Daily life

Rat in the house

12:03 PM

About a week and a half ago I spotted a few rat poops along the window frame in our utility area, which we are usually good at closing at night (but not always). These poops alone were enough to give me nasty Navi Mumbai flashbacks of which I’ll go into details further down, because you see back in 2010 when we were living there one rat managed to go inside my washing machine from the bottom and find its way up and nibbled away components on the electronic control panel efficiently killing it and leaving us to wait for a month for the replacement part to come. So seeing rodent poops in the area where we keep the washing machine is now always a disturbing thing.

The first thing I did was check if any of the things that are edible or remotely edible in my kitchen were left alone, and thankfully the fruit basket didn’t suffer any attack, and there was not a sign of poop in the kitchen. From there I went straight to the kirana store and bought some rat poison and placed some behind the washing machine (out of reach of both dog and kiddo) where it stayed untouched for a week. Then suddenly last Wednesday the “rat cake” was gone and I knew it was just a matter of days before we or see a half dead rat coming out of somewhere or end up smelling a dead rat a week from then. To avoid both scenarios are they are both disgusting I started looking for signs of the rodent’s whereabouts, but could find none which was quite puzzling as they usually can’t hide their presence being rather chronic poop machines. The next morning I awoke to see a massive trail of poop all over my kitchen counter with a massive concentration of said crap under my gas stove…which was enough to turn me into a crime scene investigator. using deduction I figured out that from the stove the only way the rat could have gone hiding was using the gas pipe through the rather big gap in the back of the counter and down to where my cylinder is and where my maid decided to put a bag of old newspaper. And sure enough right behind the cylinder and the bag was a pile of poop, the remnant of the rat poison cake…but no rat! Darn! Looked around in all possible creases in the kitchen, pushed the washing machine around and tried to peek underneath, no trace of the rat, which didn’t even feel like going after the fruits still in the basket on the metallic shelves.
Left with quite a puzzler and enough poop to bring in diseases, I broke out the cleaning products and sponges, and started scrubbing the hell out of my kitchen counter, doused it in Domex for good measure, threw all the sponges used in the dustbin and went washing my hands with Dettol to make sure we would not get sick. The new plan being to put another piece of rat cake behind the stove and hope to get a better trail to follow the next morning. Friday morning comes and the rat cake crumbs were found behind my microwave oven, which I promptly lifted to check if a rat could hide underneath somewhere, nada…the rat poops were only on the kitchen counter and nowhere else, at this point DH joined me in my mad investigation and we tried to think like rats figuring out where that freaking rodent could possibly have gone, turns out we have too many brain cells to accurately think like a rat and never found him, and we both started to freak out at the prospect of finding a dead rat somewhere, after all the rat poison kills a rat in 3-4 days after the first ingestion and it had been feeding on it for 4 days already. And since the instruction on the pack says to keep replacing the eaten rat cakes until the feeding stops, that’s what we did Friday night. But this time I decided to catch that beast in the act, so by around 1.30 am I decided to go have my first look at the hot spot, turned out I lucked out, I switched on the lights and immediately heard a loud “tonk” from behind the microwave followed by a “clink” under the stove, and a nibbled rat cake in full sight.
Knowing from experience that these critters are super fast and need to be contained in one area, I closed the kitchen door and went to wake up DH so that we could if needed chase the rat around until it found its way out through a window somewhere. Re-entering the crime scene the first thing I saw was something climbing up a rod in the utility space, rushed there to find out that this rat was a badass fat huge one, to give you an indication of it’s size take an unsharpened pencil and you have the length of its body alone, then add the tail…yep that big! What surprised me even more than it’s size was the fact he managed to climb up a stainless steel rod used to operate the glass blades of a ventilation window close to the ceiling, and was clung to said glass blades in a Spiderman look alike pose, determined to stay there. I quickly opened the windows in that room, shut the door that connects the utility space to the kitchen after placing a rat cake on the window frame, shut all the windows and balcony door the rat could possibly find its way back in from and went to bed.
The next morning the rat cake was gone, and hopefully the rat with it. It’s been two nights now since then during which we have seen no sign of its presence and the rat poison bit I put near the washing machine is still intact. But then last night my washing machine started making a squeaky sound again, and we hope that in the few days our visitor clearly camped in our quarters he didn’t decide to eat a few wires in the way one of our many rodent visitor did in Navi Mumbai.

Because as stated before, we had more than one occurrence of rat related damage back when we were living there, one ate the fruits and bread in our kitchen night after night until we figured out what the problem was and acted on it, one ate the washing machine wires and the dustbin’s plastic parts. And a third one ate our fruits, furniture and went as far as the laundry basket to eat away stains on my period panties (too much info here? oh well my apologies). That’s back there that we found out our dog is not really that good a hunter and we had a few nights of our goof ball barking and chasing a dark grey blur around the flat with us frantically trying to restrain the dog and cornering the blurry thing in question. The interesting part was that before living in Navi Mumbai we were living in our favourite flat, the one on the rooftop of an independent house, where the like hood of ever seeing a rat would have been much higher, yet in 5 years living in that house we saw giant spiders, a baby squirrel that got lost and tried to escape our kitchen, monkeys, an occasional praying mantis, lizards and of course cockroaches by the plenty. Not a single rat had the idea to climb 3 stories up to our kitchen window that was opened most of the time, and it’s not that the neighbourhood was rat free, I saw them frequently in the gutter in the street, but clearly they were satisfied with garbage waste left to rot there rather than gourmet food straight from the kitchen.
In Mumbai not so much, rats are apparently a plague in the city and do not shy away from defying heights to find their food, that’s probably what led the one we had spotted a few days ago to climb all the way to the 3rd floor to find food. Probably staying away from the rat snakes you can find in the garden as well.

The good new is that I spotted a notice in our building lobby this Saturday announcing that a pest control company would be coming this Monday to treat the apartments against white ants and cockroaches and conduct a rodent treatment of the outdoor premises as well, this my dear is perfect timing!

6 comments

  1. sudha3:47 PM

    this was some hilarious post i must say ...bt i can well imagine ur pain ...though living in navimumbai last 10 yrs i mut say ..i never faced rodent probs ..or any other pest ..as i never entered the house untill teh pest control ws done ..and take it frm me never ever go fr teh local ones which the flats provide ....they are v ill efective to rodents ...put in bundles of tobaco in theri entry point ..its a sure sort repulse ..this is what we got our car done ...it ws at thaty time outside as we had returned in june and by that time allotment ws doen ..and bam...in july 2011 the rat massacred teh wires of our new car( it was jst 5mnths old then)...it ws pouring cats and dogs then ..and it ws a huge chaos taht day i still remember..hubby ws soaked to the bone waiting fr towing truck to come ...taking it to the wrkshop etc etc ..after that there ws no rodent attack ..and as advised by a friend we never eat in teh car ...no crumbs no rat and coackroach!!!any hunger attack ..the car is parked at the side all the ravens are brought out ...their grumbling stoamch ar soothed and pop they go in!!!this also reminds me in my mothers house in kolkata ..the rats toilet is is under the washinhg machine ..where ever we pull the machine it poops there without fail ...

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  2. In Switzerland it's wild ferrets that chew on wires under cars, so much so that there is a special car insurance rider to insure you against rodents chewing your car, must say though that it's not that much of a huge problem in cities than it is for those living in the countryside.
    Makes sens though that rats would be attracted to a car full of food stuff crumbs, afterall in houses they tend to stick around the kitchen too. We had to remind my maid that the kitchen counter needs to be cleaned properly INCLUDING the area under the stove, but I have a feeling it fell in a deaf ear once again...sigh!
    Turns out that the pest control that asked us to be home so they could treat the kitchens against roaches and white ants never showed up.

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  3. I guess we've been lucky never to have had rats at any of our residences. Then again we have 3 indoor cats & 8 outdoor cats. Every once in a while the kitties catch a rat, mouse, or shrew & they leave the head & kidneys or the body with the neck partially chewed through left on the front doormat.

    Cockroaches, oh my I can tell you horror stories about them.

    There are no 'pest control' services here in Nepal- so when we first moved in I bought a liter of 'sheep dip' (at the veterinary supply) & diluted it in a weed sprayer & sprayed the entire perimeter of our house & property. EWWWW!! Like the next day we swept up around 3 kgs of giant cockroaches.


    I leave the lizards alone- I figure they eat the spiders that my maid & I are martyrs to. I don't appreciate the lizard poops they leave on the window sills though (my maid says the lizard poops are poisonous?).

    I have to say though, as far as bugs go in size & quantity- Louisiana is the BUG capital of the world. My dad's family is from Louisiana & I've seen 'stick insects' a foot long, 6 inch long grasshoppers (that spit brown goo that looks like snuff), "junebugs" which are like huge flying cockroaches with fish hooks for feet (if one of those flies into your hair it is a real treat to try & untangle it, let me tell you). I've been to some pretty 'buggy' places in the world (the Amazon, the Congo, Viet Nam, rural Thailand, Madagascar) but nothing as bad as Louisiana!

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  4. Ewwww that's not the way to promote tourism for Louisianna! Bugs creep me out big time, like you I really don't mind the lizards at all, because they eat bugs, my maid freaked out when she saw one in our previous flat, and I was like "Ohhhhh How cute, we have a lizard in this home too".
    The first night in my first place in bangalore back in the days the wardrobe and writting desk seemed to be infested with roaches, so I asked the landlady if she had any bug spray, she gave me some and I happily sprayed away, only never expected that so many cockroaches would jump out of their hidding place all at once, there was about 50 big fat ones suddenly crawling all over the place, and hundreds of smaller ones, it was like Temple of Doom was playing live in my room! Took me tons of courrage and about 2 hours of non stop shoe swating to kill them all, and I spent the rest of the night not finding much sleep, the next day I bought a cockroach chalk and drew circles around all the furnitures and around my bed. For over a week I would find 4-5 roaches dead every morning, then after that less and less, the landlady admitted that the previous tenant was very messy bachelor that didn't really keep the place clean...judging by the amount of roaches I squished, I can only imagine how dirty he must have kept the place, and womdered how he made it out of this place alive :)

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  5. Sharell9:06 PM

    Gawd, I can't believe the damn rat was still merrily climbing things and eating more poison four days after his first feeding. Should've been dead. It's all so hideous. :-(

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  6. I know! I was sure that after 4 days of nibbling rat poison the thing would be dead or seriously weak and unable to climb things, but then when I saw how big it was it somehow made a little sense, i guess big bulky rats get intoxicated less fast :(

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