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An unpleasant nocturnal experience.

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Robin Graham11/01/2022 01:44:02
945 forum posts
295 photos

A few days ago there was a minor domestic mystery in my house - I had left an opened packet of out of date sausage rolls on a kitchen counter for disposal, and when I saw that they had gone (but packet still in place) I assumed that my wife had chucked them. She assumed that I had. We dismissed it as just one of those things. Maybe the dogs ate them.

Yesterday I got up in the middle of the night (as men of a certain age sometimes do) to find that all the house lights were out. Down to the cellar workshop ( where the consumer unit is), and it was like a steamy tropical rainforest - at first I thought it was smoke and something had blown up.

It turned out that it was a leak in the hot water feed hose to the dishwasher in the kitchen, which is above the cellar. And when I extracted the machine from its housing what did I find? Apart from a strangely punctured hose, sausage rolls!

It's a rat, or rats I reckon. It would be fairly easy for them to get into the cellars, but how into the house? Both stairways are securely closed, but maybe via pipe ducting? This is the gas/electricity feed from the vaulted cellar ceiling to the kitchen:


For scale, that's a 15mm pipe.

First question - do you reckon a rat could get through that? I have no idea - I know mice can get through tiny gaps though.

Second - what to do? My instinct is to get Rentokil or someone in, but my wife reckons that we can discourage it/them without extreme measures. Has anyone had a similar problem and can advise as to likely cost of getting it sorted out by commercial enterprises? Or suggest other strategies? Maybe I just need to buy some sand and cement. I'm OK with mice in the workshop - they don't seem to any harm and have never ventured upstairs - but not rats if they're going to chew though things and get into the house.

Luckily the only machine to have taken a direct hit from the deluge is an ancient Multico morticer, and then only the table - the lovely Hoover motor escaped. One must get priorities right.

Sorry for this rambling post - it's been a long day. If I see that rat, well, I'm going to give it a piece of my mind!


peak411/01/2022 01:54:23
1671 forum posts
175 photos

Many years ago, just before I went to university, a girl I was getting to know had a similar mystery, in that food kept on vanishing there too.
Lesley obviously know it wasn't here, as did her parents, so all suspicion fell on the younger brother, who vigorously protested his innocence.
It was only after this had been going on for about 3 weeks that her Dad found an abscondee from the local open prison had been hiding in their attic the whole time.

Sadly I lost contact with her when we both went off to Uni, but it was quite pleasant to keep her company whilst the folks were out; just you provide reassurance you understand.


Robin Graham11/01/2022 02:33:59
945 forum posts
295 photos
Posted by peak4 on 11/01/2022 01:54:23:

Many years ago, just before I went to university, a girl I was getting to know had a similar mystery, in that food kept on vanishing there too.
Lesley obviously know it wasn't here, as did her parents, so all suspicion fell on the younger brother, who vigorously protested his innocence.
It was only after this had been going on for about 3 weeks that her Dad found an abscondee from the local open prison had been hiding in their attic the whole time.

Sadly I lost contact with her when we both went off to Uni, but it was quite pleasant to keep her company whilst the folks were out; just you provide reassurance you understand.


That's a good tale Bill. I'll have a look in the attic. My daughter, who knows about these things, suggests that it's a very small monkey, because two bananas have also gone missing. Peel left in the fruitbowl, nourishing matter neatly abstracted. No fingerprints though.


Pete.11/01/2022 02:53:50
794 forum posts
232 photos

If you don't want it going in your house, leave the sausage rolls outside.

Craig Brown 211/01/2022 06:01:30
58 forum posts
30 photos

We had a rat for around 2 months when we first moved in to our house that was undergoing renovation. I set up cameras to record its movements at night and to see if it was still in the house. We were very careful to make sure food was shut away and no scraps left out. They are very clever creatures that can fit through small holes, jump very high and climb rough vertical faces.

I decided to block all holes into the house as I found some nights it was leaving and coming back and I didn't want it breeding or bringing others in. Then I set up around 8 or so snap traps (top tip, bait has to be stuck down with something sticky, chocolate spread or peanut butter, because one night I filmed it pulling a biscuit off a trap without activating it) it is then just a waiting game as they can go a long time without food or water. In the mean time I knew someone with rabbiting ferrets but they couldn't sniff it out.

Eventually hunger got the better of it and it got caught in a trap. Still to this day I don't know where it was hiding in the day, I suspect under the floor somewhere but who knows. Not a very pleasant experience but satisfying when finally caught and knowing it was gone.

pgk pgk11/01/2022 06:13:27
2549 forum posts
293 photos

Out here in rural-land rodents are a problem. I've had three cars nibbled and several house invasions.
House invasions are now rare because we monitor the cats' entry and have removed all the nice vegetation that grew up the side of the house. We've had access via the cavity wall and plastic air vents - which failed to resolve with plan A of ally replacements, and now they're DIY stainless. If we have another invasion via drain-pipes and roof then I'll have to fit the downpipe cones. Main barn has a RatMat electric floor backed up with numerous bait boxes and the feed has been moved to a more remote steel shed. And then stored in steel bins. OH parks her car on the apron and puts an ultrasonic deterrent under it. Everything seemed calm but with this recent wet and cold weather I noticed bait going missing in the barn - so they are looking for nicer winter quarters again.

Apart from 1 cheap and 2 expensive car repairs it's cost a small chest of drawers, one fridge, a repair to the main water pipe coming in, rewiring one drier and the indoor part of the line to the borehole and some sack-truck tires on small kit. And throwing away all the useful stuff I kept in the barn like part rolls of carpet - anything chewable or habitable.

One early invasion via the roof was discovered by teeth marks in a bar of soap in the bathroom. The worst invasion was after local forestry work when all the rodents emigrated our way.


Speedy Builder511/01/2022 07:00:28
2590 forum posts
207 photos

We found the remains of Mr Rat in the house the other morning, Mr PUSS had dealt with him and only his heart was left on the carpet (Mr Puss doesn't like heart !).

John McNamara11/01/2022 07:13:47
1336 forum posts
125 photos

When we moved into our house about 45 years ago it was derelict, a brick Victorian with bad everything except the cracked walls. ! Yes it even had a council notice served on it. that it could not be re-let, The previous owners were terrible, the worst kind of landlord. Anyway for a youngish couple like us then it offered opportunity, and years of work restoring it.

There was a lean-too at the back that was in slightly better than the front, at least there were no holes in the floor.

It was here we slept for the next couple of years. however when we moved in there were another occupants, In the roof there were possums. About the size of a medium size house cat these critters like the protection of the roof space. I gather they have an appetite for certain physical endeavours, All know is they make a lot of noise when engaged. In due course I was able to close of the holes they used and we had a little peace.

But then there was the scratching and scurrying noises with the occasional squeak. A rodent!

Evicting Mr Ratty was not possible, there were too many holes. It became quite annoying having retired for the night, he would swing into action. "Squeaking and scampering everywhere" (Walter De La Mare described it so well).

Anyway one night I could hear him in the next room It was actually a walk in cupboard about 1.8m square. I knew with the door closed there was no exit. So in I went and closed the door. I was armed with a broom. And so the battle started. I had no Idea how fast a rat can move. and yes they really are aggressive when cornered! Fair enough too I was on his turf and he was defending it. Sadly a story like this has to conclude with an outcome and yes after maybe 15 minutes of me shifting boxes and Mr Rat darting and lunging, the broom minus the head which had broken off settled the argument.

I was never happy about that argument, I guess you do what you have to do is the right rebuttal.

Having now moved to the country I See rats and mice in the fields from time to time. I wonder if they know I am a killer?

Our country garden is also home to many Antechinus a pouched Marsupial About the size of a large Mouse. Most times I go for a walk I will see one. The live on insects mainly. The Males have a very short but happy life, a few weeks, adding to the gnome!

Cities within cities within cities.

Jim Young 211/01/2022 07:50:48
39 forum posts
5 photos

You need to be systematic. Remove all food sources. NO feeding the birds, poultry keeping etc! Tidy away all outdoor ‘cover’ , flower pots, boxes, foliage etc. work around filling all access points - however small. Obviously mortar works, builders gun foam is good BUT needs the inclusion of stainless steel wire wool or the little monsters will chew through it! Then install the closed bait boxes with the bait blocks in them. You can then monitor activity,

Don’t forget that they will go up a rough brick wall without a hesitation. Block around all service access points. Lastly you have to keep up the supply of a good quality of bait. You will reduce the ‘local’ rodent population but there will always be new ‘incomers’.

Martin King 211/01/2022 08:43:34
980 forum posts
436 photos

Hi All

A fair while ago we came home to a flooded kitchen floor not long after I had relocated the water softener from under the kitchen sink into the workshop next door. This required drilling a hole through the cavity wall in order to pass the lengthened plastic hoses. I used foam to seal the holes.

Mr Rat had eaten the hose INSIDE the cavity wall and just inside the kitchen under the units after eating the foam.

We worked out that somehow he had got down from the roof space via the cavity so we trapped out the loft space.

Now paying attention we could hear the little sod scurrying in the wall.

Repaired the piping, this time putting the hose section inside the wall inside 22mm copper pipe and using cement to seal the holes. This seems to have worked.

Finally caught the little guy who was very fat!

We live next to our field so plenty of rodent activity around the house but our huge cat treats the whole area as his personal Serengeti so we are well used to the bits they leave behind!

Cheers, Martin

Nigel Bennett11/01/2022 09:20:29
456 forum posts
20 photos

Cod Spanish voice:

"Eees Hamster...."

noel shelley11/01/2022 09:28:00
1278 forum posts
21 photos

NEVER underestimate the inteligence of the rat ! A huge corn barn ratproof exept for the cable entry. They had a set route to this point from any part of the building that involved climing a 6' lenght of threaded rod. Stand under it gun in hand EASY, 3 in 5mins one night ! IF you have rats in the house DO NOT use poison, the place will stink for 6 weeks as the carcase desicates. USE TRAPS, in the UK SELF SET work well or make a live trap. I lve in a semi and the neighbour put poison down, I'm burning a lot of joss sticks now ! Noel.

Nigel McBurney 111/01/2022 09:39:49
999 forum posts
3 photos

I live out in the sticks,ans get the occasional rat,a few more lately as the neighbours have poultry,they have poisoned 8 this winter,until recently i used rat traps which work quite well,though they have two problems ,mice can steal the bait and this winter a stoat makes regular visits to out garden and I do not want to trap it accidentally,I have managed to shoot two rats,a cage trap is not effective as again mice thieve the bait.This winter the problem is mice,lots of them i trapped at least 15,got two yesterday. Robins problem with the water pipe in the cellar, I would suggest wrap the pipe with plastic tape or rubber sleeving then fill the gaps in the brick work with mortar, sleeving the pipe is essential as cement mortar will corrode the copper pipe, I built my property 40 years ago and over the last 5 years two pipes passing through internal walls had pinholes in them where they came in contact with mortar joints in the Celcon block walls. I had mice in the loft ,they got in via a gap where the electric supply entered the house then went up into the loft via the cavity,easier to poison them as pets etc cannot access the loft. Another rural pest is moles,one single mole pushed up 23 molehills and tunnelled all over the lawn that took a proffessional to catch it and it was only one mole. Some years ago when cleaning out the stable my wife would find rats in the straw where the horse had rolled on them ,they were referred to as "flat pack rats" although one day she put her hand in a feed bag and put her touched something warm and furry,a rat, quick thinking she tie some binder twine around the top of the bag and put the bag on the garden,and surprisingly the rat just remained in the sack,a while later I came home and the rat had not chewed the bag ,so I got a length of 2x2 and care fully opened the sack,the shot out like a rocked but made the mistake of running into some chicken wire surrounding the garden,he was jammed in the wire and that was his lot.What would rural people do without binder twine.

Tony Pratt 111/01/2022 10:08:43
1926 forum posts
12 photos

Rats are going to be after food & warmth this time of year, we get problems occasionally & it is quite disconcerting sharing your space with rats to say the least. Rat poison & an air rifle has kept them in check.


Circlip11/01/2022 10:10:18
1499 forum posts

No long rat tales (Tails), the O/Ps original picture would allow rats three abreast to march into the house. Saw a rat go into next doors wall via the inverted 'T' of the missing pointing. Gaps would be no more than 1/2" (12mm).

Bait for rat boxes, Chocolate spread laced with rat poison wrapped in polythene bag. The fact they have to chew through it proof you have them, but not for long.

Regards Ian.

Ady111/01/2022 10:19:23
5065 forum posts
734 photos

If you can find their nest and disturb it they move on, they don't like being hassled

One moved into a burrow under my bird feeder, copious amounts of stones and a regular full-on water hose convinced him to look up rightmove and I haven't seen him since

Swarf, Mostly!11/01/2022 10:55:50
643 forum posts
70 photos

Sounds to me like a job for 'rent-a-mog'!!!

Best regards,

Swarf, Mostly!

Nigel Graham 211/01/2022 11:12:39
2009 forum posts
27 photos

In the last few weeks I decently interred two young rats of past tense I found, a fortnight apart, on the garden path. They showed no signs of injury so I think starvation and cold had done for them.

They are a mixed blessing, cats, as they do seem to think their loo is on their territory but that territory is about half the street - the plot-wide sheds some gardens still have (mine's the workshop) is their equivalent of the M3. Despite the, umm, traces of their passing on the lawn, they might be helping keep the rodent population down.

However, I can attest the efficacy of the porcelain water-trap.

With being male and my own fixtures and fittings being the same age as the rest of me, wee small hours expeditions to the necessesarium, downstairs in my house, are a fact of life; and I usually light my way only with a small wind-up lantern rather switching on the bright house-lights. Thus it was that I did not see until daylight one morning, a real "drowned rat" , a fairly young one I think by its size, within the loo. I wondered if its fatal fall was before or after I had added insult to injury.

Rubber gloves, bucket and garden spade for the undertaking; then a tour of inspection. Rattus had not touched any of the biscuits and fruit I had left on the worktop; but had been (and had "been" ) in a drawer of tea-towels and cleaning-cloths. I ditched most, relegated some to workshop duties, and disinfected the drawer.

I think its entry had been a hole that once took a tumble-dryer flue. I had blanked off the external aperture but not the inner, leaving a handy rodent-way from the cavity. I soon made and fitted a cover!

My guess is that Roland had tried to reach the water for a drink and simply slipped into something from which he could not escape. Perhaps it is similar incidents over the years that have created that strange myth about rats entering homes via the drains and water-closets.

Edited By Nigel Graham 2 on 11/01/2022 11:13:17

Flywheel11/01/2022 11:48:43
34 forum posts
1 photos

Back in the 1960's a friend of mine was manager of a local Coo-op store, the staff toilet was on the upper floor, whilst sat there one day minding his own business he heard a movement in the water under him, yes it was Mr Rat - talk about a rat up a drainpipe!


Howard Lewis11/01/2022 12:33:53
6005 forum posts
14 photos

It is amazing just how small a hole a mouse can crawl through

When we moved to Shoreham, we took with us a feral kitten. He eventually met his end through crossing a busy coast road, into a football field, next to the town dump.

He was an inveterate hunter, rats and even rabbits were fair game to him!

Within a month of his passing, the local paper complained of an increase of rats on the dump


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