I’ve lived here almost 40 years and have never seen a rat till a few days ago. There are rats in town, I know, cos they’re everywhere but just don’t live around people much. About 30 years ago there was a grain elevator in town that burned down, and people said rats ran off in all directions. That made sense, cos they were there for the grain. But I’m outside a lot and I’m sure there’s never been one here before. My friends across the alley own the woods up behind me and they’ve never seen a rat up there either.
I feed the birds and squirrels on the patio and with a feeder every year when it gets cold. So several days ago I went out and 2 squirrels ran off, and something big ran into the ivy beside the patio. Wait, what? What was that? There are mice live in the ivy; I see them sometimes. That’s ok; they can live out there as long as they stay out of my basement. But this was too big for a mouse, and the squirrels don’t run in the ivy to hide, they take off up thru the yard.
Then a face came out of the ivy, a bigger face, nose wiggling and looking around, while I was standing on the porch, 6′ away. Then he came out and waltzed over to the pile of seeds like he belonged there. He’d take a seed and run back in the ivy. He was out there for 2 hours off and on. I went and got my small live trap and some peanut butter for bait, and put it right where he had been coming out of the ivy.
I won’t use poison, cos if you poison one animal outside, you poison them all: birds, squirrels, chipmunks and even the neighbor’s cat. I can’t use a spring/kill trap for the same reason. I wouldn’t normally kill any animal, but I’d kill this to get rid of it if I had a good way to do it without harming anything else. If I could catch it in the trap, it would go out in the country to live.
I saw him again the next morning, but he ran up thru the yard after he looked around on the patio. On those 2 days, something tripped the live trap 4 times. Rats are supposed to be smart animals, and I think he knows that’s a trap. In fact think he’s laughing at me: hey, that human thought she was smart and put that trap out here with peanut butter, and a piece of ham the next day, so I’ll set her trap off so she knows I’m smarter than her. I’m too smart to get caught in a trap!
I haven’t seen him now for 2 days. There are 2 feral cats who hang around sometimes, and this morning one sat beside the herb bed for 10 minutes, just sitting there. I always ran those cats off when I saw them, cos they scare the squirrels, chipmunks and birds. But there’s the ultimate rat trap and I won’t run them off any more. Even if one of them doesn’t catch him, they are a good deterrent, I hope.
I keep hoping he was just passing thru. I’ll keep watching.