Idle Thoughts From Mt. Waas
Ahh, rats!.
by Ollie Harris
Sep 27, 2012 | 551 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In 1957, Disney came out with a film called “Perri.” Along with most everyone else who watched the movie, I rooted for the little squirrel against all hazards, most especially against the predators.

A few years later, in 1962, Disney released a film called, “Lobo.” With this film I found myself completely on the side of the predator. I cheered for the wolf. If the wolf could catch and eat a squirrel, I was all for it.

I recognized the inconsistency. I recognized that it was mostly a matter of PR, of packaging, that determined my attitudes about squirrels and wolves. I saw that I could be influenced by something as simple as a musical soundtrack. It was a lesson in thinking for myself, of trying to be objective in matters far wider than predators and prey.

So it is that I am trying to be objective about the rats that got inside my truck. If you are getting tired of hearing about rodents inside my truck, just think how disgusted I am about having them there. Still, I am trying to be objective about it.

Several weeks ago, I complained about the mice that had chewed through some wires on my truck. As a result, I was told of a few things that were known to repel mice. Someone told me that Irish Spring soap would keep mice away. It might be true that Irish Spring repels mice, but the rat left a string of urine right across the bar of soap.

A friend, Lee G., told me that Bounce dryer sheets also repel mice. I have no reason to doubt that they do. I put Bounce sheets on the engine, near the wires that had been chewed, but the rats just pooped on the Bounce sheets. Rats, apparently, have different preferences than mice.

It started with another camping trip back to the area where I have had rodent problems before. A couple of days after we got there, I went out to the truck for something. When I opened the door I was confronted by rat poop everywhere. “Aaaghh!” about sums up what I had to say.

I immediately opened the hood on the truck to check my wiring. I was confronted by a large pile of paper towels and a credit card receipt being made into a nest atop the engine.

I went back to look inside the truck. I knelt on the ground so that I could see up behind the dash. I saw an open hole of nearly 1.5 inches diameter. It was supposed to be filled by a rubber grommet but the grommet had come loose. I put the grommet back in place as best I could. I went to town and got spring traps, sticky traps, D-Con and a can of expanding foam. The expanding foam was used to spray around the grommet, sealing it against all intruders.

There could be no doubt that the critter that visited my truck was a rat. The size of its feces was much too large for any mouse. But, the rat poop wasn’t particularly problematic. It was just a matter of picking it up, brushing it away or sweeping it out.

Most disgusting was the urine. The rat piddled as it scurried, leaving long, wavy stains. There was one such streak across the lens of my sunglasses on the dash. I have gone through many Clorox wipes cleaning up after the rat.

It turned out to be a woodrat. Whether a desert woodrat or a white-throated woodrat, I do not know. Both are known to inhabit southeast Utah. This rat was 10 inches long overall, with six inches of body and four inches of tail. Now, how’s that for being objective?

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