Infestation of giant rats!!!

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Infestation of giant rats!!!

We live in a triangular area, a supermarket on one side, and an alley in back of food-related businesses on the other.  In other words, stinky dumpsters galore, and a plethora of rodentia.

 So far, we haven't had them in the house, though the cats have caught a couple.  They're monsters!  At least a foot from nose-nip to tail-tip. one of my neighbours has found them in her house.  She was hoping that the noise was squirrels.  And the new genetically-enhanced rats we have in these parts apparently are resistant to warfarin.

Rats are dangerous, as they chew through electrical wiring, causing fires. 

If I get them in the house, I would prefer not to use poison. Anybody have experience in this area?

PS: My neighbour bought this super-toxic rat poison for these superrats, and it said this:

ingredient list: (nasty poisons - dioxin, cyanide, arsenic, thalidomide, vioxx, etc,)


So...if you're in a neighbourhood, and you see rats dying of anaphylaxis, you know roughly where I live. 


Rats! If they're that big, maybe try some bait and snare wire, or a coney bear or beaver trap, and check on the going price for rodent skins. ha! Just kidding. Or a raccoon trap even. I dunno. Get a bigger cat, or a really mean Yorkshire Terrier. Apparently they were prolific rat killers on Liverpool docks


Rats can be a difficult to get rid off.  I do not like using poison either. It is so easy for other animals to get killed by it. A good cat can catch rats, but it is not an easy prey to get. Once I observed a cat that had cornered a rat. It is amazing how fast cats can move when they want to. I had a problem with rats in an equipment shed. They were badly stinking up  and nesting in the equipment. The shed was generally closed, so the cats could not get in. I decided to leave the door open and sure enough a few weeks later I started seeing rat tails and feet. Something was catching and eating the rats, leaving the tails and feet as proof.  First I thought the cats were having a feast, but it turned out to be a weasel of sorts.


If you want to keep them out of the house, the best way is to check for holes around the house. Rats are good at making or finding tunnels that go right into basements. I live in a circa 1850 farmhouse that has a fieldstone walled basement, but ever since I parged all the holes we have no problem with rodents in the house. Checking for holes in the upper part of the house will also keep out the bats, another guest  one rather avoids.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

I guess this is one of the few occasions when living in Alberta is a really good thing.

Having no experience with rats, put plenty with voles and mice, I would like to take Bubbles' suggestion about checking for holes and "parging" them one step further. Rodents chew through most patching agents you can use to block any hole you find... stuffing the hole with steel wool (or recycled metal scouring pads) and then apply the patching substance is a very effective deterent - in my experience this will stop them from chewing their way through. Also, if they are gaining access through holes around pipes and the like (that are below grade but exposed) bring the area around the access point up to grade by filling it with gravel... they are much less likely to try and burrow through.

If they get in, borrow a ferret...


My husband re-roofed part of the house this past summer, removing two wasps' nests and a bird's nest.  Lower down, there was a hole in the side of the house at ground level that he patched with left-over roof shingles.  We have a little closed-in porch at the back that's sitting on cinder blocks, and rats can chew through those, apparently.

I put steel wool around the pipes when we had mice, and it seemed to work.  I'm concerned about the dryer vent, that's about a foot from the ground.

Raccoon traps are an interesting idea, though I don't know what I'd do if I caught a live rat. 

Refuge Refuge's picture

I don't know how much help this is as it won't get rid of the rats but if you want to keep them out of open spaces Canadian Tire has the plug ins that make a high pitched noise that is inaudible to humans but works very well for the rodent population.  It only works in open spaces though.

 When I moved into a farm house I woke up to mice droppings on the counters and bought one of the devices and it kept them off the counters.

Also they found a nice spot to collect their food behind a bookshelf I had and there was a plug there so I plugged one in there and they never used that spot again.


There are no rats in Alberta!? (Oh yeah, you guys send them to Ottawa.) :D  Seriously though - no rats in Alberta?

remind remind's picture

Nope, no rats in AB, they actually have paid rat patrols, or used to.

Sineed, you can buy, from a pest control outlet, very sticky pads, that catch rodents, little ones for mice and bigger ones for rats, so that when they run across them they get stuck to them. Have to check them often or they will eat their own feet off to get away though, but they are an alternative to poison, or traps.  You can get big rat traps that are spring action too, like mouse traps.

When you live trap you have to basically drown them to kill them, or either club or asfixate them. When we had mouse problems we used a 5 gallon pail half full of water with a wire aross the top and through a tin can that has peanut butter on it. They run across the wire, hit the can, which roles over and they fall into the water and drown. Very effective for mice, never tried it for rats though, usually just shoot them with a 22.

"watching the tide roll away"


I am not an exterminator, nor a professional in regards to rattus rattus or rattus norvigicus.  

But let's try a bit of common logic on the problem.  Rats need food.  Eliminate the food, you eliminate the rats.

Your neighbours who are not doing what good neighbours do, and keep their garbage and store their food in such a way that attracts rats should be contacted and the problem explained to them.   After they ignore you, call your municiple authorities.

The problem will persist, I bet.  

First, rent or buy some live traps.  Start breeding the rats in captivity, to deliver to the homes of the owners of the businesses that have so far ignored your request for common decency.  I am sure they will respond by calling the police.   Which, you say, is fine, because while you may have to deal with the police, they will still have rats, and will continue to as long as you do.

If you manage to get the businesses to clean up and remove the food source, then contact someone who has a ferret.  Apparently, ferrets will kill rats, not for "fun" but because they see then as a competitor-- the same way lions will kill leopards, if given half the chance.

 I am told my great grandfather was a keeper of ferrets, and he would use them to de-rat some of the dubious places my parents rented right after the war here in London.


It seems a bit of trouble to trap live rats and deliver them, but I had some rather move illegal and, I might add violent ideas.  This is no laughing matter.  As you point out, rats are dangerous for chewing wires. But they are very dirty animals.  They mark their trails with urine like ants mark their trails.  They piss on everything.   And, they shit in dry places where the shit has a habit of becoming dust.  And that can kill.

So, if I had a business next to me that harboured rats, I'd consider that an act of violence against me to begin with.   I would, if nothing else, coldly explain that to them, and leave without waiting for a response.  



Double arg. 








It's too bad that pythons don't do well in snow.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Michelle, there was a case a couple of years ago here in Calgary (Haysboro district) where someone had brought in pet rats and the buggers escaped... it took a while before the neighbours figured out what they actually were (some thought they were muskrats, which are found here)... there was a little fuss when one of the neighbours did their civic duty and executed the last escaped rat by whacking it with a shovel... but, essentially, there are no true rats (genus rattus) in Alberta. There is a prohibition against having them as pets or live food for reptiles. I believe an exception is made for some labs who torture them for research purposes. We have plenty of other rodents, mostly indigenous and a few that have the word "rat" in their common names, but these are not true rats. The article I linked to above explains the operations of our so-called rat patrols. Every so often one will turn up in a packing crate or the like, when someone figures out what they are, animal control is called and the rodents are executed.

Before anyone gets sentimental about how we deal with rats trying to get into Alberta, do a little research about how much agricultural product is eaten and spoiled by rats elsewhere in the world (rats spoil much more food than they consume, they void on it, and tend to not consume all of a food item but eat only part of an item then move on to another -- something that reduces the effectiveness of using poisoned bait against them [yeah, I spend way too much time watching Discovery Channel].)

Like I said, living in Alberta I don't have to deal with rats (of the rodent variety) but have had other rodents to deal with. Live trapping is my first choice and I release them in a field if they are cooperative and enter the live trap. If they get trap wise (and it does happen) more extreme measures are called for. Kill traps are the second line of defense... but be prepared to dispatch the rodent if the trap doesn't die right off, sometimes the sprung trap only injures them and it is unnecessarily cruel to leave them to a slow death (this applies big time to the sticky sheets and adhesive pads). As remind pointed out, be prepared to club the vermin if you use a method that doesn't kill them outright. I have only used poisoned bait once and have given up on it because it doesn't act quickly enough... I don't want them dying someplace where a pet cat or a magpie or something is going to find the corpse and potentially get poisoned also (or consume the bait itself). Also, they have a distressing tendency to crawl into inaccesible places under water heaters or between walls just before they die, and the smell of decomposing rodent is not attractive.

If anyone is interested, I can always go on about actively tracking them down and participating in their demise... pellet guns, shovels, poisonous gas....


I wouldn't use poisons either.   And I wouldn't even kill a rat with those adhesive mats.  I've seen a dead mouse on one, once.  While I have no problem dispatching vermin, and have done so, I see no need to be cruel about it. 

Rat poisons can be housed in a box that is pet and child proof.  We have them all over at work.  But, I think it's probably only effective to stop new rats from taking up residence.  

In Sineed's case, I'd guess poison is too late.  The rats are established, and have a safe food source. 

Her situation riles me some.    


I won't use poison because there are so many cats around here.  What with all the rodents, everybody has cats unless they're allergic, and those without cats have mice.

First, rent or buy some live traps.  Start breeding the rats in captivity, to deliver to the homes of the owners of the businesses that have so far ignored your request for common decency.  I am sure they will respond by calling the police.   Which, you say, is fine, because while you may have to deal with the police, they will still have rats, and will continue to as long as you do.

Love this!  But, if I breed rats, won't we end up with, um, more rats??

The stuff about ferrets is interesting; I didn't know that about ferrets.

Surely rats are an inevitable consequence of overcrowding.  Even if we got the businesses to clean up their dumpsters, and pick up every potato peel or mouldy food scrap after the garbage trucks have been through, there's the people who leave food out for the feral cats (we need more of those!) and my pet peeve, the pigeon feeders.  And there's the family down the street that feeds the raccoons.

I had to get rid of my backyard composter because it turned into a big rat-feeder. 

Maybe I just need to move to Alberta.  


Just want to say that when I saw the thread title, I thought it was another complaint about what the changeover was doing to people's computers.


I actually think the new forum makes my puter go faster. I've got Green Onions sizzlin' on the the speakers right now, it's so snappy.


Rats get such a bad rep.  They're like little dogs.  Some of them are SMART.

 But, since you want to get rid of them, to expand the list -

* ferrets, cats, terriers

* rat snakes.  If you were in the Southern Hemisphere, this would be a good time to release one into the affected area.  But, it being all cold and everything, if you release a rat snake, it will just find somewhere warm & stay there until spring & then come out, very very hungry.

 You could probably buy a rat snake or any similar species off of the newspaper classifieds.  Not a mid-size boa constrictor or a baby python, once they get bigger they will eat dogs & cats.

And, in the movie Anaconda, the snake ate Jon Voight.  And then spit him out.  Ugh - Republican. 

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I had a persistent mouse problem at the former place I rented and ended up adopting two kittens from the Humane Society after many frustrating conversations with the landlord. The cats took care of the problem.

We moved about 3 1/2 years ago there were signs of a mouse infestation. The cats got the problem under control in short order.

One of my cats died a couple years ago, leaving Peaches in charge. One day, I opened my back door and found a big-enough dead rat on the back porch. A few days ago, there was another one. I spoke to my immediate neighbour who told me that the next neighbour over was feeding the birds and that this was attracting rats.

Then one day, on the eve of a 10 day vacation, I let Peaches in the house and she dropped something from her mouth. It was a baby rat. Yikes. It ran away. She caught it a couple of times and played with it but it ended up going behind a radiator.

Next day I left for vacation and took Peaches to someone's house for the time I was going to be away to do some mousing. When we got back from the east coast, we were unloading the car when I heard my son scream. He stepped on "the mouse" ( I told him there was a mouse, not a rat, on the loose) on the basement stairs. It then scurried up his leg and he shook it off.

I dropped him at his mother's place and then brought the cat home. Within 5 minutes, the baby rat was dead.

Since then, she's brought home at least 2 or 3 more baby rats which she plays with until she decides to kill them. Now I have make sure there's no tails hanging out of her mouth before I let her inside.

I was reading in a cat book that all cats can catch live prey, but they have to be taught how to kill them by their mothers. I guess Peaches had a good teacher.

Moral of the story: I'm not sure but I do have peace of mind and am as rodent free as possible.


p.s. - She did find and mortally wound a mouse in the house the other day.


Ah, I am sorry for your dilemma but don't have any helpful input.  I am trying to deal with a skunk family under my back shed who like to hang in my garage.  So far, we and the beagle have remained spray free, but I want to relocate the family and live skunk free.  I haven't yet invested any time in figuring this out.

 With your rats, I keep thinking of Willard, the movie.  I have to admit that back in the early '70's it kind of spooked me and I had to get over a fear of rodents as a result.  I still find rats a bit creepy though..and couldn't eat the roasted ones sold in markets in Thailand.Undecided

Refuge Refuge's picture

WendyL wrote:

Ah, I am sorry for your dilemma but don't have any helpful input.  I am trying to deal with a skunk family under my back shed who like to hang in my garage.  So far, we and the beagle have remained spray free, but I want to relocate the family and live skunk free.  I haven't yet invested any time in figuring this out.

A friend of mine got rid of skunks that had taken up their home under his shed.  He would go out and put the hose under the shed and turn it on low for awhile each day so the skunks moved onto a drier home.  Won't get them out of the neighborhood necessarily but at least they will be out from under your shed!


Hey, thanks Refuge!Smile

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

I would be particularly worried about the skunks... they are one of the higher risk species for carrying rabies. Make sure your beagle's shots are up to date (not that I am suggesting you are a negligent pet owner, just that sometimes people forget). If the second worst thing happens and you or beagle get sprayed, there is valid science behind the folk remedy of bathing yourself or beagle in tomato sauce... it is acidic and breaks the bond between the oils contained in the skunk's musk and your skin (or beagle's pelt).


Yes, people feeding the birds attract vermin, but it doesn't have to be so.  I feed the birds with peanuts and thistle seed.  They are dispenced in metal silos that reduce spillage and, while not squirel proof,  are so difficult for the squirels that they don't waste much time on them anymore.

People who feed racoons need to have their heads examined.

I have had experiences with skunks.  Like rats, skunks like to follow along borders of buildings or along fence lines.   In my yard, the skunks kept digging under the fence.  I'd fill in the holes with bricks and dirt, and this sometimes worked.   Adding cat shit to the mix seems to work quite well too.    Skunks usually have a series of dens in a given area, so it's easy to trick yourself into thinking they are not taking up residence under your porch or shed, as they may be there one or two days, but gone for a week.  

Bagkitty is right about rabies, although through a concerted effort the epidemic that existed in Ontario ten or twenty years ago has been eliminated.  For now. 

I always thought having a cat in the house was a sure fire way to eliminate a mouse problem.   But a report on "Daily Planet" just a while ago indicated that cats can attract mice.  Researchers found that male mice will seek out cat scent and roll around in it.  Female mice seem to find this attractive, according to the report. 

I've had mice in our house before, and probably will again.   It's my guess that they visit periodically, following old scent trails.  If during their exploration they find a food source, they'll stay.  If not, they'll move on.  So, the key is keeping all your dry goods, like flour, cat or dog food, etc, in secure containers.

If you spot a mouse, and see the hole or crevice it scurries into, plug it with steel wool. Yeah, they can find another way in, but no point in making it easy for them.  And putting a few old style wooden spring traps where you house your garbage doesn't hurt, either.  Won't get rid of them, but it helps to keep the numbers down.   The trick with those is to put a small amount of peanut butter inside the curl of the trigger.   When the mouse has to work to get the bait, it's more likely to trigger the trap.

My neighbour, who is mouse phobic tells me that pepermint is a mouse repellent.  I have not tested this out yet.

Back to skunks.   An episode of "Mythbusters" examined comercial and folk remidies for skunk spray.   What they found was that a mixture of a small amount of dish soap and hydrogen peroxide was effective, while other remidies were less than effective.  Tomato juice, the standard folk remedy, fared as well or better than expensive commercial remedies, but was a distant second to the soap and hydrogen peroxide mix.

The chemistry behind all this is that the enzyme that makes the smell is anarobic, and is destroyed by the introduction of oxygen.   I would imagine the commercial product "oxyclean" might do well, also.

I had the opportunity to put the hydrogen peroxide to the test last spring, when Spike, our young male cat got sprayed, and managed to transfer it to Snarfy the Wonder Girl's favorite pillow before I managed to locate the source of the smell.   A soak in the hydrogen peroxide and dish soap totally eliminated the odour.    We also used a cup of hydrogen peroxide to dip a brush into, and brush Spike with it.   This also worked quite well, although there was still some residual odour for a few hours-- then it disapeared.

To keep skunks and squirels from damaging gardens, try fertilizing with conservative amounts of blood meal over the areas they seem to favour digging in. 




Toby Fourre

Have you not contacted the municipal health authorities? It seems that some of those businesses should be cleaning up their messes.

Refuge Refuge's picture

Tommy_Paine wrote:

  Researchers found that male mice will seek out cat scent and roll around in it.  Female mice seem to find this attractive, according to the report. 

Hmmm, I guess a girl from any species likes a man who smells of adventure!


I guess left wing guys looking to score at NDP conventions should roll themsevles in Tory scent.

....I'll do anything for love, but I won't do that.....

good ol' Meatloaf.....

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Just the straight ones Tommy.


Rodents of Unusual Size? I believe they're just a myth.


It's true. People don't just judge you by the way you look. They also judge you by the way you smell.

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Le T Le T's picture

My parents, who live on a farm, have two Jack Russell Terriers. These dogs are amazing ratters. They also will try to kill almost anything that moves and is around their size. This has proved dangerous to their health a couple of times with racoons (very nasty if cornered - think mini black bear).

I would NOT recommend these dogs to anyone who lives in a city. They are working dogs and require free-range conditions or to be run every single day.

 To people with a landlord and who live in Ontario (this doesn't seem to be the case for you Sineed). It is the landlord's responsibility to deal with ANY infestation in the house. If you have mice or rats and the landlord tries to pass the buck or not do anything you can take him or her to the Landlord-Tenant Board. I would recommend that you get some free legal advice from a Legal Clinic ( in your area.


bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Sineed -- any chance of a "year end update"? I keep checking back to see if you found a solution.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Pretty picture. Range of the brown or Norway rat is is in red. Notice the interesting shape in the northwestern part of North America.

range of norway rat


Good map. And look -- no rats in Iceland either. Julian Assange was right, eh?



Squirrels are just rats with PR.

They are curious and heedless, and do more damage to your house.

If you are in a situation like Sinneed's, you just cant trap or kill enough of the rats. And that can heepn in the country too.

And rats WILL come in a house even just to live their. So keeping food away from them helps, but isnt definitive.

The only way to keep them out is to have no access. They'll find a place to chew through wood. I have lots or perimeter where wood is close enough to the ground. Its getting one foot of thicker gauge rolled aluninum [gutter stock]... a few inches of that above ground.




Family folk lore has it that my grandfather kept a ferret or ferrets, and he used them to de-rat some dubious places my parents lived just after the war.    





Kewl thread! I'd forgotten all about it.  

Anyway, at the time I first posted, we had two older cats, one very elderly, who weren't up to vermin-catching.  In February, the very old one died, and we adopted two feral kittens, who are now almost fully-grown and very active.  What with two young and healthy barn cats patrolling the house, I'm not so worried about rats getting in the house.

But it's ongoing.  Our neighbour's cat is a brilliant rat-catcher, and I've been heaping praise on him whenever he brings us a dead rat, so about weekly or so, he's been leaving me presents.  I keep a spade handy, and bury them as I find them - the front and back yards are filling up with rodent corpses.

My husband had words with the raccoon feeders, and they stopped doing it.  Still there are the ubiquitous smelly dumpsters in back of food businesses and restaurants.  The city may just have to get as draconian as Singapore.

Green Bone

Mice are stinky as an old pair of undies, but don't (generally) bite. They also carry Murine Mammary Tumor Virus, which has been implicated in human breast cancer. They also chew through wires (fires), poop in food (salmonella) and field mice (not Mus musculus) carry hantavirus. Kill 'em by stepping on them, glue traps, snap traps, BB guns, or brodifacoum/bromadiolone. Warfarin-resistance is a problem. My favorite is to put a brodifacoum block inside a glue trap. Just put the glue trap in a non-dusty area, and all traps along walls. Window ledges are also a great place. The ultrasonic thingies don't work, so save your money. Cats are a crapshoot, with only a few being good mousers...though you might try a wiener, or Jack Russell. Don't worry about pets eating the poison, as coumarins don't hit other animals like they do rodents, and even magpies won't touch coumarin-flavoured carcasses.

Rats are scary as hell. Alberta is allegedly 'free' of them, but a few have been found, from time to time. Some misanthropes keep them as pets, labs occasionally lose them, people feed them to reptiles, and there are rumours some are raised for human (ugh!) food. Brodifacoum works very well on them, even better than with mice. So-called 'Rat Island' was de-ratted by brodifacoum drops from helicopters. You can also shoot them, with .22 pellet guns (at least 5 pound-feet), .22LRs, or the Alberta Rat Patrol fave, the .410 shotgun. Do not attempt to whack them--they will bite! They're also too smart for traps. And they don't have the telltale foul muskiness of mice.

And, whatever you do, DO NOT CATCH AND RELEASE MICE OR RATS!!! This is like the cops breeching released sex-offenders and serial killers in people's neighborhoods. You are just dumping a serious problem into someone else's life. Rats and mice are dangerous (to both humans and the ecosystem), invasive species, which should be destroyed. Catching and releasing will bring you seriously bad juju. These are horrible, vile creatures. There was even an Imam in the UK who issued a fatwa against mice and rats...


Green Bone

Oh, one last thing: Adolph Hitler loved mice, fed them in his apartment and couldn't bear the thought of killing the little grey monsters. Hitler also believed that hunting was cruel and barbaric. Yet he murdered nine million Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and lesbians, Jehovas Witnesses and sundry dissidents.

Remember that every time you kill a mouse or rat, Hitler cries in Hell.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

A very significant chess opening, misnamed "The Modern", is also known as "The Rat". Canadian GM Duncan Suttles was a pioneer in this opening. There's even a song, to the tune of "Monster Mash", called, "The Rat". It was a smash.

eg, Rogoff vs Suttles in "The Rat"




S'been a while since I saw the word fianchetto.  I always liked to develop my pieces faster, and dominate the center than that deffense allows for.  Of course, I only played against dabblers like myself, so putting a lot of stuff out there fast, and limiting my mistakes was usually good enough for a win.