You guys.  Just…NO.  Okay, I started this on twitter a few minutes ago but it got too long so I’m moving it here.  Twitter is backward so go to the bottom of the image and read upward until you’re caught up.  I’ll meet you at the bottom.

So of course Victor is out of town because that’s what happens when a plague of rats strikes so I called our exterminator and was like, “I think I have lawn gerbils?” and I described them and she was like, “Girl, you got rats” and I was like, “THIS NEVER HAPPENED WHEN OBAMA WAS PRESIDENT” and she was all, “Um…ma’am?” and I apologized and told her I had a lot of other things going on and she was like, “Whatever, crazy” but in a nice way.

So she said that they could help but that it’s hard for them to catch rats outside and that I might want to try it myself with rat traps and I was like, “But I don’t want to kill them.  Can’t you just live trap them?” and she was like, “For rats?  No.  We do that for squirrels and skunks and such, but we’re not going to trap and relocate rats.  That’s just going to cause problems for someone else” and that’s true but it would create more business for them although in a shitty way, and I applaud them for being ethical but still wish they could remove these guys without hurting them.  Then she told me that there was a poison that dehydrates the rats and makes them leave to look for creeks, but they’re in a bush right next to the pool so basically I’d have a lot of plague rats swimming in my pool and frankly that seems worse for everyone.

Also, she was like, “Do you have any birdseed out there, or nuts that are attracting them?” and that seemed like victim blaming but I explained that I didn’t and she explained that THEY EAT DOG POOP.  WTF.  And that both super grossed me out and made me really reconsider luring them inside to train them and put circus clothes on them because ew, but also it seems sort of beneficial?  Like when you find a snake in your yard and you don’t kill it because it eats worse snakes?  So I asked the lady if I could just let them stay and she was like, “NOOOO.  THEY WILL GET IN YOUR HOUSE AND CHEW UP YOUR WIRES,” but probably not if I give them a dollhouse filled with food on the back porch and I could hear the lady shaking her head and she was like, “Listen. Just get some traps and see if you can catch them.  For some reason rats really like cherry starbursts” and I was all, “I REALLY LIKE CHERRY STARBURSTS” and they just got even more human to me.  But then I remembered that I actually like strawberry starbursts and the cherry ones taste like poison, so then it was less awful, but then I thought that if I did make friends with the rats they could eat all my cherry starbursts.  You can see my predicament.

PS.  The pest control lady could not see my predicament.  I assume because she doesn’t have my imagination or my access to tiny rat-sized clothing.

PPS.  This sucks.

PPPS.  This post brought to you by Starburst!  Kidding.  Don’t sue me, Starburst. The rats started this.  Not me.




258 thoughts on “RATS.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Maybe it’s the Rats of Nimh? Is there a company doing insane science experiments on rats nearby?! I’d hate to kill them, too. 🙁

  2. Fair warning, we used that dehydrating poison when we had field mice in our house and we found a couple of desiccated mice in the closet YEARS later. (Don’t ask me why they didn’t stink.) Then again, considering your particular interests, that may be a plus rather than a minus.

    Also, if you use that poison, you have to make sure there’s no water ANYWHERE in your house. Close the toilet lids, wipe down the sink, put away pet water bowls, etc. It’s a pain in the ass, but it was effective. (Well, that and our 16-year-old cat, who was so thrilled at having prey that I swear it added 2 more years to his life. Rest in peace, Sprite, you magnificent creature.)

  3. The pest control lady obviously doesn’t have an imagination if she can’t imagine rats in a circus. Do you know how cute that would be? You can have a tiny unicycle and little juggling balls and tutus and tiny clown costumes. Oh fuck I’m fangirling over rats…

  4. maybe you have muskrats instead of rats. They like water and are not ratty in any way except their looks.

  5. Thank you for the mid-day chuckle, though I know it’s not so amusing to you.

  6. OH AND USE TRAPS INSTEAD OF POISON because birds of prey like owls and hawks and such will eat the dead poisoned mice and get sick and die themselves.!!!!

  7. Uh, I like cherry starburst. I swear I am not a rat. Or a crook. Or a robot. And please pick the dog up! Dottie deserves that.

  8. Even worse, those are likely teenage boy rats who’ve been kicked out of their home and are searching for their own territory. Most of the time, rats hide during the day but TB rats don’t know to do that so you see them. In their little gangs.

  9. Take the lady’s advice. These are not your ordinary, household pet variety rats. These are wild rats of the Nimh variety. You do not want to wait and see what they are capable of.

  10. My first thought was mangy squirrels. Not sure if that is better or worse though.

  11. And of course the thing I got stuck on was your opinion on cherry Starburst, because they are the best and the lemon ones taste like poison. But I guess life is better if everyone hates a different flavor of Starburst?

  12. We have a TON of hawks. Why haven’t they eaten them already? Fuck. Can I borrow an outdoor barn cat? Do people still have those? But I’d have to feed it outside and the food would attract more rats. AAAARGH.

  13. Just don’t use poison. It would be really easy for your or someone else’s pet to accidentally ingest some or a poisoned rat.

  14. How close are you to your neighbors? Maybe the could set the traps, you could benefit, and just pretend the rats all relocated to Detroit, where I hear they have a rat problem. ( well, a problem for the people. For the rats it’s one big party.)

  15. Oh Jenny. I should have known before I started. Have you thought of using Ferris and Hunter for this. Would they chase of rats? It seems like a cliche, but it could work. At least enough to scare them away so they don’t come back.

  16. God I love you. I never laugh this early in the morning. Plus, I totally agree with you on all of this. I wouldn’t want to kill them either, but wouldn’t want them eating the wires either. I like the idea of a dollhouse full of cherry starbursts, but have a feeling Victor wouldn’t go for it. Is there a repellent possibly just to keep them from coming inside? That sounds like a really good option. No death and free poo cleanup. 🤷🏻‍♀️

  17. Can I just get an army of rats to eat all of the dog poop? Like, could I start my own business of dog waste removal, and it’s just me and my army of poop eating rats? I could be like the pied piper……or you know, the poo piper…

  18. God I love you. I never laugh this early in the morning. Plus, I totally agree with you on all of this. I wouldn’t want to kill them either, but wouldn’t want them eating the wires either. I like the idea of a dollhouse full of cherry starbursts, but have a feeling Victor wouldn’t go for it. Is there a repellent possibly just to keep them from coming inside? That sounds like a really good option. No death and free poo cleanup.

  19. Seriously Jenny! You are spawn of a taxidermist! how can you NOT know what to do!!!! I see a new manger seen in your yard this year at Christmas.

  20. Obviously, you need to leave a trail of cherry starburst (which are gross, everyone knows this) away from your house. Where the trail ends is entirely up to you… I’d suggest the unhelpful exterminator, but some lovely spot in the country would do just as well. The point is, think of all the strawberry starburst you’ll eat harvesting enough cherry ones!

  21. We have wild rats here, too (Southern California). Grey ones and brown ones. After the monsoons, I have literally seen drowned rats. Mostly they avoid us because, you know, cats! but we did have one little turd move into the laundry closet on the patio. I was all ready to repel him with peppermint oil, but then the dryer caught fire and he moved out anyway. So you could set your yard on fire! …or, you know. Traps.

  22. If you were closer, I would lend you my Jack Russell terrier, Lexi. That dog is the best mouser since my Siamese cat. I’m sure she would be a good ratter too. It drives me nuts as I am terrified of mice–alive or dead.

  23. You could just leave a trail of dog poop, birdseed and cherry starbursts to a few miles away. At the destination, just leave a pile of all that… “delicious” goodness. It’d probably work for at least one of them.

  24. Yup – this is life in Texas. I love to feed and look at raccoons and possums until they crawled up in our attic one winter and had babies. Ooops. Also, they are eating all the figs off of my fig tree before we ever get a chance to eat one. It is tough to both love and fear animals at the same time isn’t it Jenny? Love to you and Good Luck.

  25. Continue calling them lawn gerbils and evict them anyway. Rats are not friendly toward adorable little dogs. Dorothy Barker is wise to stay away from them.

  26. OMG I feel your pain. But wild, naked rats really need to not live near your pool. Germs and fleas. Oh, and black plague.

  27. Havahart makes live rodent traps–that’s what I used when I had mice in my apartment, and once a squirrel (don’t ask). If you have a park a couple miles away, you can drive them over and release them there. Plus if they are NIMH rats you can visit in a few months to see the thriving rat city they have built…

  28. Living in Texas you become very friendly with your pets control professionals. Rats, mice, scorpions, roaches who need a landing strip the size of the USS Enterprise, gnats, mosquitoes, ticks, great now I’m depressed and paranoid. Dammit Texas, you crazy big Bitch!

  29. They could be voles?

    I don’t know Texas animals well enough but don’t the snakes just eat all the scary stuff anyway (in my head Texas is just a big Wild West town with snakes and spiders with tiny little sheriffs badges)? Don’t blame me, I’m Canadian. We just sick the geese on everything.

    (They could be voles, I guess? I’ve never seen one in Texas before. Or maybe packrats? They’re so fast it’s hard to tell. Definitely rodenty. ~ Jenny)

  30. Firstly, Skittles are where the magic is really at, but I’m open-minded so I can handle hanging out with Starburst critters too.
    Secondly, this sounds like the kind of thing the Texas version of Pied Piper might be able to handle. I’m sure somebody does that kind of thing right? Texas has Las Palapas…they have EVERYTHING!

  31. We have some in our house. We’ve tried for years to get rid of them, but they’re determined. We only know they’re there because we hear them thundering through the ceilings (apparently the sound gets amplified … they’re referred to as “ceiling ponies” in my house, which is an image I quite like)

  32. Ok two things

    1) yes, cherry starbursts are horrid.
    2) rats just ate through my engine harness and it cost $7000 to replace. You need to get rid of them. There are humane ways I think? Fine! I wasn’t humane but the gd rats ruined my car! I needed to get them out. I feel bad about it. I also adore pet rats, they are very sweet and like hoodies. Me too!

  33. Buy a bunch of Starbursts & ue all the cherry ones to lay a trail to an unliked neighbors house, problem solved…for you🤠😜

  34. They are probably VOLES. They are slowly eating your plants from underground. Google the little bastards. They are destructive and multiply like crazy. Seriously no bueno.

  35. Ooo. You can test to see if they are pack rats with something shiny. Maybe they are my patronus? Patroni?

  36. Maybe they were just passing through? I mean if you haven’t seen them until now, maybe they are tourist rats and will go away on their own?

  37. The problem with poison is that it doesn’t work immediately and while they’re dying, they stagger around and make really easy prey for hawks. The hawks might not go after a healthy rat because it’s big and dangerous, but an injured rat? Definitely. Then the hawks die. A falconer friend of mine is constantly campaigning against people who use poison to kill rats. Stick to the traps!

  38. My husband did not inform me at all about all the critters and creepy creatures that are common before we moved to Austin. And now that we live in the hills I am in constant fear of having a rat infestation or looking out our window and seeing a feral hog destroying everything.

  39. I promise not to use poison. I’d be too afraid to buy rat poison anyway because that’s what people always buy before they’re framed for murder.

  40. I have seen a hawk pick off a rat from a lawn. It was glorious. There were hawks in the area because there were pigeons, and pigeons because there was bird seed.
    Which is probably why there were rats.

  41. just a little fyi. Target sells 2.9 lb bags of just pink Starbursts right now. I bought a bag because “it’s 2.9 lbs of strawberry Starbursts, hallelujah and praise the day!” you can also buy just reds for the lawn gerbils.
    My crazy ex roommate relocated her R.O.U.S. because it wouldn’t die. Once you use real poison then it gets passed into the ecosystem if the the crazy turkey buzzards don’t eat it first. Oh, maybe they attacked your car to alert you about the R.O.U.S., so you’d kill them plague carrying nightmares cause they’re hungry and want a meal. I mean the universe works in mysterious ways and that was your sign to end the scourge???

  42. I live in California and we also have a rat plague this year. Can we please blame the Cheeto for this too? Having said that, yeah, you have to get rid of them. Fair warning – poison works sometimes but the suckers are smart. They ate some, figured out that some of their comrades died, and have ignored it every since. And – our rats live in the ivy by the creek in the park next to our house (so dehydrating poison is useless), and come over to us for snacks of our bone meal fertilizer and veggies from our garden (they like the lettuce but not squash – whatevs). The exterminators have basically been like “yeah, the hawks will get them eventually, or we can trap them and you will have to deal with the corpses.” BUT – there was one exterminating company that came and sealed up every single little entrance to our house so they won’t get to the wires. It wasn’t cheap, but it seemed the best since there is no way we can get rid of all of them. Good luck and I feel your pain.

  43. The chances are they were on their way from A to B and your backyard just happened to be en route. You may never see them again. We had rats in the kitchen wall in a (rented) house once and they stayed just long enough to raise a litter, then cleared off so we blocked up the hole where they’d got in and that was that. They don’t tend to stay in one place long, especially if you make it uncomfortable – no easy access to food, no nice safe hidey-holes. Easier said than done, I know, but better than killing them. And if you have to resort to traps, the ones that kill them nice and quick are best. I’d second what others have said about poison – too much risk of it harming predators.

  44. Who had the brilliant idea to see if rats would eat the cherry Starburst? And why start with those instead of, say, Necco wafers? Or is it just a given that NO ONE (except my father) will eat Necco wafers?

  45. All I took from that was “OMG you have CHERRY flavoured Starburst? We don’t have cherry flavoured Starburst in the UK. That’s so unfair!”. America has all the best stuff. 🙁

  46. i’m glad i don’t live in Texas, b/c i would totally come over & eat all your cherry starburst! those are my favs! HATE the lemon ones.
    * hire a company that picks up dog poop if you don’t want to do it yourself & forget the poison.
    * take pictures of the rats & clothe them in photoshop to show Hailey.
    * repellents are a great idea, but first, make sure there are none around your house (you don’t want them to stay there) & then put a barrier along the perimeter of your house. Then after a day or so, you could put out more further out all the way around, then a couple days later do it again along the outer perimeter. That should drive them out & keep them out. you made need to keep reapplying the repellent. read the label. And there are probably quite a few that are more ‘natural’, so you don’t have to worry about Dorothy Barker, kids, etc. Good luck in the battle!

  47. Everyone in Texas has rats. My nice, residential neighborhood in Austin is full of them. And yes, they will set up camp inside your BBQ grill or dryer hose, they will get inside, chew wiring, live in your attic, die inside your walls. Then you’ll get a huge infestation of flies. I love animals, I have had every kind of pet, I put bugs and spiders outside instead of squishing them. But speaking from experience, listen to the pest control lady!

  48. OMG! I just found out I have a rat (rats???) living in my backyard too! I don’t want to kill them either, but I sure as heck don’t want them in my house. Ahhhhh!

  49. We had rats and it’s not fun. My exterminator went around my house and sealed all the places they might possibly get in. Seems their favorite place to nest is inside my pool equipment – like the heater and also the wall of my hot tub (it’s a free standing one.) They burrow in from underneath and have chewed out large hunks of the insulation.

    I agree with your idea of relocating them but unless you’re willing to do it yourself, exterminators won’t.

    Good luck!

  50. I’m not saying you should kill them, but have you considered the taxidermic possibilities here?

  51. I bet your cats would love to take care of the problem for you. But then you have to worry about letting the cats outside and then whether or not you can get them to come back in. And if the rats are bitey and diseased, can it be transmitted to the cats? OK, probably not a good idea to let the cats handle it. I would go with the traps, but only when it is closer to Victor getting back home so that he can take care of emptying them. Ew.

  52. Damn it, I never had rats when Obama was prez either, but then Trump got elected, and BOOM! Rats. But they were ADORABLE little brown country rats, like large cute mice with big Disney eyes, not icky giant city rats. And we did trap and relocate them. We used peanut butter and apple slices and this trap (mostly because it was sold by a company called Atomic Barbie. I mean, c’mon) and it totally worked. https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0154F09I8/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    We took them far out into the woods and released them near a stream.

  53. Yeah, I had a rat problem in my backyard. They were living in an overgrown aloe plant and coming to the bird feeder. I was set to put out humane traps and locate them to a swampy area (because Florida), but then I realized THEY HAD BABIES and I couldn’t separate the family. Everyone around me thought I was insane. At least the cats were entertained.

  54. I had a packrat dine at my birdfeeder. It was way cuter than a field rat. My friend shot it with a 22. You might want to try that.

  55. At first I was thinking hmmm rats in little chef hats and jackets and then I’m like wait, no, it’s RATS. I mean, rats. Ugh. No. Just no. YOU HAVE TO MOVE. Like now. Right now. Don’t even pack. You can buy new stuff. Stuff that’s non rat-ty. But thanks for the Starburst tip. At least now I have a plan that if I ever see one I will pummel it with cherry Starburst and run away.

  56. Does your dad still have bobcats? Would he lend you one? Who needs a barn cat. Im pretty sure if you threw a bobcat out there it would take care of whatever it is. It might even clear up that swan problem of yours. Deny everything.

  57. A cat will get rid of those rats for you. She’ll leave their carcasses on your porch as an offering because she’s so proud of herself. At least that’s what my cat does. 🙂

  58. That is a conundrum, Jenny. I have no advice for you, but I just wanted to point out that ever since Obama left office, I seem to have acquired a colony of moths setting up residence in my already limited wardrobe. So we’re all suffering in this new, frightening sociopolitical climate. Except for the rats. And the moths. They seem to be thriving in it.

  59. Just one gadget…the rat zapper…with a cherry starburst inside. Done.

  60. Don’t use the poison, if the poisoned rat wanders away and another animal eats it they will die too. Put up an owl nest box and see if you can get nature to take care of it for you. Traps are gross but more humane than poison. Poisoned animals have a long agonizing death.

  61. Little disappointed no one has mentioned Pied Pipering these guys. I mean odds are you already own a tin whistle or at least a recorder

  62. Why would they go inside if they have all that delicious dog poop out in the yard? I think you need to get a goat. People are always saying that goats eat everything. Maybe they eat rats, too? In Tuilleries gardens in Paris, they stake goats on the grass to mow the hard bits for them. And I didn’t see any rats hanging out with the goats when I was there, so the link seems clear here. If you have goats, you don’t have rats. I’m not even going to charge you for this little gem of advice. Unless you want to pay me with one of your extra goats. I’ve got a backyard full of poison ivy. Just sayin’.

  63. I have horses and a barn and the vermin battle is constant. If you saw 3 rats there are likely 20 more in an underground area. You want your Pest Control Company to send out their SWAT Team. Telling you to be all DIY about is a brush-off. You are PAYING them! Tell them to get to work. You seriously don’t want this problem.

  64. Please, for the love of everything holy, do not put out poison. Something else will come along and eat the dead rodent and then it will die a slow painful death. please use humane traps or snap traps. At least with the snap traps they would die quick and if something decides to eat it it’s not going to die from it.

  65. Wildlife rehabber here. Don’t poison them. Raptors (the birds, not dinosaurs) will then eat them and get super sick. You can use Have a Heart traps to capture and relocate so they can eat poop in the wild. Or starbursts, if that’s their thing.

  66. Wildlife rehabber here. Don’t poison them. Raptors (the birds, not dinosaurs) will then eat them and get super sick. You can use Have a Heart traps to capture and relocate so they can eat poop in the wild. Or starbursts, if that’s their thing.

    (I’m not sure if I’m posting this twice or not at all. My name is Jennifer and I’m on my phone in my doctors office. So there’s more info than you need to know.)

  67. I don’t know if you’ll get this far in the comments but I know here in Oklahoma our local humane society has a barn cat relocation program for people who want to do natural pest control. I figure Texas isn’t too different.

  68. Thank you for the Twitter tutorial, I needed it because I don’t twit. Also, my jealousy for you is getting a little out of control because I just realized (ok, hypothesized) that you are never bored, are you? I’m usually not jealous of ‘things’ but I am usually jealous of states of mind. I’m always sure your state or her state or his state is better than mine. Better mascot, better motto, better tourist attractions. Never being bored and thus restless, green with envy over that.

  69. Just a word of advice, stay away from the rat poison because if your pets get into it, it’s deadly to them too, and the stuff they sell now isn’t just vitamin K injections as an antidote, some don’t even have antidotes! Getting pets that are good hunters is a good remedy for your issue… Maybe someone rents cats for hunting rodents, like people who rent goats to clear landscaping??? Just stay away from the poison route… I don’t want you to go through your pets getting into the toxin and then either needing hundreds or thousands of dollars of care to recover or dying…. that would suck ass.

  70. Wildlife rehabber here. Don’t poison them. Raptors (the birds, not dinosaurs) will then eat them and get super sick. You can use Have a Heart traps to capture and relocate so they can eat poop in the wild. Or starbursts, if that’s their thing.

  71. You have lived in Texas all your life. Are you sure they aren’t some sort of mutant prairie dog?

  72. I’m glad your not buying rat poison. I was just watching 9 to 5 yesterday and I can totally see you accidentally poisoning Victor by mistake and having to explain to the police. Ps barn cats do exist Disneyland uses them to keep out critters from the park.

  73. Did you try calling them by Susie and sam? If they answer they’re muskrats!

  74. I’m in favour of live traps (they do have slightly bigger reusable ones in our home improvement stores). If they do manage to get inside the house, I’m sure the cats can help you out. If you’re in a gated community, doesn’t your committee have suggestions? The neighbours might want to get involved in this with a collective effort. I’M SO GLAD WE DON’T SEEM TO HAVE RATS IN MY AREA! We have chipmunks (one got in the house once), voles, mice, foxes, hawks, bunnies, etc. The only ones that now get in the house are field mice, but the cat deals with them pronto.

  75. And I just posted 3 times. Because my phone hates me. Or just loves talking about rats (which is possible, I love rats and talk about them a lot).

  76. Since you have cats, the rats should stay out of your house. Rats can smell cat urine and it acts like a stinky forcefield against rodents.

  77. When Jenny says “this is too long, heading to the blog”, you STOP WORKING AND FOLLOW HER because OMG yard gerbils that might be rats??!?!

  78. Call Critter Control – I am in Austin and they saved my life! They will help you!!!

  79. Do Not let them get in your house. Just spent half of my retirement account catching the rats that got into our attic, then had to replace the insulation, then had to replace my plumbing (well, not my plumbing, but the house’s – although sometimes I wish I could replace my plumbing – sorry, off topic), Then decided to go ahead and replace our 25 year old furnace/AC unit since there was a party in my attic anyway. Away with the rats! They carry lots of disease not to mention they pee and poop very disproportionately to their size.

  80. We have two rat terriers, so you’d think: no rats. Wrong! Skippy (now deceased – died at age 14) played macho but couldn’t figure out how to actually kill a rat. When one was found on our screened porch, 2 cats and two dogs couldn’t get it – until Holly, the 6 pound rat terrier, caught the rat, which was about as big as she. The rat got hold of Holly’s nose, but she had a good hold of him and shook until the rat died. Then skippy took over and acted as if he had done all the hard work. Not a pretty scene, but I was proud of little Holly. Her nose healed, but I did call the pest control people who had been setting poison bait a week or two before. I was afraid the poison might transfer to Holly (through the bite) and hurt or kill her. The pest control people said they are regulated by law here in California to use such a small amount of poison that it would not affect an animal that might invest the poison through contact with the poisoned rat. Holly is fine! So, I could loan Holly to you. She maybe could teach Dorothy how to be a ratter.

  81. Look up the YouTuber that does Mousetrap Mondays (but posts them on Sundays). He reviews all sorts of traps, some you can even make at home. Good luck!

  82. My suggestion would be to important a pack of coyotes. They would keep the yard gerbil population down quite nicely, and then eventually would start to die off and you could get a few stuffed and set up in your yard, which would then scare away any yard gerbils or teen boy rat packs or muskrats or NIMH-ers or whatever else might migrate to your yard……..or STOP HAVING SUCH A WELCOMING HOMESTEAD. If you make the place pleasant, who the hell knows what’ll show up next……jackalopes? Coatamundis?? Chupacabras?? Tasmanian devils??

  83. I’m betting you have pack rats, which are the coolest rats to have, really, because they totally get your need for stuff. Also, they’re pretty mellow. Don’t know about their dietary choices, though.

  84. So this is funny in a truly hysterical kind of way (I’ve had a rat problem myself, I can sympathize). I was lucky because I have feral cats, who seem to think leaving dead rats in exchange of dry kibble is a good deal. But now I seem to also have raccoons and possums, which means I have to come up with a better plan or increase the exchange rate.

    Joking aside, rats and mice carry diseases (especially the CUTEST MICE EVER, why is that??) and despite the fact I personally like them a lot, I won’t let them hang out at the house. Especially since the heat when out on half the house one winter and when the electrician came, he found mouse-chewed wires and a burned spot in the insulation.

    That said, don’t let anyone talk you into putting out poison of any kind. RATS DON’T LEAVE IT WHERE YOU HIDE IT. That’s right, the little rat bastar–I mean buggers–move the cubes to where they see fit, which is usually where you don’t want it. And you have waaaay too many pets to risk it. I use snap traps in my drawers where the pets can’t reach them (wear gloves when you remove them) and live traps outside around the house. You wouldn’t BELIEVE the size of the suckers I’ve caught!

    Because I’m a softie, I do relocate them somewhere else. I have an underground rat railway that takes them to the equivalent of ‘the farm where they can run’. Scout’s Honor.

  85. “This never happened when Obama was president!” – my favourite thing I’ve read in a long time 🙂 Fight the good fight and kill those rat bastards! They are not cute. They have sharp teeth. (And their legs are too skinny to look good in a dress).

  86. Your comment about not buying rat poison as that’s what happens before people are framed for murder got me thinking. Maybe the rats are working for someone who wants to frame you for murder?! You do have a lot of taxidermy… It’s probably a master plot and the rats are evil who are out to destroy everything you love and hold dear, like electricity and not having your house burn down.

    P.S.The best starburst I’ve ever had was in the UK where it’s flavoured and coloured with real food, the cherry tasted quite nice. And it was like eating real fruit, making it healthy! so I could totally eat more …or something like that.

  87. Sorry I totally laughed at this and then I thought oh no, what if I had to deal with rats and then it became less funny but still kinda funny but mostly I was trying to decide what I would do if I had rats and I would probably be cold hearted and get the traps cause I couldn’t have them getting in the house to my dog a.k.a. the princess of the house or worse wake up the teenager and the screaming that would ensue would probably not be looked upon kindly by anyone who lives within earshot of us. So I would have to side with get the traps and relocate but no on the poison which seems just a bit too evil. As always I love reading your Blog!

  88. We use the dehydrating poison and we have a pool. I just told the pool guy if he found any in the skimmer id leave him an extra 20 for handlers fee.
    The poison works great and I only lost like 40 bucks to sergio the pool guy

  89. I tried to coexist with the rats in my neighborhood, but then one of them ate the wiring in my car and cost me $1500. Now I recommend snap traps. They’re kind of like Harry Potter’s Monster Book of Monsters, and they will eat your broom if you think you’re sly and can sweep really close to them.

  90. I love animals. I adore animals. I have actually brought baby squirrels into the house and raised them until they started to escape from their cages and hitch rides down the stairs on my children. Then I had to bring them out and let them go. They are always names Sherlock (look up Carole and Paula and the Magic Garden. It’s a super hippy folksy kids show from the 70’s that I used to love and it had a pink squirrel named Sherlock) We had mice that not even the cats would kill because they also liked the mice. They were all named Stuart for obvious reasons. My sister wants to train a chipmunk to ride on her shoulder. So my point is I am an animal lover, my family is full of animal lovers – my mother has like 11 cats but her house is immaculate and you would never know a cat lived there until it sat on you. My whole family volunteered at the SPCA, my dad was on the board of directors, my mother raised orphaned kittens and bottle fed them. Hell I fed the baby squirrels with a 1cc medicine dropper. However…
    YOU DO NOT ADOPT RATS. YOU KILL RATS.. you also KILL SNAKES. Not even GOD likes snakes. I don’t care what kind of snake it is. First it dies. Then it gets identified. I just found a dead snake IN MY AC UNIT and 600.00 later… Have you ever noticed the symbolism in the Bible? THE DEVIL IS ALWAYS A SNAKE. Have you ever noticed that when someone is dishonest or bad they are called something like “You dirty Rat” or “you cold hearted snake” ?(go ahead, sing Paula Abdul. You know you wanna.) Jenny, rats caused the black death. THE BLACK DEATH. You will be saving your animals and your child by KILLING THOSE RAT BASTARDS (see, another example.) Plus, guess what? Rats attract snakes. What you have going on there is a really horrible ecosystem in the making. And a possible reality show.


    I sew. I will make some pretty circus outfits for Dorthy Barker or Ferris. Or Rory. Both of them. But only if you kill the rats. (now I have Elmer Fudd singing “kill the wrabbit, kill the wrabbit “in my head.)

  91. Check on the “Ratinator”. Humane live trap that catches many rats at a time. Very positive reviews on Amazon. Bait it with peanut butter.

  92. HAHAHAHA! I absolutely LOVED this post. First because it was so funny and I literally laughed out loud at my desk. And also because I have had the same problem more than once! The first time I had them at my old apartment, they ate through the cement wall by the trash cans and later started to make their way underground popping up by the stairs near the house. Since I was in a basement apartment and i had seen them eat through cement, it was time for them to go!! Plus they were HUGE. One night I was coming home and had to walk by the trash cans. I shook my keys in the dark trying to scare them. As I got closer, one jumped out at me. And YES, at 2 am I let out a scream on the street corner!!

    After I moved to the second apartment i was visited by rats yet again. There were 2 of them. One afternoon I watched as one died a slow death in the back yard barely moving and the other one was running back and for like a crazy person on speed! I called animal control and left a message and then called the police station to see if they had a direct line to animal control. I wasn’t sure if the slow death was caused by disease but there are all kinds of other animals including cats in the area. The cop was like, “what do you want me to do about it.” I suggested he come arrest it. He asked if i had a gun and i was all, “why, can i shoot it?” and he said no! So why would you even ask that? haha! Eventually i got some rat hotels and soon after they were gone….or so i thought.

    Two years later i have them again. The first day i saw them perusing the trash in the trash barrel and then the bird seed that had fallen from the feeder. So, my friend brought me some rat hotels with continental breakfast. I haven’t seen them again, but i also need to fill in their holes to see if new ones appear. At first i was so sad and conflicted about killing them because they were smaller and cute….and then i saw 4 of them….and then the BIG one….and that sadness quickly disappeared!!

    Good luck tackling this one. It is nit a fun challenge….but thank you for finding the humor and sharing it with us 🙂

  93. RATZAPPERS!! I had the same problem and did not want to poison the birds in the area, so we found these contraptions where you put peanut butter/food inside of it. They go inside to get the food and are electrocuted. Sounds cruel, but it is better than slowly dying of poison then poisoning other animals. You can get them online. And LOOK, here is Victor pest ! http://www.victorpest.com/rat-zapper-ultra-rat-trap-bbrzu001?gclid=Cj0KCQjwkZfLBRCzARIsAH3wMKoLacctMGIT_4uXBiyzd2S3_zQR-1kwjzvCc93cxFwOaqU6K7MLpN8aAv81EALw_wcB

  94. We shared our vacation desert cabin( S. Cal) with pack rats. On e time they built a nest under the stove with pieces of cholla (painful tiny stickery cactus). We slept outside that night and found all our cash gone in the morning. The pack rats used our $$ to wallpaper their nest!mtook us forever to retrieve the $$ without getting stuck. Pack rats would be great pets to dress. They are sooo cute!

  95. We had a single rat move into our house this winter.

    We have domesticated rats and I felt like it was really unfair to kick him out of our warm cozy home just because he was born on the wrong side of the tracks.

    We let him stay and my husband named him Templeton.

    He ate our cat food and stayed out of our cupboards so I was fine with it for months.

    I have 3 cats but they apparently gave zero shits.

    He chewed up the hoses in our ice maker and flooded the kitchen. Not great but could be worse. I made sure he had his own source of water.

    Then he chewed up the wires in our dishwasher. I started to get a bit resentful as I had to hand wash everything.

    Then in the middle of the night I came into the kitchen and he was on my counter just hanging out eating the crumbs out of my toaster. We scared the shit out of each other. He jumped 2 feet in the air and then hid in my sliver ware drawer.

    It just wasn’t working anymore.

    We tried to live catch him but he was smarter than us. My husband ended up shooting him with a soft tipped bow and arrow. We thought we could relocate him. But he started bleeding out of his head so I was screaming “Put him out of his misery!” and so he shot him again. It was truly traumatic and I think about him all the time.

    R.I.P. Templeton

  96. I can sympathize/empathize. We had raccoons, mating in our attic-type area. Right about the time that I was reading your book with the raccoon on the cover, actually…. 🙂 It’s hard to know what to do when other animals are involved. I am relieved that mine are gone now, though (with professional assistance). Good luck.

  97. Idk if my comment went through so I’ll say it again. Everything was better when Obama was president. This never would have happened if Obama was still president.

  98. Have you considered moving to Alabama? I know some of your tribe – hell, I am some of your tribe but there are more tribe members than me here. And we understand “Leave me the _ _ _ _ alone today.”

  99. Instead of adopting them yourself, go watch Coraline. The Russian had a rat circus.

  100. Years ago someone told me that spiders eat all the bad bugs of the world and without them we would be overrun. I’ve not killed one since. Thank you. Hope you are well.

  101. May I suggest importing some snakes? I hear there’s a dude named Patrick or something can get them to you. Or maybe call that Pied Piper guy to get out the rats only don’t forget to pay him.
    Also FYI owls are a nice addition to the neighborhood and they eat rats AND snakes so once you get rid of one you can get rid of the other and just keep the owls although THEN you’ll hear them outside your window for three nights in a row and you’ll run calling WILDFIRE! WILDFIRE! which may either get you arrested or perhaps that’s the local mountain lion’s name.

  102. I have rats running all over my property, although they’re the bushy-tailed kind–I think some people call them “squirrels”. Just be careful with the poison if you use it–wear gloves and then throw the gloves away.

  103. If they are small, brown wood rats, just leave them alone. They do not get into houses, unlike mice, that are all domestic and civilized and live in (your) house when there are perfectly good woods just off the deck…just saying.

  104. Jenny, you and I both know that your next blog post is going to be about all the tiny rat suits you purchased, accompanied by a photo spread of your new rat friends, dressed in their tiny rat suits. Sigh.

  105. Serious answer here. Kill them. There’s a poison that a professional company can use that desiccates the bodies so that they don’t smell, and the antidote is potassium, which is found in dog and cat food. If domestic animals eat the poison, they cure themselves when they eat their food.

    If you have roof rats, they cannot be habituated to humans, and they can bite all the way through your finger. If you have Norway rats, they CAN be habituated, but only slowly, and their life-expectancy is only about 2 years. So by the time you had your super-fun rat circus, they would die of old age and break your heart.

    Get a professional on the job. Please trust me here. I have your best interests at heart, and I have kept many a rat as pets, so I am definitely objective. Get rid of them.

  106. Please, please don’t poison them. Use the squirrel traps (get a small enough size), put peanut butter in them, then take them to a park with a water source. They don’t become someone else’s problem, and you don’t have corpses on your conscious.

    My pest guy had no problem with this.

  107. Maybe it was the Rat King? How many heads? Do you have any Nutcrackers lying about?

  108. DO NOT use that dehydrating poison, Jenny. Due to heavy blasting near a place I lived, we got sewer rats. They are about the size of groundhogs and very bold (they ate the huge dogs’ food right out of the dish). I used that stuff and they all staggered around suffering and dying in front of me. One walked over my foot (bare, of course), stopped like it thought WTF was that?, turned around & walked back across my foot again, and died a horrible convulsing death. It was horrible, really really horrible, more horrible than everything awful, and it has scarred me for life. Be very brave, live trap them and take them to a huge meadow so they can be country rats.

  109. Are you sure they were rats? We have voles – stupid nasty things that are making holes all in our yard. A little bigger than a mouse, smaller than a rat, stubby tail, no weird snout like a mole. One actually got in the house and our cats did nothing. It definitely was not a mouse – it was so slow, and could NOT figure out the stairs, it was hilarious how it just wiggled its way over the edge of a step and just fell to the next one. No idea how it came in.

  110. Hi Jenny… Keep the rats! And let me know where you buy those clothes… lol
    You should meet our gerbils… Jenny and Hamna… Of course we kind borrowed your name hahaha And she proved to be as crazy as us. Hugs Domi

  111. And this is why you should LIKE snakes! I’m not sure what snakes are local to your area, but corn snakes are beneficial, in that they eat rodents, are not the least bit aggressive, and are beautiful. Maybe you could start a colony. They don’t get very big, so they are not a danger to your pets unless you have pet rats. https://www.google.com/search?q=cornsnake&oq=cornsnake&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.1247j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

  112. do you live near a fire swamp? they might be R.O.U.S.’s. in which case all you need to get rid of them is a flame and a sword and Carey Elwes.

  113. Totally relate. There was a mouse in my bedroom once and I couldn’t make myself kill it, so I, stupidly got a glue trap and when I came home after a very long day I found it stuck on there and, honest to God, crying. So I found some shit to release the glue (which I’m pretty sure burned its little feet) and then I took him outside where he ran off to tell his family on me. But his description of the torture that “crazy mfing lady” did to him must have worked because I never did see any more mice.

  114. Thank you for promising not to use rat poison for the sake of pets and wildlife. To anyone else considering poison, consider that it can drive rats indoors, which means they will be trying to get in or under your house as they are dying. Due to poison left by the previous homeowners, we had one die somewhere unreachable in our wall. The smell was so bad we cut holes in the drywall trying to find it. Then we paid an exterminator/rodent-proofer to remove it, and he couldn’t either (but did put a bag of “dead animal deodorizer” in our ceiling). The smell was still so bad we got in the car and took a spontaneous road trip for a week. It still smelled terrible when we got back.
    The exterminator recommended (and used) those cheap wood and metal snap traps. The rats die quickly and more humanely than with poison or glue. Or you can use Havahart traps to live trap them, but here it is illegal to transport wildlife (which doesn’t stop my Dad from driving trapped rats to the open space preserve and releasing them there.)
    If your house and any other buildings (like sheds) are rodent proofed on the outside, you can just let the rats go about their business. They can and do sometimes nest in cars and chew the wires, so it may not be a good idea if you leave your cars out. We have a nest of native wood rats on the corner of our property, and we just let them be.

  115. I would think Starburst would be happy to find out there’s another use for their product. Imagine the increase in sales from people baiting traps. It worked for the smelly cheese industry.

  116. Are you sure you don’t have round tailed ground squirrels? I know it sounds like I made that up, but I didn’t. We had a whole underground village of them.

  117. I’m sure this has been mentioned before, it please, PLEASE, don’t put out poison. Those poisons have a trickle up effect, and any predator that eats a poisoned rat, gets poisoned as well. It’s causing all sorts of problems with wildlife all over. There are plugs you can put in your lawn or house hat emit a high pitched noise that rats don’t like, or snap traps if you want to make sure they’re gone for good. I love animals too, and the idea of killing anything makes me sad, but snap traps are a better and much more humane death than the poison.

  118. My husband has made two mouse traps that use a five gallon bucket and a tiny teeter totter or a spinning pipe with bait. They fall into the bucket of water and eventually stop swimming. He found them on the internet. I don’t know if you could upsize it for rats somehow.

  119. If you adopt them, then they’ll be pet rats, and then you’ll love them!
    Also, I’m now considering relocating to your house. I have five house gerbils, but I think I’d like to have some yard gerbils too. In my opinion, the more gerbils the merrier, being that they’re essentially small packages of love wrapped in fur (except Eugenia, she’s obviously a demon)!

  120. You. can borrow my cat Lolly. She’s a great mouser and every so often she brings home a baby rat from next door who have a rat problem.

  121. Are you sure they’re rats? My theory is they’re juicing chipmunks. The use of anabolic steroids has skyrocketed in the chipmunk population.

  122. I just moved to Alaska and there are mice, voles, and muskrats all over my property. (Where are the birds of prey?? I’m ringing the dinner bell!) We put a perimeter of a few inches deep sand and gravel around the house to keep them out. So far none of the inside traps have sprung. You could try that? And then just never go in the backyard again. 👍

  123. We have had rats since the flood last year, but after putting the bait and traps in spots they were but the dogs can’t get to, am hoping they are gone! My blue heeler mixes are killing them, husband’s lab just barks 😏. Put steel wool in any holes you find. Thanks for the laugh ☺. Good luck!

  124. The pest control lady is right, sadly. You do not want wild yard rats making a home inside your walls. Not only will they chew the wires, they also pee and poop a LOT. It smells. And these rats could have diseases that might endanger your other pets. Sorry rats.

  125. When we moved into the house that we’re in now, I did the dumb thing… I left a bag of sunflower seeds for the bird feeders on the back porch. >.< Yeah, don’t do that. So, we had a mouse. Frick. Poison was out of the question; we have cats and, while generally useless, you just KNOW that they’d eat a poisoned mouse if they were given the chance. Snap traps were my go-to, but I also have an 8-year-old… “Noooooooooo! Mooooommmmm!! You can’t KILL it!” Glue traps give me the heevies because…then what? You’ve got a mouse stuck to a sheet of cardboard. You can’t even put circus clothes on that and that’s got to be a horrible death… Bored, hungry, thirsty, and with that sticky sensation on your feet. Houston? We’ve found my own personal hell.

    So, we got a live trap from the hardware store. They do, indeed, make them for smaller rodents. We set it and captured a mouse. Heads up: they pee. A lot. Buy gloves if you’re buying a live trap. My husband looks at me and goes, “NOW what do we do with it?” Me: “I was thinking you could take it to work…” Husband stares at me for WAY too long and then goes, “Oh. You mean to let it go?” …no, bro, I was thinking you needed company on your lunch break. YES, to let it go…in the nice big field behind a bunch of factories that make non-food things; electronics, plastics, etc..

    A few days later, we’re still finding a mess. Apparently, mice don’t travel alone. Double frick. We catch a second mouse and send it to the field of dreams…or hawks…or whatever… (I didn’t kill it so…there’s that.) A couple more days pass and it’s clear that there’s a third. A few wWEEKS later and we realized that setting the trap was futile and just named him; “Randy” wasn’t going to be caught. Gratefully, he never came inside either. He was content to burrow in the garden and steal overripe grape tomatoes all last summer. (I’d literally see a flash of red moving out of the corner of my eye, through the kitchen window and there he’d be; sitting on the fence, eating a tiny tomato. If only he’d have let me put a pair of pants and a plaid shirt on him…)

    Fast forward about a month after the first mouse was relocated. Hubby comes home from work one night and informs me that “something” got into one of the A/C ducts at work and died and now the whole place smells like rotting corpse. There’s too much ductwork to DO anything about it, so they just have to wait it out. We exchanged guilty looks and then never spoke of it again. It TOTALLY could have been something else… No body, no evidence. Jussayin’.

  126. Dear Jenny,

    This is not your problem…..if you are paying for pest control, it is their problem. I would call back and ask to speak to someone who has a shit to give. Telling you to trap them yourself is like a brain surgeon telling you to saw your own skull open.

    Otherwise, hang in there until Victor gets home. Pretty sure pest control is in the small print in the marriage license under “stuff the husband is supposed to do.”

  127. They are probably baby armadillos or baby opossum. At least that seems to be what I have and they look just like you describe.

  128. If you decide to go the route of baiting them with a trail of Starburst, bird seed and dog poo, be sure to mark the trail with entrance and exits and hopefully your rats can read and follow instructions!! Thanks, never a dull moment with you!!

  129. Thankfully, I live in a Rat-Free area. They haven’t been banned, they just don’t like living here, I guess. But if I DID have rats, I would throw The Viking at them. I’m fairly certain they wouldn’t want to live near a Viking armed with Axe and Shield either. So, I’m probably not the person to offer advice on this subject. If you get Pine Beetles the size of small dogs that fly and bite and get caught in your hair though, I’m your girl.

  130. Maybe they are nutria? Did they have giant teeth? They are super ratty looking.

  131. Cherry and fruit punch starbursts are nector of the gods. You can all the pink flavored you want. It isn’t really strawberrry flavored, is it? It really just tastes like pink, doncha think? I love the FavReds rolls. Hmmmmm.

  132. Oh, and try those electronic pest things that emit a loud sound that drives them away. That seems to work for us.

  133. BUT, if the rat gangs that are not already in your yard start on the exit end, OH MY!!!, you could have the Crips and Bloods rat gangs rumbling in your yard. You never know how this might end…..!

  134. Better rats than the family of muskrat we have living near us (and that attacked my dog a few weeks ago). There is something about a rodent that always makes me feel unclean, like lice, any time I hear about lice I automatically think of filth. Not that you live in filth, Jenny. So, that didn’t come out right. Any how, I agree get rid of the rats before they hold Dorothy Barker and the other Lawson Family Pets hostage like Gulliver’s Travels or something.

  135. When I moved my horses to a different ranch, I discovered a rat in my hay she’d. I made a deal with him that I would give him a little horse feed supplement if he didn’t chew through my vittle vaults like the other rats did at the other ranch. Well, I found out some things. This rat was a “wood rat” and the others were more like the sewer rat variety. Wood rats look like big cute mice or maybe gerbils (those are outlawed in CA). He had a shorter nose, white belly, bigger ears, and big eyes. Wood rats prefer eating fruits and nuts and are very shy. They do a lot of food hoarding but not a lot of chewing up stuff. I named him Chichi Ratrigous and he and I became great friends. Grapes were his favorite, but he also loved the carrots the ranch owner would leave for him. He also would come visit me in my tack room, and he never chewed anything up. He lived over two years despite having a notch in one ear and the end of his tail chomped off by something. I miss that cute little guy. So, not all rats are a menace and it pays to figure out what they are before panicking. And never use poison, even the stuff that makes them drink to death because that’s poison also, and shouldn’t be treated so casually. All life is precious.

  136. Rats are nasty bastards Jenny. Get the traps and if the neighbors aren’t super close, a paintball gun(or pellet gun)😬, your wine slushee if needed, and start making their lives very uncomfortable so they leave. And no I don’t hate animals I love them but like I said rats are nasty bastards.

  137. Oh wow, I’m old enough to remember the 1971 horror movie “Willard” about killer rats or it’s sequel, “Ben” about a boy who befriends the leader of a violent pack of rats. Included was a hit theme song by Michael Jackson!!

  138. The dehydrating poison is probably Warfarin. It works, but is very dangerous for cats, dogs, or anything that comes in contact with it or eats the rat corpses after they die. Traps are definitely safer.

    I lived in a place that had a tree stump infested with shrews once. I didn’t even know a shrew infestation was a thing!

  139. I second the opinion on getting a pied piper to play the flute and lure them out of your yard. I also TOTALLY agree that glue traps ARE NOT cool. I had a mouse stuck on a glue trap, and it cried and cried and cried. Finally I called my landlord to take care of of the poor little guy (cause I refused to drop a heavy book on him). Still haunts me that sound……

  140. Jenny, are you sure they aren’t baby oppossums? They leave their mother when they’re smaller than full grown rats. They also have tails like rats. Please don’t kill them!

  141. Unless you’ve found a mysterious cord leading to a rose bush and your power consumption has gone up, they’re probably not the rats of NIMH. So they’re probably just small rats. The supermodels of ratdom. Jenny, you don’t want to be plagued by supermodels- they’ll keep you up all night partying.

  142. Sometimes rats relocate because of rising water. Any flooding nearby? Anyway, take care of it before neighbors complain to the town. You do not want the Board of Health to come knocking.

  143. Are you and I living parallel lives? I saw three in the back yard of our townhouse the other day and nearly fainted. Screw you, birds, NO MORE BIRD SEED FOR YOU.

  144. Please be careful if you decide to use a poison. My coworker lost his beloved dog when it found, and consumed, a rat that had been poisoned by a neighbor. The rat scurried off somewhere to die, but the dog found it after it passed.

  145. We have deck rats because my neighbor has an overgrown blackberry bramble and they have an underground colony under the plants. I put a bird feeder tray near it and put seed out during cold weather to keep them from coming in looking for food. Has worked well so far. Have had only one rat incursion and it wasn’t the rat’s fault. Hubby brought in a load of firewood one evening and the rat came along for the ride. Told my hubby there was a rat on the wood, he looked at me like I was looney, then it ran over his hands and out the door 😜 Luckily he had heavy gloves on!

  146. When I came to Santa Fe, my rent house had a serious mouse problem. After MUCH soul searching, talking to a shaman, and research, I bought a mouse killer that electrocutes them. I got it from Amazon. It kills the mouse instantly when it steps in the trap to get to a bit of peanut butter. There is no blood, guts, and just a modicum of guilt. Before resorting to this, I tried talking to the little guys about moving out cause I was going to have to kill some of them. They didn’t believe me. I only cried when I killed the first two. I think I had to kill a total of 6 before I got the problem under control.

  147. My beautiful greyhound Coco caught and killed a rat in my backyard recently. I completely flipped out because “ew” and also, “shoot, poor ratty.” Maybe Coco needs to come visit you. She’s the most adorable rat killer ever. I took a picture of it at the time. There is no blood but it is still alarming to see such a big rat in her mouth. https://www.instagram.com/p/BWdeAlJlf94/

  148. Could be some random species of wild rodent, like Sharon H’s wood rat. There’s a lot of ’em around, and some are kind of cute. Where I live, most fake-rat sightings are of water voles. Nearly rat-sized, but rounder, fuzzier and a lot less infesty.

  149. Holy shit snacks (apparently)! Is this a new plague in Texas?! I was literally mid-poop with the bathroom door open ((no one was home but the dogs and me), and I hear my 15 month old Lab trotting down the hallway. I called out to her, figuring she was looking for me. Nope. She was curiously following a RAT (just exactly how you described), right into the spare bedroom that doubles as my laundry dump/walk-in closet. Oh HELL NO! Addie kept on it, but it got away, and now I like I’m shooing away goddamn bears if I have to pee in the middle of the night. Rat bait (the dessicating kind) has been put like a circle of salt around the entire fricking house…

  150. Get a dachshund! Or borrow a dachshund! I was visiting my dad years ago and late at night saw a tail disappearing under a kitchen cupboard. It was an old farmhouse so the odd mouse was no big deal but this tail looked BIG. Next morning, my dad was all,”oh, it couldn’t be a rat. We don’t have corn on the farm….” Blah blah blah. Seconds later a rat ran across the floor and my fat little couch potato dachshund killed it lightning quick. That little dog earned some major treats that week.

  151. Live trap them and then dump them in the yard of someone you don’t like. Not that I would have any personal knowledge or experience resembling this little nugget of advice.

  152. Last year, a wooded property across the street from us was clear cut and suddenly there were rats all over our neighborhood and it was awful. We set some traps, made sure to keep dog poop picked up, kept our garbage inside, and eventually they found a different place to hang out. For a long time though, everytime I heard a noise in the house, my brain yelled “A RAT!!” (It was never a rat.)

  153. True Texas Tale! My niece lives in Austin. She was sharing a place with a friend and the management company changed hands a couple of times (or more). The newest company might have quit the pest control maintenance because a really nice place became a rat infested place within a few months. Giant rats decided to start chewing up the hoses and pipes for dish and clothes washers. You can’t live trap TX rats and relocate them. Exterminate with abandon!

  154. Similar situation here, except with indoor mice. They are only here because I have a cat. Trust me, I see the irony. They want her food. She totally knows where they appear from to get to her food, but hasn’t shown any interest in doing anything other than staring intently in their direction, while twitching her tail. I finally saw one a couple of weeks ago, and can no longer pretend that they don’t exist.

    I can’t kill them. But I know that they breed, and carry diseases, and chew wires. I keep hoping that someone else in the building– I live in an old apartment building– will see them and make the call. The “rodent deterrent” spray was as useless as I thought it might be. Humane trap, with a (probably completely illegal) release in a park is the next step. I truly don’t know what I’ll do if that doesn’t work. I’m single, so there’s no one else I can ask to play executioner for me. And I can’t fault the mice for trying to find a way to feed themselves. But the disease, and breeding, and chewing….

    This is one of those times I really hate being an adult and needing to take care of things.

  155. I just finished listening to Furiously Happy during my daily commute. I laughed so hard a few times, that I couldn’t see the road. I also teared up a few times. Anyway, I googled you to find this blog. I start reading and giggling. Hubby Dearest turned on the local news. I kid you not, this is the real news item. A union at a nearby college (Western Michigan University) is upset because the college hired goats to clean up the landscape. Goats! The reporter went on to say that so far, no human employees have been displaced from their jobs. What I want to know is what are they paying the goats per hour? Are they paying taxes? Do they receive health care benefits? Retirement plans? Did Jenny punk my news channel while dealing with lawn gerbils?

  156. I’d reconsider the line of treats going away from your house. That might just lead others TO your house.

  157. 1) Spray your yard with bobcat or coyote urine. They will find someplace else to live. 2) Get a pet bobcat, coyote, or snake to keep them away.

  158. They probably are rats. We live in North Texas and they are a real problem around here too, more so in areas closer to fields. They literally destroy vehicles by eating through the wires and do get into homes and eat wires etc… I know I’ve read of people around here actually renting our barn cats to come and get rid of them. The milder the winters are the worse the rat and snake populations get in the summer, though you’d think the latter would stop the former???

  159. For 16 years I fed one feral cat or another in my yard. As a plus, the cat cereal attracted all the cute baby raccoons and skunks I could want. A year ago we brought the last feral cat indoors to live with the indoor cat family. As a result, since last winter I had/have deer mice coming into my house and running around inside the walls (caught 7 in my attic, one trap disappeared – shudder), and now I also have rats in my yard. For a week we saw a rat boy coming to eat bird seed on the deck. A Norway rat. Huge. Then one day we saw a rat girl with him. No! He’s married now! They tried to make a home under a fern on the side of the house, but I kept messing with it and they moved. Then my daughter saw him digging a hole under a fern on the other side of the house. I looked into it and it was quite a large burrow. I haven’t seen them in a day or two, so I may have spoiled that home as well. But I’ve been telling friends that if they have any money they want to waste, I have an actual rat hole they can throw it down.

  160. Where are the pictures of these awesome yard gerbils?! I want to see! The only non-bug animals we have around here (besides pets) are lizards. Also, this totally gave me a huge laugh after a day filled with icky doctor appointments, so THANK YOU.

  161. Of course this all happens when Victor is gone! First cops then rats. What’s next, the vampires are back? Be on the lookout for Brad.

  162. Wait… They told you to poison the rats with something that makes them obsessively thirsty? Isn’t that basically artificial rabies? Did you or Victor (mebbe accidentally) do anything to make the pest people hate you and want to surround you with giant rabid rats? Cuz this doesn’t seem very nice of them… O_o

  163. Rats can get in your car and chew the wiring. It caused $2400 damage to my husband’s car. Get rid if them. The good exterminator put the poison in heavy duty boxes that only the rats can get into. It does dry them out, and they don’t stink when they die. The dead corpses will not poison any captors at other wildlife that eat them.

  164. We’ve had mice a few times. That was bad enough! If we had rats around, I’d be moving out as soon as I saw one! I’m thankful I was able to have my husband and son deal with the traps. My husband will ever so thoughtfully ask me if I want to see the mouse in the trap!😬😬😬

  165. OK, not to be stalker-y, but I live pretty near you and we had the same problem. We have an outdoor dog, which helped a little, but it was mostly getting rid of their food source that did the trick. If you can tell where they’re eating, you might be able to eliminate some of it. Once they’re gone – because I know you’re going to live through this! yes, you will! – keep an eye out for nests. We’re getting ready to move and we have found some disgusting nests they abandoned made out of pillow stuffing (don’t ask), grass, and other stuff.

  166. You know what else they love? Hershey kisses. Shit you not. If you’re missing a LOT of Hershey kisses, you MIGHT have a secret rat problem. Secret because “rats are living under my dishwasher and stealing my kisses at night” is not something you advertise. Just sayin’.

  167. Girl, you’ve got baby possum. Rats and roof rats do not “herd”, so if you saw three together, that’s a family.

  168. OK. Rats. Keep in mind that rats and Keith Richards are the only things that will survive a nuclear holocaust. Or anything else. Rats can and will eat anything at all. They breed like tribbles. If rats freak you out, the only solution is to move to Alberta. It’s the only place in the world where people live, but rats do not. No kidding. Research it. There is a rat patrol on the Alberta border. http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex3441

  169. I love you.

    Also, yeah, probably rats from NIMH like in the movie.. They are probably super smart and planning to take over.

  170. I have been killing rats in our yard all summer. One day as the bunnies as squirrels and birds were happily eating birdseed under the tree, I saw something join then…a rat. I didn’t want to hurt them either but then one night I saw 5. That’s when I started trapping. The best traps are Victor rat traps…sorry. mine liked Tillamook extra cheddar and peanut butter. I killed 22. Still putting traps out daily. I patrol the yard like a crazed Bill Murray in Caddyshack. Dear God, will it never end… Good luck, and just kill them. The traps are quick. They tunnel under junipers. My friend stopped me from just finding a flamethrower and using it. In hindsight, that was probably overkill.

  171. So this is OT, and you hardly need me adding to your problems when you have RATS, but…

    …can we talk about that ad in your sidebar? For a product called the Bottle Sitter?

    Please cancel their ad. The device they are advertising is a bottle prop. Bottle propping is NOT OKAY– it causes tooth decay, overfeeding/stomach upset, increases the risk of ear infections, and can even kill young or sick babies. Here’s the AAP Infant Feeding Guide Sheet https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/HALF-Implementation-Guide/Age-Specific-Content/Pages/Infant-Food-and-Feeding.aspx/, which clearly states that bottle propping is to be avoided.

    In addition, this product is specifically advertised as a way for parents to get more sleep, which encourages parents to leave a bottle propped for their UNATTENDED baby, which is even more dangerous. None of their materials address safety concerns. I am a parent, and I know that the early months are exhausting, but bottle propping is NOT the solution. Please help keep babies safe by discontinuing your relationship with this advertiser.

  172. I’ve not had direct experience with Rats myself (just smaller vermin) but I have read some interesting stories about how NOT to deal with rats… One particularly spectacular story was about a man in India who decided that he was fed up with the rats because no matter how many he killed they just kept coming so he got what to him seemed like a brilliant idea to cut off the supply of rats directly at the source… his plan was to live trap one of them and tie a gasoline soaked rag to its tail and light it just before he let it loose…. by his reckoning the rat would head ‘home’ and take out its nest and brethren… as you can imagine this plan went HORRIBLY WRONG!!! So, I guess what I’m saying here is don’t try and reinvent the wheel…
    That being said… how do you feel about snakes? I’ve heard rumour that if you have a snake living in your house that rodents will not enter the house… Personally I’d rather live with the mice (that’s what we have here mainly) than a snake… but some people are okay with serpents?
    Good luck!

  173. You need a few more dogs, little terrier types that will depopulate your yard of rodents. And who wouldn’t like a dog that looked like Toto?

  174. Rat Zappers. They worked great for us and are as humane as you can get without trapping them, taking them far away and releasing them.

  175. Rats must go. If you’ve seen 5 you’ve got 25 (no actual arithmetic was harmed in making this comment.) They can squeeze into very tiny openings. They have a super- speedy gestational period, guaranteeing a steady supply of mini rats. And they won’t ask too many questions before they let that handsome stranger rat drive them home. Inbred multitudes of rats await you. Trap, then gas but exterminate you must.

    So Victor’s away collecting business cards and conversations when a thought strikes him- “Hey people, I need just a second to call and make sure my wife’s OK. She’s home alone this week-” just like every one of his hoity-toity friends has said to him. What could be more normal?
    Ring-ring, ring-ring…

  176. My cat knew nothing of this creature thing and was sketchy on the whote “cat” concept. What he knew was he was human like me. We showed him my cousin’s baby hamsters and while he sniffed one, it reached out and bit him on the nose.
    You’ve seen the Oatmeal’s drawing of how much cats murder-? Not in our house. What my cat liked was plain yogurt, but couldn’t quite get the fridge door open by himself.

  177. It sounds to me like your neighbors have bird feeders and you have a water source. I had rats when I had a billion bird feeders. Now my feeders are empty and I have pissy birds.

  178. Greetings and Salutation:
    Try these: https://www.amazon.com/Ultrasonic-Pest-Repeller-Electronic-Environment-friendly/dp/B01N211ECF/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1499932980&sr=8-2&keywords=sonic+rodent+repeller+plug+in

    You’ll get them out and keep them away without having to kill them. You won’t need to put down poison which could harm other animals. You won’t have to put down traps, which could harm you and other animals.

    I had a mouse in my house. I opened the cabinet. We looked at each other. I felt like I was in Ratitouli. Then I squealed in the same frequency as a tween at an ‘nsync…no….jonas brother’s…no….Bieber. concert (I need to update my tween heartthrob.)

  179. I thought looking for a solution to your rat problem might distract me from my own issues. It didn’t but I did learn that rats hate peppermint oil. Apparently cotton balls soaked in it will keep rats away. Not helpful outdoors. So I kept searching and now the internet says planting mint around the border of your property will work. Surely Victor wont mind a mint wall? For safety? It’ll smell nice and you will always have fresh mint for your mint juleps. Assuming mint juleps are a thing in Texas.

    I found a really awesome rat picture but I can’t figure out how to upload it. One rat is on his hind legs and appears to be performing Romeo’s “But soft! What light through younder window breaks?” monologue and another rat is completely taken aback. The second rat seems to be thinking, “Dude, not cool. This is totally not helping our image with the humans.” There are other rats in the picture but they aren’t facing the camera and seem oblivious to the shenanigans. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll read comment number two hundred and something, but if you do I hope you’re doing well and manage to solve the rat problem.

  180. FWIW, my Mom, who lives in AZ, had an issue with packrats and the solution was to put bars of Irish Spring Soap in her garage and outside of house near the foundation (I’m not kidding y’all… this was actually suggested by her car mechanic after the little bastards chewed a wire in her car).

    Also, could they be small possums? Ground squirrels? Muskrats?

    You could try acquiring a couple of rat snakes…But then you’d have snakes and I don’t know if that’s a better or worse problem (rat snakes are harmless to humans and eat a f*ckton of rats). But at least rat snakes won’t eat critical car parts…

    I suppose this house isn’t the place where you had foxen… because I’m thinking that foxen might eat rats (and related critters). So, see, there’s your problem. Inadequate foxen.

  181. LOL, you have wood rats. They DON’T come inside like regular rats. We see one occasionally, but they never, ever come in the house. They are smaller than city rats, they are brown instead of grey, and they do look a bit like lawn hamsters. We don’t see too many because we have a healthy snake population.

  182. I hate rats! We lived in a farmhouse years ago, my washer was in the basement. I went down to throw in a load of clothes and when I turned around there was a huge rat blocking the steps! I was screaming, my husband wasn’t home, I jumped on the washer, I was TRAPPED!!!!!! About that time he came home early for lunch, ran in got the gun jumped off the steps and shot the giant rat, which flipped in the air, dead! It was like a scene from an Indiana Jones movie! I was crying, I was laughing, he was my hero. We still laugh about that, and I still hate those vermin….jen

  183. We have a “whatever wants to live out there can live out there unmolested” policy regarding our back yard. Except for fire ants and wasps. Those assholes are NOT allowed to stay. I’ve seen a lot of things in our back yard–bunnies, doves (which I also hate because every morning they’re like “COO! COO! MOTHERFUCKING COO! WAKE UP FUCKERS!”), spiders, sneks, birbs. Never rats though, unless that stupid tomcat who is allowed to roam the neighborhood flashing his giant balls (seriously, these things are the size of SOFTBALLS I swear to God) at everybody is getting to them before I see them.

  184. I like cherry starbursts and I always thought I was born in the year of the rat. So it made sense. At lest until Google told me, no, I was born in the year of the goat. Must be why I like screaming goats so much. They are probably screaming for cherry starbursts. Or the rats are biting their tails.

  185. We’ve never had a rat problem (knock on wood) but we live on 28 acres and the field mice love our nice, climate controlled house. We’ve discovered that bug bombing regularly every 3-4 months keeps the mice away. That won’t help you though…unless they make a giant bug bomb for yards?
    But all this reminded me of the time when we were living in a rental house and squirrels got in the attic. We called out landlord and he came out, put poison in the attic, and then blocked the hole they used to get out. All on the same day. The squirrels had no way to leave so they died in our attic. And it was one of the hottest summers on record. Holy cow, the smell was atrocious! We called our landlord and he said to just use air fresheners. What? Luckily, our lease was almost up, so we moved to my parent’s house for a month while we looked for a new place. Taught me to hate squirrels, and mistrust landlords.

  186. I wouldn’t poison them. It’s a terrible way to die AND they might well crawl into your house to die and NO ONE WANTS THAT.
    If you do it, use the old fashioned snap traps that kill instantly.
    My sympathies with your dilemma. I feel all sides of it and hate the idea of killing them but also hate the idea of them being in the house worse. It’s a narrow margin though.

  187. Jenny, PLEASE find out what they are before you do ANYTHING about them! How you deal with them should depend on the best way to do it based on what kind of animals they are!

  188. Barn cats are totally still a thing. Our anmal shelter will adopt out cats that can’t/won’t be socialized to live in a barn outside City limits. Check with your nearest shelter.

  189. Maybe they’re pack rats. We had them (we live in the country) and they look like gerbils on steroids. Kinda cute except so destructive! They tried to move into my husband’s car’s engine compartment and made a nest out of the insulation blanket under the hood. Yes, he drove around for a week (talk about your basic hayride-to-hell) before the dog and cat alerted him to his unintentional pack rat Uber. One got trapped in the garage and basically destroyed two miniblinds trying to figure a way out. Since they seem sort of hobo-ish to me, they’d probably do better as carnys rather than circus performers. Good luck – you’ll need it.

    Love you, Jenny! I do sympathize. I lived in a house once that had rats in the walls and under the bathtub. It was awful. I couldn’t sleep at night because of the scurrying in the walls and the squeaks as they fought for spots under the bathtub… Disgusting. I doubt you want them in the house. Sorry hon. You’re going to have to kill ’em.

  191. They have a food source so figure out what it is and remove it if possible. Otherwise, I got nuthin, rats are so smart I hate to kill them.

  192. Ok. I lived in downtown Chicago where super rats out number people by a wide margin. Ortho home defense max traps are the best rat traps. But… you have animals so be so so careful if you use them. I set them two at a time (bc rats jump so sometimes they activate one, jump, and get stuck in the other) with apple smeared with peanut butter as bait and put a landscaping gate around them. Also the traps are strong enough that they will break your finger. Killing rats suck but I also found out that it sucks when they chew through concrete and make it into the house.

  193. @thebloggess
    The point of an outdoor/barn cat is that you don’t have to feed it because it catches all of it’s own food. Just make sure it has a shady place to hole up when it’s tired and access to good water. We used to live on my cousin’s farm, which had barn cats and woodpile cats and under-the-garage cats, and cats-who-visit-from-somewhere-else-and-come-through-the-woods, and once in awhile a lonely bobcat (which can and occasionally will breed with the semi-domesticated farm cats, leading to big, heavy, majestic-looking farm cats).

  194. This was truly funny! But I’m going to take the unpopular position and suggest that considering your family,
    Your pets and your health to trap and kill them in the most humane way possible. A quick death is better than dying slowly from poison.
    If you have a suppressed immune system , stay far away from where they’ve been. And I’m sure you can pay someone to cart away the carcasses. I’m really sorry, I feel like a big meanie but you need those things away from you and your family’s .
    I had an apartment that had a few rats come in. My cat hunted them but he got bit and developed this huge infected abssess that needed to be surgically drained and cleaned out and my heart broke for my brave big orange tabby. He was fine after that but I moved promptly.
    We are surrounded by groundhogs and our animal control won’t do crap to help. Spent hundreds on a guyvwho tried to trap them but couldn’t. Illegal to shoot them.

  195. “…so basically I’d have a lot of plague rats swimming in my pool”

    This is a perfect viral video. Do the thing and watch your hits and sales go up.

  196. My husband found by acciden ta 7′ black rat snake by our creek hiding under the tarp that covers our mulch. It wasn’t alone either. There were a bunch of garter snakes hanging around it, but they flew the coup when the tarp got lifted. The rat snake (which is suppose to be relatively tame- compared to a starving lion in my opinion-) jumped out at Bob who jumped back but wouldn’t leave until he got my mulch (which is why I love him so much! Bob, not the snake.) Then Bob came back to the house to get me to take a picture of the snake. The plan was to get the tractor and hook up the tarp to it. As Bob using the tractor pulled away the tarp, I was to get some pictures with the camera that Bob says is “technology” and he doesn’t do “technology.” So I agreed. Bob was going to kill the snake afterwards. I wanted to get a really good picture of the snake which kept watching me like it was thinking, “come on, one step closer, come on…” and “Do you feel lucky?” and other great lines from tough actors in movies its never seen but instinctively empathized with. Anyway, the dumb camera froze so I didn’t get a good picture. But lucky for the snake, I wouldn’t let my husband kill it because as big as it was, it would have been messy, and I now had a relationship with this snake. So, it is probably still there, and I could catch it maybe, and send it to you to deal with your rats. This kind of snake is a constrictor, so it isn’t suppose to bite, but if you watch the nature videos on it on youtube you will see it biting all the rangers who are holding it and swearing it isn’t a biter while they say, “This one is just aggressive, I guess.” I am not making that up. I would send it if there is an Uber driver willing to take it to you. I really don’t know how you send snakes through the mail, but it would definitely take care of your rats. Also these snakes like to hang out by water. This one slithers up one of the many trees overhanging our creek and drops down on its prey, so if you have a tree close to the pool, you may want to move it or the pool.

  197. Rats will get in the drawer you keep snacks in for the baby sitter when she goes to get a snack to help her stay awake til u get home. Iyes..I was the baby sitter (many years ago). Yes.. I stayed awake!

  198. We are small but we are many
    We are many, we are small
    We were here before you rose
    We will be here when you fall…

    the Rats

    PS: don’t kill us with poison, that is like the very worst way to die EVER

  199. Omgod. I thought I loved you before. Now I know you and I are just lost members of the same rat empathetic, anxiety laden tribe.

    Ok. That came of borderline crazy stalkerish… I’m not. Too much anxiety for all that.

    I have lived rats (as pets) since high school. (20+ years… I’m old.) I too, do NOT do the wild ones. That been said, we got a mouse in our house a few years back and it was so cute, I didn’t have the heart to kill it. So my Mom did it. shudder I, on the other hand, went out and bought 2 pets ratties. My daughter and I like to put cute hats on them. I love my ratties. Snakes are ok, but I could never have one. I would constantly be liberating the poor food and giving them a better life.

    While I have no advice on what to do with your rat problem, the image of them swimming in your pool both made me shudder and laugh at the same time.

  200. Laughing out loud!!

    My basement, which hasn’t been thoroughly cleaned in the three plus years we’ve lived in the house, is now almost as clean as it was when we moved in. This because we could smell, but couldn’t/haven’t located, a dead mouse. Time is the only thing that will take away the smell of death. There is no amount of cleaner, smudging or scented candles that will mask the smell for long. The smell is gone, but the carcass will remain forever.

  201. What about 13 lined ground squirrels? I think they have those by you too. They are daylight Tommy.

  202. Ok- I blame you. My gardener says we have moles or voles. He begins to tell me the difference between them when I see them. They are different and they take different methods to get rid of. They’re underground! I’m never going to see them to tell which they are. I think they are your lawn gerbils that have run away from TX to CA. My dog is of no help and I can’t have cats because they get eaten by coyotes. I live in a virtual wild kingdom! How did you scare the lawn gerbils away? I need to get these guys outta here and apperantly coyotes don’t eat them!

  203. I tried all kinds of traps, and I still say ye cant beat a cat around the house. haven’t seen mouse or rat, or any sign of them since I got my cat 2 years ago.

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