The Weight is Over – Week 57: No more pasta? Oh, rats!

I write this column against the advice of my handyman, who spoke his words of wisdom from beneath my kitchen sink.

“I know you like to write about everything,” he said as he hammered pieces of wood into place. “But trust me that this is one thing you don’t want to write about.”

On the other hand, a friend/respected neighbor (a dentist, for goodness sake!) who lives in a very nice, beautifully remodeled mid-century home, said I should feel no shame. His words provided comfort when I needed it most.

“Even the nicest houses can have rats.”

On the scale of critters that most freak me out, rats are far and away No. 1, followed by cockroaches in second place, with ticks and head lice tied for third. Snakes? Spiders? No big deal. Rats? Total nightmare material.

Living in the Garden Tract for six years now I’d heard of rats and rumors of rats from time to time. I’d heard talk of rats in attics, rats in sheds, rats in ivy, and rats in chicken houses. I felt superior. I felt proud that my home – my sanctuary – was a rat-free zone.

That changed when I recently heard some strange sounds around the vicinity of what seemed under the kitchen floor. I was doing as I do most nights; sitting on a bar stool at my kitchen counter working on my laptop putting the website to bed.

It sounded like something was chewing on something. Wood? Plastic? Potato chips? I couldn’t tell. I went to the spot where the noise seemed to be located, and stomped loudly on the floor. I listened. More chewing sounds, just as loud. For emphasis, I opened and slammed a large, lower kitchen drawer. That did the trick. The chomping stopped. Good. I resumed my work and eventually went to bed. I made a mental note to call a pest control service in the morning.

Have you ever had a situation where you went to bed with a problem, slept on it, and then almost miraculously woke up the next day with the answer? That’s what happened to me. The dawning – the knowing – propelled me out of bed and straight to the kitchen where I stared at the closed drawer I’d slammed the previous night.

The question that emerged during my slumber was this: Why did the chomping not stop when I stomped on the floor, but it ceased when I slammed the drawer?

I gingerly opened the drawer.

Cue Psycho music. 

The drawer was strewn with rat droppings, rat piss, ripped-up packages and scattered food. I screamed and shut the drawer. Oh my God! Rats had been in that drawer. That drawer is in my house.

You may ask what in the world rats have to do with this weight-loss column. I’ll tell you. That drawer contained things I stopped eating a year ago as part of my health and fitness plan. That drawer held a variety of pasta, corn meal, tapioca pearls, polenta, rice paper wrappers, rice and specialty flours. I had rarely opened that drawer since December 2015, when I first started working out with Matthew R. Lister at Align Private Training. 

In fact, the title of my first weight-loss column last December was “No More White, Girl” – referring to all those carb-heavy white foods I’d surely be giving up. I gave them up and one year later, I am down 35 pounds and just as many inches.


But enough about me. I was talking about rats.

It didn’t help that in addition to discovering the rat evidence, when I pulled out the drawer all the way and dared to peer behind the drawer, I saw, to my absolute shock and horror, that the contractors who’d remodeled my kitchen had placed the new cabinets directly on the old sub floor, the same sub floor that was riddled with gaping holes large enough to fit, well, a rodent … many rodents. No barrier between my holey sub floor and my kitchen cabinets?! I’m no contractor, but come on!

I did the next logical thing. I immediately contacted my son in the Czech Republic, who’s cool in an emergency. Besides, of my three kids, he’s the one who’d be the least likely to laugh, and most likely to take me seriously if I’m bordering on hysteria.

Sure enough, Joe talked me off a ledge and walked me through what I needed to do: Wear gloves, remove and throw away everything in the drawer. Then disinfect the drawer and wash it clean. Next, drive like a bat out of hell to OSH and get rat traps, rat poison, rat bait. Rat everything! Buy it all! Finally, he told me to come home and set a couple of traps in the drawer. Load them with rat crack: peanut butter.

This is Doni's preferred rat trap.

These are Doni’s preferred rat traps. She has many.

I followed his directions. But then I had to leave for a concert for which I’d bought tickets and couldn’t miss. I may as well have stayed home, because I thought of nothing the whole time except rats in my kitchen drawer. And in my house. And on my bed. And in my life.

I dreaded going home but couldn’t wait to get home. And when I did, I used a  broom handle to carefully pull The Rat Diner Drawer open, just a few inches. I yelled when I saw a blackish/gray rat ass and long tail, perfectly still. I didn’t need to see the whole rat to know it was dead.

One out of two rat traps was occupied. Ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod!

I shut the drawer and called my other son – the one who lives in Cottonwood. He’s a Marine. Let the record show that I’m not the kind of mother who makes demands upon her only child who lives nearby. I mean, I have on speed dial three different handymen, just so I don’t have to bug my son with every little household thing, but this was an extreme exception/emergency. I was beyond freaked. Could he please come in the morning and deal with the dead rat on his way to work? He laughed (as I knew he would). Sure. No problem.

But within seconds of hanging up, I heard a loud SNAP and then high-pitched squeaking that stopped just as suddenly from the kitchen drawer. I couldn’t believe it! The second trap was sprung. That meant my kitchen drawer, the place that had been Hometown Buffet for God knows how many rats for God knows how long … that drawer now held two dead rats in this short period of time.

Calgon, take me away!

And that drawer contained no more food. If those two rats had hungry, free-loading relatives, and they found the drawer empty, they would surely step over the rat corpses, push the drawer open and storm my kitchen looking for food. There’d be no stopping them.

And then I’d have to burn my house down and move to a high-rise condo.

I called Josh back. Screeching may have replaced words. Please come RIGHT NOW! Bless him, because within 20 minutes Josh was there, with a rifle, for effect. I wasn’t laughing. But when Josh opened the drawer, inexplicably, there was just one dead rat.

The thing is, the other trap wasn’t exactly empty. It held a severed rat arm.

Those are words I never imagined I’d write.

Josh disposed of the dead rat and the amputated rat limb and went home. I immediately called my favorite handyman, explained the situation and begged him to please please oh please come patch the holes beneath my cabinets. Yes, that night!

When he arrived that night, he commented to the effect that it was too bad I didn’t have a boyfriend. I asked what made him so sure I didn’t. He said that if I did, I wouldn’t be calling him at that hour.


Focusing on the positive … that drawer – completely bleached and clean – now holds stainless steel lids for pots and pans. No food of any kind.

Plus, when the rain stops, I’ve put in a request for my favorite handyman to come back and patch every opening on the exterior of my house that leads to the crawl space beneath my house.

Meanwhile, I am supremely humbled, and no longer feel superior, at least when it comes to rats.

But I do know this: Even the nicest houses can have rats.

*I also know that there’s a three-legged rat out there with a score to settle.

*Concluding sentence courtesy of Jim Dowling. Click here to see some of Jim’s other work.

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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90 Responses

  1. Avatar A. J. Clemens says:

    Doni, You mentioned purchasing everything to rid you of rats. Be careful with the poison blocks. They are very effective, but pets may consume them or eat the rat/mouse that has consumed the poison. Neither a good outcome. As you are aware, cats can be very effective pest control too. You might want to campaign with your neighbors also, sort of build a boundary, house by house. Good luck!

    P.S. Always enjoy the variety of articles/information here on your site.



    • Thanks, Andy. Good advice. I don’t have any pets, but I realize it could be nearby pets that eat a poisoned rat. Actually, there’s a neighbor’s cat who likes to visits and hangs out around my yard (my grandson named him Mr. Wacky tail) and I’m happy to have him here.

      p.s., I’m glad you’re here, too. 🙂

    • Avatar K. Beck says:

      Yes, predator cats, and birds of prey: owls, hawks, eagles, others. Dead animals full of poison will also kill scavengers that clean up the mess of dead animals to be found almost everywhere, Ravens (and other Corvids), Magpies, Vultures (buzzards), and opossums. Poisons are NOT a good idea!

  2. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    This house was new when we moved here 20+ years ago.  I heard skittering in the attic, bought s snap-type rat trap, and the man of the house went on Rat Patrol.  That was the last of the attic rats, but from time to time, we have small critters – mice and voles – in the garage.  Husband is still the Chief Rat Patroler, thank goodness.  The worst was when a critter was somewhere in the engine of the car, died, and the dreadful smell came through the heater vent.  I apologized profusely to our mechanic, but could he please, please, please find the culprit and dispose of it.  He did, and we’ve kept mouse traps locked and loaded in the garage ever since.

    We hadn’t used the barbeque for several months, but nice weather called for a grilled steak.  Husband opened the grill, and there was a pack rat mommy with two babies nursing.  They were so cute that we just didn’t have the heart to kill them, so Husband got all three of them onto a shovel, babies still attached to mommy, and took them across the road to a bed of pine needles.

    • One of the best things about posting something on A News is the comments that follow, and hearing people’s stories, like yours.

      Beverly, you are so lucky to have a live-in Rat Patrol in your life. And I love your humane solution to the bbq-inhabiting pack rats. Bless you!

  3. Avatar Karen McGrath says:

    FUNNY story!! Thanks for making me laugh this morning! Karen


  4. Avatar Karen C says:

    This was too funny, because I just experienced something similar.  A few weeks ago, I was catching up on my reading, and heard a sound coming from the kitchen ceiling.  I got up to investigate and zeroed in on the exact spot by the kitchen window, in the ceiling.  I could hear, chewing, tearing, rustling, and knew it was mouse.  We have not seen rats out here, so hubby told me it was a mouse.  Was I sure of what I heard, because he did not hear anything.  Next day, the same thing at almost the same time, I called him into the room and asked him to listen.  Yep, that is chewing all right, probably a mouse.  I will take care of it, he said.  He does a thorough walk around the house, looks under the eaves and finally found a spot which during our remodels and new roofs being put on, that a tiny hole was left into the attic.  He also spotted rat debris on the roof near the hole.

    He goes out to his workshop and finds a small box, puts rat poison in it, and carefully places the box near the hole.  It took a few days, but he found a dead mouse out on the street as he left for his dog walk.  No more noise, no more mouse, I am a happy camper.  I am told he used a poison that makes them very thirsty and they seek water.  I did not want to know all the details, I said, just get rid of it.

    Now I have one security camera out and am wondering if the little beast chewed camera wires.  We will find out soon when our camera guy comes out to install the new camera.

    A note about the pasta, I discovered a massive ant invasion in the pasta area of my pantry two years ago, I threw everything out, did a massive sterilization and invested in glass containers for all my pastas, small ones, big ones, and tall ones.  No more ants either, because we have a bug guy who comes every two months to spray for them.


    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Doni!

    • I have come to believe that if you can actually hear chewing from behind a wall or drawer, it’s probably not a mouse, but a rat. <shudder>

      You are correct about the poison making the rodents thirsty. The part I left out (oh gosh, where to put it), was the day after my rat episode – during which I had put bait and poison outside around my house – I was preparing my house for guests and looked outside the guestroom door where I saw a rat in broad daylight, lapping water from a puddle. I felt sorry for the little creature. But not so sorry that I wanted it in my house.

      Good points about putting pasta in glass or plastic containers. This also helps keep out pantry moths, another of my top-loathed creatures.

      Thanks for sharing your rat tale. 🙂



  5. Ack! Nightmare material for sure.

    30 years ago we rented a lovely little old house in Studio City and we discovered rats in the attic. We didn’t want to use poison, so Craig bought a “sonic rat repellant” — a device that creates some sort of noise that drives rats away. He hooked it up in the attic, and, for good measure, routed it through stereo speakers, because…well…..Craig’s an overachiever. The upshot of the whole ordeal? The noise drove the FLEAS off of the rats and into our bedroom. We pictured the rats in the attic dancing in front of the speakers, merrily ridding themselves of pesky fleas. We bought rat poison.

    Here’s to a Ratless New Year!

  6. Avatar Melinda says:

    Calgon! I remember those commercials!!!

    Sorry for laughing but you told it so humorously.

    Cant get the visual out of my head of a three legged rat running around .

  7. Jim Dowling Jim Dowling says:

    There’s a three-legged rat out there with a score to settle.  Sleep well. (That was a hilarious read!)

    • There’s a three-legged rat out there with a score to settle.

      I love your sentence! Darn! Why didn’t I come up with it?

      Jim, here’s the deal. The next time I’m up at 1 a.m. striking out as I try to create the perfect conclusion to my column, I will email you my column, and you may write the wrap-up.

      I love your sentence so much that I think I will add it to my column, with an asterisk to give proper attribution. (We may be onto something here: Shared writing.)

      Thank you for making me laugh!

  8. Avatar Marilyn Traugott says:

    Laughing at your colorful rendition of this experience, especially because as I was reading a few minutes ago, my trusty pest control hero (Mouseman Pest Control) was removing three dead roof rats from the traps in my attic. None of this was as unsettling as my experience several years ago where I was staying in South Africa. One night, my housemates and I heard that recognizable scratching in the ceiling over the pantry. Apparently this was not a new problem because someone had previously put chicken wire under and against the pantry ceiling. We decided to investigate and when we removed the boxes on the top shelf, we saw Ratzilla, who had made it through the ceiling and even through some of the chicken wire. Talk about teeth of steel! Anyway, the poor thing was a bit challenged in planning its escape and only chewed through enough wire to suspend itself by the armpits. We had no way to deal with this other than wait for the maintenance guy to come in the morning with very thick, industrial gloves and remove the still-living critter.

    • Oh my gosh, Marilyn. Now I will have nightmares for sure, especially since you sent the photo. (I’m thinking of sharing it. I’ll take a vote. To share or not to share? I’ll wait while people think about it.)

      Yes, calling them roof rats, or better still, Norway rats, helps remove the stigma. A little.

      Ratzilla. Oh my gosh. :/



  9. Avatar cody says:

    reminds me of that Disney animated movie where the lady shoots at a rat until the ceiling of her house caves in, and  1000+ rats come crashing into her living room!



  10. Avatar Carrie says:

    I so enjoyed this story! Hilarious!

  11. Rat stories! I have a few but my favorite is about the time a lone rat, probably one with a score to settle, (thanks Jim Dowling!) invaded my car engine and ate the wires to its computer.

    Guess what happens when the car is detached from its brain? Nothing.

    Hooray for AAA towing and a topnotch investigative auto mechanic. It only took one day and $600 to get back online. And I was lucky! The crime was committed by a hit-and-run rat instead of a rat infestation.

    Rats are creepy but they are also incredibly destructive. Why, just let me tell you about the time…

    • I love rat stories (especially others’)! But your story kind of scares me, because, does that mean, if the rat could get get access to your car engine … I’m just wondering … is there a path from the engine INTO the car?

      Please, God. Tell me it’s a closed system.

      And come on! Don’t hold out on us. Share as many rat stories as you wish. Keep them coming!

      (I love the idea that your car’s destruction was perpetrated by a hit-and-run rat.)

      • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

        As I stated in my post above, the critter climbed into the engine compartment.  He ended up in the area that houses the heater/air conditioner fan.  The whirring fan did him in, but he nearly did us in with the dreadful smell each time we turned on the heater until the mechanic removed his remains.  So no, it ain’t a closed system.  If you park in your garage, you would do well to set some traps out there.  If you don’t want to chance another three-legged critter with a grudge, sticky traps grab all four feet and are bloodless.

        • Avatar K. Beck says:

          But then you have a LIVE trapped rat…what do you do then?

          • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

            They die on the sticky trap because they can’t move.  It can be a slow death, and may be unpleasant for some people to see.

        • Avatar K. Beck says:

          Redding is FULL of those big black Asian cockroaches. I had never seen one of those before moving here. I was renting a relatively, HIGH rent condo, when I found the first one. EEEK. Then I found another. They were few and far between, but so BIG! In the bay area there are the small brown “German” (I think) cockroaches. The only way to deal with them is to caulk every single hole in the sheet rock you can find. Vacuum the kitchen regularly, and take the garbage out every night. I lived in an apartment complex in Sunnyvale infested with those things…gross. We kept them out of our apartment after instituting those protocols.

          Anyway, back to the Asian cockroach Redding story. I trapped one and took it to the Shasta County entomologist. I handed it to the person behind the counter and said, “Please tell me that is NOT a cockroach.” She took the zip lock bag to a back room. Another woman came out holding the bag. The second woman was the entomologist. She said, “Sorry I cannot tell you this is NOT a cockroach.” She handed me a pile of papers telling me all about Asian Cockroaches. Turns out they don’t last long when they enter a house with a HVAC system (explains why most of the ones I found were dead). If you have a swamp cooler, you are doomed. They need moisture to live. Their homes are usually under ground in grassy areas. If they come in a house with central heating & air they dehydrate rather quickly and die. I hunted and hunted in that condo, caulked every opening I could find and still I would find them. Turns out the contractor who built that complex built it on grassy land that was infested with cockroaches. When they discovered it they didn’t want to mess up the building schedule by taking time to get rid of the roaches so they built it on top of the roach colony. I decided to put those sticky roach hotel things in the area where I found most of the roaches. That worked really well. Most of them had to go through the roach hotel before getting into my rental unity. Here comes the gross part of the story. Of course, the roaches do not die, they are still alive when they get stuck on the sticky stuff. One time I guess I forgot to check the roach hotel, when I did check it out, there two roaches in there. The one in front was dead. The second one was still alive and it was eating the dead one!

          • Avatar cheyenne says:

            When I worked in the school district in Redding we would get monthly sprayings by a licensed exterminator.  One time the exterminator told me, I don’t know if he was kidding, “If one sprays for cockroaches they will die in two days.  If one doesn’t spray for cockroaches they will die in 48 hours”.

        • Not to beat this to death, but when I say closed system, my question – my concern – is this: Can a rat get INTO the car from an opening that leads from the engine compartment, or somewhere else? That’s my fear, because I have trapped two rats in the garage, which is where I park my car.

          I have a Prius, if that helps for someone out there who knows these things. (Jeff Gore?)

          • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

            I just Googled the question, and nothing came up about rodents entering the cab from the engine.

  12. Avatar Curtis Chipley says:

    When our boys were little,  we lived in a house on Denton Drive in Enterprise, yep I have lived here all my life and it is still Enterprise to me.   I was at work and my wife had been hearing scratching sounds in the garage, she would not even venture into the garage.  I set out rat bait, and we waited for a few days…. I get a call from my wife that I needed to come home from work IMMEDIATELY. there was something in the garage making awful sounds.  Of course I could not just leave my job but I was just 2 hours from the end of my shift.  When I arrived home she had our youngest he was 1o months old, and our 2 year old standing in the doorway.   I proceeded to go out to the garage, not realizing my 2 year old was following me.  Well I opened the door and to my horror there was a BIG rat laying in the garage floor still twitching, our son was so sad for the “sick” mouse as he called him, he told me “Daddy call the mouse ambulance he needs to go to the hospital”.  I sent him back into the house with my wife,  put the “mouse” rat out of its misery and placed it in the garbage can.   When I went back into the house, my son asked if the “mouse ambulance” had come to get it….. and the story telling began,  of course I told him yes and that they would reunite him with his mouse family….  nothing worse than “mouse” rat problems….

    • I love this “mouse” (rat) story. And your son’s reaction was precious, and yours, too. I can imagine what a wonderful children’s story that would be.

      fyi, I, too, still call that area Enterprise (and the Aquatic Center is really the Plunge).

  13. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    We had a rat problem in the attic years ago.  I don’t like to use poisons because of the risk to non-intended targets, but after traps failed, rat poison did the trick.  Not before the rats did significant and expensive damage to the HVAC ducting, however.

    Everyone has their own hierarchy of home invaders that freak them out.  Rats are probably at the top of my list.  I put cockroaches well below ticks, lice, and termites.  The worst thing about cockroaches is that if you have a really nasty infestation, it’s hard to get rid of them without resorting to fogging your house.  Bombing my home with a neurotoxin in aerosol fog form isn’t my favorite remedy.  Termites?  Expensive.  Ticks?  I got diagnosed with Lyme’s Disease once—target lesion and all. Head lice?  They’re just nasty.

    We’ve had a few bats in the house over the years.  I’ve found that the easiest way to get rid of a home-invading bat is to catch it.  It’s not easy—it makes for a fun, hooting challenge—but you have to take great care not to hurt the bat, and you really have to keep in mind that bats carry rabies.

    • Speaking of fogging, last year sister Shelly, son Joe, his wife and I went to Maui where we stayed at a hotel recommended and booked by our travel agent. There were cockroaches of all sizes in my and Shelly’s room, and when  I called the front desk to complain, they sent a guy with a can of Raid and a towel to pick up the dead cockroach bodies.

      Yes, I know tropical places have cockroaches. But it was disconcerting one day to see that our very next-door set of cabins was TOTALLY covered in a huge circus tent-like structure, and poison warnings all over it as it was being fogged.

      (Ever had pantry moths? They’re destructive, too, and expensive if they invade an entire pantry.)

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        A master gardener once told me that the best way to get rid of aggressive Bermuda grass is to move.  Pantry moths have made me feel that way.  The only way I’ve ever successfully got rid of them is to dump out everything they eat and start over.


        • LOL. I have to agree with you about the pantry moths. And nothing (well some things, sure) is as frustrating as banishing the pantry moths after you’ve thrown away hundreds of dollars in dry goods, only to see one little papery moth flitting about the kitchen. It could drive someone insane. (Those pantry moth traps work wonders, btw.)

          • Avatar K. Beck says:

            You bring pantry moths home with you from the store. They hide out in the folds of the flour (or other similar things) bags. The only way to keep them under control is to transfer all you flour and other dry goods that harbor the moth eggs in sealed glass jars. By “sealed” I mean with a rubber seal on the lid. Canning  jars work. And if any flour has leaked out of the bag and is on the storage shelf vacuum it and wipe it down with a wet cloth. I had to do that once when I moved into an infested house. I have never had problems since.

      • Avatar K. Beck says:

        When traveling in cockroach infested places (islands anywhere), never bring your suitcases in your house upon return! Always unpack, shaking everything out, outside. Take the clothes to the washing machine, wash them, then bring them in the house. Otherwise you might have some unwelcome house guests. I usually leave the suitcase in the garage, or if no garage, outside for a while so if there are critters hidden somewhere the either die or move on.

      • Avatar Denise O says:

        Pantry moths problem stopped after I ceased shopping at certain stores.  It hit me like a ton of bricks once when I was in the certain stores and a moth flew right by my face.

        I did have to use the pheromone traps for a while. I also rarely buy any boxed foods, from cake mixes to cereals or soups. That stuff isn’t good for me anyway!

        • Avatar K. Beck says:

          Yeah, things packaged in paper, bad idea! OK if they have an inner SEALED plastic bag with no holes in the bag…but how would you know that until you open the package?

    • Avatar cheyenne says:

      We used to chase bats down the hallways at Shasta Learning Center all the time.  At the Enterprise gym I got adept at hitting them in flight with a straw broom and sweeping them outside before they recovered.  We didn’t seem to have a bat problem at Shasta, maybe all the skunks and feral cats kept them in check.  Working nights at Redding’s high schools was always entertaining.  Did I mention the ghosts, but that is another story.

      • Avatar Mike Stuart says:

        There is, in fact, a little girl ghost at the Learning Center.  Worked a lot of late nights there, strange things in my desk that has been in the district since 1923.

  14. Avatar Pam S says:

    Such a great read Doni from you and from everyone who replied.  So many of us have rat stories… I too could just picture your ordeal every step of the way. Glad it’s over and that so many of us got a belly laugh! We need all of those we can get.

  15. Avatar Lana says:

    Oh my gosh… you had me laughing out loud at this story… and I feel your pain!!!

    I once lived in the country and owned a horse. I had about 20 bales of fresh cut hay brought in and stacked in my shed. It was early winter & pretty cold. That night we spotting a mouse run across the floor… one here and another there!!! Horrified, I pulled out a couple of traps and baited with pb.. and set them out. Before I sat down. They both snapped!  Yay… got em…  the problem was they were not quite dead.. what do I do?  I called Ron, my boyfriend then, and he told me what I could do. So, I put a big bucket of water outside my back door. I opened the traps and dropped the poor critters into the water.

    We saw another mouse, what the heck!!! So set the traps again… only to snap again within minutes. Repeat another couple of times!  It was then I realized they must’ve picked up a nest or two in my hay.

    My son and sister were no help… screaming at every snap they heard!!!

    I caught 42 mice that night!!!!!



  16. Avatar Karen C says:

    Do any of you shop at Safeway on East Cypress?  They actually have small birds flying and living inside the store.  They come in through the cargo doors and find lots of good things to nibble on inside.  Some people freak out, I rather like seeing them flying about and singing their little hearts out.  I was told that Safeway is at a loss as how to solve the issue at this point,

    • That is interesting. (I shop at the downtown unSafeway.) I could see how it might seem nice having little birds fluttering about, but I can also see how I wouldn’t want bird poop on my produce. (But what the heck. I wash the produce anyway.)

  17. R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

    Rat Lives Don’t Matter.

  18. Avatar Annette Moell says:

    I am so  glad there are people who write like you do.  Terrible subject but so fun to read.  My rat was found inside of the hubcap of the rear wheel of my car which sat outside in a driveway.  It was so many years ago and I do not remember how it was first noticed.  I was not going to touch whatever the thing was so I brought the car to Les Schwab on South Market and scrunched up my nose and pointed to the wheel and said I am so sorry but something is in there.   Without making a fuss he removed the vagrant.  I asked him how did that get there.  He said he didn’t know but it happens all the time.  Once was enough for me.  So who knows how long that rat went rat a tat tat when that wheel went round and round doing its job.   I have always admired the great service there but that young man went above and beyond and did not flinch as I said thank you so much and I am so sorry to do this to you.

  19. Avatar Barbara N. says:

    Rat in the garage for about two weeks, saw him one morning outside, and just knew where he was headed. Rat evidence everywhere behind all of those things you rarely move. Moved everything away from the walls, chased that little bastard as I sealed every opening I could think of. Never killed it with the trap, refuse to use poison, but it did leave the garage. Did catch one in the back open shed area, DNA looked oddly familiar. The garage has never been cleaner, I mean shop vac every day! Still have evidence of more in that open shed…hope the wildlife will do its job, like maybe a really mean neighbor cat or hawk…otherwise, more peanut butter, more snap and hope for a clean kill…that is about all I can ever hope for to win the war on the rat! You can be lulled into thinking they won’t ever return, but just when you let your guard down they will. Living next to a green belt doesn’t help, but it doesn’t really matter. The rodent gross factor is bad enough, but the damage that can be done by the gnawing…that is the biggest fear factor of the rat!!

  20. Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

    Three cats and some rat traps baited with raw chicken skin = over a dozen dead rats. (They come up from the greenbelt behind the house.) Raw chicken skin works because when they pull on it, it springs the trap. Gary is the dead rat morgue tech.

    We only had one in the house, a couple of years ago…. somehow it got in (maybe a cat brought it in and it got away). Got up on the counter and started eating fruit. It’s now an ex-rat in rat heaven.

  21. Avatar Carrie says:

    Wow, Thankfully I don’t have a rat story!  I’ll save my snake story for another time, it’s not as entertaining anyway.

  22. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyder says:

    I have a couple of pet rat stories.  Thank you for not posting the picture of Ratzilla!

    A co-worker Janet’s daughter’s pet rat was near the end of it’s life.  It had tumors and was miserable.   Janet brought the rat to school and asked the Agriculture teacher to dispatch the rat.  He put it in a cage and at the end of the day, he knocked the rat in the head and threw it into the woods near the school.   When he came back to school the next day, he found the rat scampering around in the cage.  He almost had a heart attach!

    The rat was not killed by the blow to the head.  It raced back on campus and was waiting by the door when the custodian showed up in the morning.  He of course put the rat back in the cage.

    My husband kept a rat for awhile and we talked about how bored it must be to be locked in a cage all day.  I informed him that people had pet rats that bonded with them and would  sit on their shoulder and be quite friendly.  One day we decided to open the door to the cage to see how Rizzo the rat would respond to freedom.  We opened the door.  Rizzo paused a moment  jumped out of the cage and raced around to the back of the entertainment center where he  gnawed through several speaker wires before we could capture him.   He wasn’t bored obviously.  He was plotting its attack the whole time!

  23. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    When my sister was in seventh grade, she brought home the science class white rat when school was out for the summer.  He/she/it lived with us for quite some time, and was a true pet.  Our funniest pet was a chipmunk who lived with us for several months.  Chips had the run of the house and would go outside through a hole in the floor.  When mother would hang laundry on the clothesline, Chips would jump up onto the hem of her skirt (this was the ’50’s remember) and “help” her while sitting on her shoulder.  He would also run up and down on the strings inside the piano, playing a tune for us.  When he started building a nest of our sweaters in our drawers, Daddy figured it was time to let him go.  There was a huge vacant area at the end of our street – it would be a greenbelt elsewhere, but in Taft, it was dirt and an oil ditch – so Daddy took Chips there.  Chips left the cage, found a hole that either another critter or a snake had dug, sort of waved goodbye to Daddy, and we assume lived happily ever after.

  24. Avatar marilyn robrahn says:

    Seems to me I remember someone suggesting a short story, but do not use your name!

  25. Avatar Ginny says:

    Doni, you could put tales like this into a book, and make a fortune! This was great show of your talent!

  26. Avatar Cate says:

    Laughing out loud! Loved this! Thank you 🙂

    • Avatar K. Beck says:

      One more thing. I was living in Santa Clara County after the last multi-year drought.  The whole county was infested with a rat invasion. Apparently there was not enough water to keep up the rat population. When it started raining they multiplied, like, well, rats. The county sent out fliers to every house telling people what to do. This is “Silicon Valley” the home of multimillionaires. They all had rats, too! So, there is that.

      AND, one of the fist things on the list of dealing with an infestation of rats is this simple thing: Do NOT put your pet food outside to feed your pets. IF YOU FEED THEM THEY WILL COME! If you store pet food in your garage, use metal garbage cans for storage, rats can chew threw plastic storage containers like ripping up wet paper towels. Seriously.

      Same goes for leaving containers of water in you yard. Mosquitoes are not the only things you attract with pools of water sitting around.

      This is a whole neighborhood problem. Everyone needs to do their part.

      “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”

      Martin Luther King, Jr.

  27. Avatar Alice Bell says:

    I couldn’t stop laughing reading this. My side hurts! I’ll bet, like my Aunt Sara, you hated the movie Ratatouille! She (my Aunt) couldn’t get past the image of a rat in a kitchen.

    • Actually, inexplicably, I liked the movie “Ratatouille” – probably because it was animated. Besides, I saw it before my encounter with rats. I might feel differently about it now.

  28. Avatar Karen C says:

    Another varmint story and this time it was roof rats.  Young couple we were with little children, living about a block from the Sacramento River.  We had been hearing noises up in our attic, but between our busy lives and the little kids we gave it little thought.  I’m not sure exactly what damage was done to the wiring, sheet rock, but I know it was extensive.  We had a big,  black  rat with babies up there.  I was so grossed out, I cleaned my already clean house for a week.  We found lots of drippings in the attic and in one closet.  We made sure all the holes we thought they gained access were sealed off.

    The rats and mice were not as bad as the year that this area had an infestation of some sort of black and brown furry worm that came down out of the the oak trees and covered the exterior walls of our house, plus the streets and sidewalks.  They came out early in the day and tried to find cooler places during the hottest time of day.  We could not go outside without walking and smashing them all over our shoes.  It was an absolute nightmare to see those things several deep all over the house and walk ways.  Many neighbors called in water trucks to spray, we called in the insect guys to spray our trees and yard.  We left  the house overnight and had to come back home to dead worms all over the place.  The ones that survived made white cocoons all over the place, and we spent most of the next few months finding and disposing of them.  We had some the following spring but not anything like the first year.  We have not seen them for years.

    • Avatar K. Beck says:

      Those were most likely oak moth caterpillars. They spin webs. They had several “outbreaks” on the Stanford U. campus when I worked there. They didn’t seem to kill the trees, but they certainly create a mess like you saw. The caterpillars drop down on a web and end up on whatever is walking under the trees. Before we got in our cars or went in a building we would have to brush them off our heads and clothes. They don’t do any harm, apparently, but what a MESS! With a campus full of entomologist one would think something would have been done, but since they caused no harm and were completely gone most of the time they let them be.

  29. Avatar Donna says:

    We had a mouse eating dry vegetable soup mix in the pantry. My husband was away so my son (16) floated a soda pop can smeared with peanut butter in a bucket of water and put it along side the shelf. That night the mouse jumped on the can to get the peanut butter and the can spun in the water and the mouse fell in the water and drowned.  Better than poison and traps.  My Westie went to sniff a trap once and it sprung and she lost her eye and we had vet bills over $2,000.

    • The peanut butter-smeared soda can in a bucket of water was brilliant.

      (And your poor pup. I didn’t lose an eye, but a big wooden rat trap snapped on my thumb when I was trying to set it. I lost the nail and it took a while to grow a new one. That’s why I favor the Tom Cat traps. You can actually set it with your foot.)



  30. Avatar Maria Beecroft says:

    So funny, Doni, lol. 🙂


  31. Avatar Denise O says:

    HOLY CRAP!!!!!!  The one night I saw a rat run across my bedroom in my Parkview neighborhood house, I slept in my car. As the old saying goes, if you see one, you have ten.  That was just about right. It is beyond creepy to see that they had been in many a dark corner for some time before I actually saw one. They had been crawling all over on top of my fridge – which was a veritable rat heaven with a variety of baskets with bits of candy, crackers, etc. I would have lost my mind of one had traveled down my arm had I pulled off any of those baskets.   EEEEEEEEEEE!

    I share the hatred of those things.

  32. A. Jacoby A. Jacoby says:

    I divorced mine!