under her desk, twisted grotesquely in a trap, she called for a cease fire and told me she would not let me set anymore traps, she couldn’t stand the sight of the poor, dead rodents. I was a little aggravated at this change in my strategies, but they changed nonetheless. I know who makes the rules in my house. As they say in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, “A man may be the head of the house, but a woman is the neck and she can turn the head any way she pleases,” so I set out poison instead, that way none of the rats would die in the house, but in their nests instead. Wherever they may be.
Awkwardly for us, the nest turned out to be underneath the house, and as I said before, the smell of dead rat isn’t an enjoyable one. What was worse was that our cat, Minny, LOVED to catch mice (I know we should have just let her go for the rats but I was ready for war!) and these were bigger, faster, more challenging, and apparently more appeasing. She chased and caught maybe two or three or more of the already poisoned rats, and got VERY sick. Now, not only did we have to live with the smell of the dead rats, but also with the smell and sound of an ill pussycat, none of which I’d like to experience again. We were in and out of the vet’s office for a month, not to mention I had to crawl under the house to clear out the rotting animals. This took a lot longer than I thought it would just for a couple of dead rats.

Rat in Window Well

“Mom!  Mom!  There’s a rat in the window!”  Not exactly what a mother wants to hear while she’s busy cooking, feeding a baby in a high chair, and caller ID says her mother-in-law wants to chat.  Once again, just when a parent feels everything’s under control, something happens to bring everything to a screeching halt and toss chaos back into the mix.

Sighing and slightly freaked, this busy mom turned off the burner, checked the oven, made sure baby was secure and had enough on the tray to keep her occupied for a moment, and headed outside to face whatever nature had in store.  Sure enough, her three children and a couple of neighborhood kids she didn’t even know were in her backyard were gathered around the window well that led into her basement office.  They weren’t just gathered, they were actively prodding whatever it was with sticks.  Sticks were confiscated, and nerves were steeled as she looked down.  A large rat lay dead in the window well, amongst the rocks and debris the children had tossed down there over the summer.  It looked like it may have died of natural causes, and a while ago, judging by the degree of decay.

This wasn’t the first time this had happened.  A few years prior, a skunk had fallen in the window well and couldn’t get out.  She had tried for a while to tempt it out, by putting a long piece of wood from the shed down in there, hoping it would climb back out.  It just scared it and the skunk almost sprayed in the window well, which would surely have resulted in a horrible smell throughout the basement, if not the whole house.  Fortunately, she ended up calling Allstate Animal Control, and they got the skunk out of the window well.  That was the year they got the metal grate coverings.  Apparently, the openings were wide enough to let a rat fall down in there and breathe its last.

Mom quickly assessed the situation and got everyone moving: dead rat in the window well should be removed as soon as possible so it wouldn’t bring smells and bugs into the yard and house, neighbor kids were sent home, her children were sent inside to wash up and finish feeding baby, while she finished cooking dinner and called for dead animal removal.   She had enough to deal with.  The thought of crawling down in the window well to remove a dead rat was just not on her to-do list, and she knew Allstate Animal Control would take care of it soon enough.

She allowed herself a quick, satisfied smile, knowing that once again she’d successfully dealt with yet another problem.  Then, she heard a crash from the kitchen and knew it was going to be a long night.get rid of rats


rats1We get a lot of questions about rats.  What do rats like to eat?  Why are rats in my home?  What do rat droppings look like?  How do I get rid of rats?


Roof rats, Norway rats, black rats, pack rats, kangaroo rats, naked mole rats, cotton rats.  Not all creatures called “rats” are actually of the rat family, but when you’re dealing with a rat infestation, you probably don’t care what type of rat you have, you just want them gone.  Unfortunately, different types of rats behave differently, which means that you need to know what kind of rats are breeding around you so that you can most effectively get rid of them.  That’s one real advantage to having a rat catcher / wildlife removal expert.  With a little investigation, they can tell what kind of rats are infesting your house or building, and they have the expertise and tools to get rid of that particular type of rat.


Rat teeth are constantly growing, so a rat must continually gnaw on things to keep them a manageable size.  Combine that need with strong teeth and powerful jaw muscles, and rats can chew through pretty much anything, including concrete and lead pipes.  A rat can bite with the force of 12 tons per square inch (a great white shark bites with 20 tons per square inch.)  Ouch!!  So, once rats are in a building or a home, anything is fair game for gnawing.  Wood joists, wires, boxes, soffit, pretty much any building material and personal property.


Rats will eat pretty much anything and gnaw on everything. They are opportunistic feeders, which means if they can get at it, they’ll eat it.  Grains, meat, fish, seeds, fruit, snails, insects, pet food, leather, fur and other rodents.  Keeping lids tight on garbage cans, getting rid of bird feeders, and cutting off access to gardens and food storage will all help limit a rat’s access, but they’re quite capable of climbing, jumping and chewing their way in if they’re determined.  Allstate Animal Control has a slick rodent barrier that prevents rodents from digging under a fence and climbing up fences, trees or telephone posts to gain access to a food source.


Rat droppings are compact black pellets that look very much like a bean or raisin.  Their droppings usually measure about ¼ to ¾ of an inch long, and are usually found in their traffic areas, outside the structure, by window wells, window ledges, or access holes.


Rats can get into a home through a tiny opening.  Holes left by woodpeckers, openings around pipes, a weak soffit or other roofing material are excellent access points for rats, and you may notice the entryway is black and greasy from a rat’s body oils.  Finding and sealing one opening, though, may not be enough.  They will likely have more than one entrance point.  Again, a professional rat trapper can inspect your building or home, locate and seal up these little holes.


Picking up a few traps at a hardware store and setting them around heavily trafficked areas is definitely an option for homeowners, but since rats are such prolific breeders, it’s likely you have more rats in the walls or attic or under the floor than you can see or catch.  Rat poison is another option, but introduces possible harm or even death to children or animals who get overly curious. Also, rats are smart and learn to quickly avoid most poisons set out for them.  Keep in mind that rats pack a painful bite, carry diseases (sometimes fatal diseases), and get very feisty and ornery when cornered.  The absolute best way of getting rid of rats is to have a professional trapper come out to your building.  They have the expertise, the tools and the experience to find out which kind of rat you’re dealing with, use the most effective methods of exterminating rats or trapping rats or killing rats, and do what is needed to keep rats from coming back.