January 04, 2003

Rat Bastard

Yvonne has a rat story. So do I. I left it in her comments but I thought I'd share this with you all since you are probably about up to HERE with Frodo and the gang. Anyway, here is The Tale of Rat Bastard:

I lived in a small, cruddy, down-and-out pseudo-apartment (that was probably illegal) in Miami. One day I saw The Rat. I swear, I've seen smaller possums. (Yeah, I've got possum stories too.) See, these giant rats breed along the canals in Miami, and they can chew through metal pipe and concrete block, no lie. So my landlord provides me with... the trap and the peanut butter-smeared piece of chicken. I wait. One night as I am attempting to sleep (trying to ignore the fact that I now have a roommate who is A Rat) I hear the familiar rustle-crackle-thud of Mr. Giant Rat Who Must Wear Combat Boots Because He is So Loud. Then I hear a *snap!* and a high-pitched squeal. Well, I wasn't going to sleep with a mouldering rat corpse in my bathroom. I got up and reluctantly went to the bathroom. I turned on the light -- NO RAT. But the trap was sprung, and there was a little pool of rat blood on the floor next to it. I looked around wildly. THEN I SAW IT.

It was near the door, not three inches from my foot, glaring at me with the most concentrated look of malevolence I have ever seen. Naturally, I jumped backwards faster than I have ever done before or since. The rat ran out of the bathroom and headed for the semi-enclosed kitchen. It was staggering but still too quick for me. The little bastard ran under the fridge. And there it stayed.

After a night of no sleep I had to go to work the next day. I told my landlord what had happened and he promised to Do Something about it. I kind of half-hoped it had escaped (somehow) and decided to leave the abode of humans for good. In a way it did -- when I got back home, I opened the door to be greeted by the odoriferous stench of rotting rat. Obviously it had expired during the night under my fridge. I called the landlord over (he lived in the main part of the house), and we tipped over the fridge. To see a bare floor. Finally it occured to me to look at the bottom part of the fridge. Sure enough, the rat bastard had climbed into the grill and wedged itself in firmly before going to that garbage can in the sky. No doubt its last thoughts were: "This'll fix the bitch!"

It sure did. My landlord and I had to scrape Rat Bastard's remains off my fridge bottom with a knife, and I had to done plastic gloves and clean the whole thing with undiluted chlorox. In the meantime we bathed in the wonderful stench of ex-rat.

I hate rats.

Posted by Andrea Harris at January 4, 2003 01:08 AM

Once upon a time my grandfather was afflicted by a rat in his house. There's a picture of the house still up over at my blog; the rat prowled the back corridor where there was an old fashioned walk in pantry. He was, I think, very like the rats in The Roly Poly Pudding (surely the most terrifying Beatrix Potter tale) save for the waistcoat. Ithad gnawed a hole in the wall (not at all a subtle rat).

Grandad was a hunter when he wasn't doctoring. When he had had enough, he sat up late one night with a shotgun, quieter than any cat, peacefully smoking his pipe, until the rat appeared. Boom! Vaporized rat. He scraped up the remains, and called in the carpenters in the morning to deal with the, uh, collateral damage.

This was about 1930. Probably couldn't get away with this anymore; have to hire a Licensed Animal Nuisance Control Expert. Grandad set off 4th of July fireworks from his backyard, too.

Posted by: Jack at January 4, 2003 at 09:18 AM

Some people have all the fun. I only got to watch as my father hunted a rat in the bottom of washing machine with a pellet gun. The way he jumped up on that counter be could have been in the NBA!

Posted by: Dave at January 4, 2003 at 10:23 AM

I lived in an old hotel in Greenville, Pa in '71 that was infested with rats. River Rats. Some of them were about a foot long, not including the tail.

still shuddering

We used to sit on the balcony overlooking the "river", throw slices of bread on the river bank and shoot them with a .22 when they came out to get the bread.

I can still hear them scuttling along in the walls. You don't know horror till you come home after a hard night of drinking and turn on the light in the kitchen to see the floor crawling with the vile creatures.

Then again, maybe it was the acid.

Posted by: Mike S at January 4, 2003 at 10:36 AM

One of the joys of where I live is that we don't get rats. Though, in Australia, it's the spiders you have to look out for! :|

Posted by: Scott Wickstein at January 4, 2003 at 07:04 PM

You need to check out the Borg rat on my blog. Any day now, I expect to be assimilated.

Posted by: Steve H. at January 4, 2003 at 07:13 PM

I was almost devoured by a rat as an infant. Seems one tunneled up to my grandparents' home from the creek behind their property, dug in under the crawlspace, and gnawed through the drywall into the room where my folks and I were sleeping while we visited.

My mom says that the first night we were there we heard this weird scratching, but couldn't find the source. The second night, she awoke suddenly and glanced over at my crib, where she saw a "dark mass" perched on the railing. She panicked and flailed her arm at it, sending it sailing across the room and into the wall.

When they switched on the light and discovered it was a rat, the expected full scale freakout ensued, complete with hunting rifle and pieces of ex-rat scattered about the outdoors (my grandfather trapped it, took it outside and blew it away, then affixed a piece of steel to the hole in the wall).

I apparently slept through the whole thing.

Posted by: Tracey at January 4, 2003 at 07:25 PM

Rats aren't nearly as tasty as they look.

Posted by: Steve H. at January 4, 2003 at 09:13 PM

Jack's story reminds me of my dad. As a kid in the late 30s or early 40s, he stayed at a cabin with a family friend named Buck, who was probably best described as the 20th century's equivalent of a mountain man. He woke in the middle of the night to the gentle sound of Buck shooting rats with a .45.

Posted by: Ken Summers at January 4, 2003 at 09:45 PM

Steve, they may taste like pumpkin-pie, but I'd never know.

Anyway, this gets one to remembering a whole nest of them being disturbed by "urban renewal" just behind our back yard when I was a kid. My mother is still deathly afraid of them, and sees them pretty much everywhere when it's dark enough.

Posted by: David Jaroslav at January 5, 2003 at 12:45 AM

Scott Wickstein, what do you mean you don't get rats in Australia? Where do you live, Coober Pedy?

I had rats in my Sydney apartment. The owner's representative was cool to helping me get rid of them, until rats turned up in his office. I had nothing to do with it, I swear!

I was spared the spiders, though.

Posted by: Angie Schultz at January 5, 2003 at 11:41 AM

Rat-killing 101:

You will need:
1. Pellet gun (large enough to kill said rat).
2. Laser pointer
3. Duct tape.
4. Flashlight.
5. Plastic bag.
6. Comfortable chair.
7. Patience.

1.Tape the laser pointer to the barrel of the pellet gun so it points in the direction of your target.
2. Sight it in (outside where you can't hurt anything or anyone) for a range of about 10 feet or so.
3. Place the comfortable chair in your ambush room (probably the kitchen).
4. Sit in the chair with your flashlight and pellet gun.
5. When you hear the rat, turn on the laser pointer and ready your pellet gun.
6. Turn on the flashlight in the direction of the noise. If it's the rat...
7. Place the "death dot" from the laser pointer on your target and pull the trigger.
8. Place dear rat in the plastic bag and dispose of it.
9. Clean up the mess.

Of course, if you have night-vision goggles, you won't need the flashlight...

Posted by: yak at January 5, 2003 at 12:51 PM

Oops. Please disregard the second "7" under the "You will need..." And Step 8 should read "dead" not "dear" rat...

Posted by: yak at January 5, 2003 at 12:53 PM

I once worked in a grocery store, and found a rat scurrying around the floor one day. He proceeded to face me and tried to intimidate me despite the 320:1 difference in our repsective weights. Down went the mop broom (you know, a yard wide flat cotton sweeper), and he was on his way to rat heaven.

Posted by: Frank C at January 5, 2003 at 07:07 PM


Sounds like a better technique than mine. Do you know that a pellet rifle can shoot a hole right through at least one sheet of drywall? Neither did I. I proved it a whole lot of times, though, until I gave up and went to the store and got the D-con wedges. Then I went down to the store again and got the stuff that's supposed to kill Norway rats. That, finally, did the trick. The D-con wedge stuff was apparently mighty tasty; it was all gone in just a few days. Rats were still around and hungry a few days later.

Posted by: David Perron at January 6, 2003 at 01:08 PM


Although I would love to take credit for Rat Killing 101, it was actually told to me by an Army major buddy of mine when we were stationed in Oslo at the NATO Headquartersabout 10 years ago. His house did not have drywall. I suspect, however, that he did have to do a little bit of wood repair on one of the cabinet doors in the kitchen. BTW, his wife was not amused by his technique - although she was pleased that the rat was no longer terrorizing their cats...

He used a pellet pistol, BTW.

Posted by: yak at January 6, 2003 at 05:49 PM

MMM well, I live in Adelaide, which is a lot closer to Coober Pedy then Sydney is.

Seriously, I've never seen a rat outside a pet shop.

Posted by: Scott Wickstein at January 7, 2003 at 09:38 AM