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#1
Old 01-16-2007, 07:19 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 73
Rats breeding under my back deck?!

I live in TX, and tonight the temps are dropping fast, so fast that even the animals seem to be scurring to find food (native texans are behaving frantically too, it's weird--im from Chicago and 35 degrees is nut'n to get frantic about). Anyway, I have a platform birdfeeder in my back yard which i keep full of seeds and I sprinkle more on the railings which wrap around my deck... but tonight, noticing the squirrels overwhelming the wildbirds, I decided to sprinkle more seeds on the the floor of my deck, and sure 'enuff, cardinals, finches, etc, flocked to get their fill. Now it's dusk, I peeked out my glass patio door, which is right up against my deck and what I thought was a squirrel eating the seeds on the deck floor, was a rat! when it noticed me, it ran back towards the back wall of my house and slipped under my deck (approx 10" above ground)... I know a possum sleeps there during the day, and I'm fine with that, but a rat? Oh no! Now, I'm worried that if there's one rat, there might be more... ohhhh lordy!

So, though it wasn't completely dark outside, is the behavior of this rat (to come out on top of a deck to eat bird seed) normal? bizarre? I live in an incredibly wooded community, and I've seen plenty of wild animals during the day and night, even coyotes, why is this rat freaking the hell out of me
#2
Old 01-16-2007, 07:33 PM
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Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 26,920
Rats don't get rabies contrary to popular belief just to put your mind at ease. It is normal for them to forage wherever they can. It is true that they don't usually live alone however and they are nasty (I used to work with them in a lab). I wouldn't poison him(them) because they tend to die in walls. That is what God invented pellet guns for.
#3
Old 01-16-2007, 08:01 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty
Rats don't get rabies contrary to popular belief just to put your mind at ease.
Whew! thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty
I wouldn't poison him(them) because they tend to die in walls.
What do you mean? I have two indoor cats and surely if the rat(s) are within my walls, they would know, or we'd hear them? Uuugghh, I don't want to harm them, I just want them to relocate. Y'know, I thought I saw one run up a tree once... I always thought they lived in sewers or garbage dump sites, abandoned junk yards.
#4
Old 01-16-2007, 08:43 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 11,049
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty
Rats don't get rabies contrary to popular belief just to put your mind at ease.
Not true. Rats do get rabies, it's just very rare and they have never been known to transmit rabies to humans in the US. In other parts of the world rats are a small but ignificant rabies vector. It seem to be the fact that msot Americans don't sleep on the floor that prevents transmission.
#5
Old 01-16-2007, 09:00 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: elsewhere
Posts: 5,893
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spoleto
So, though it wasn't completely dark outside, is the behavior of this rat (to come out on top of a deck to eat bird seed) normal? bizarre? I live in an incredibly wooded community, and I've seen plenty of wild animals during the day and night, even coyotes, why is this rat freaking the hell out of me
We lived on a mountainside in Washington state and fed the birds from a feeder hanging off our back deck. One night we looked out at the feeder and the inside, the part between the two pieces of glass where the seeds go, looked kind of odd. It appeared to be moving. Know what it was? Rats. About 6 of them, all squirming around inside the feeder. There aren't enough on this messageboard to illustrate the moment.


From that night on, we tossed the seeds and only fed hummingbirds. Rats love bird seeds.
#6
Old 01-17-2007, 08:12 AM
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Dogpatch/Middle TN.
Posts: 30,561
Rats can and do transmit Hanta Virus.
As such, they are a direct threat to your health & safety, & that of your neighbors.
Get rid of them!
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#7
Old 01-17-2007, 09:36 AM
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Not so North
Posts: 11,014
A neighbour across the alley from me (suburbs of Baltimore, not city by any means) puts bird seed out on plates in his back yard, and then wonders why there are rats! In the suburbs!
#8
Old 01-17-2007, 09:43 AM
Mostly harmless
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: The VunderLair
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty
Rats don't get rabies contrary to popular belief just to put your mind at ease.
Rats DO get rabies. Possums don't...
#9
Old 01-17-2007, 11:19 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: East of Granola, CO
Posts: 1,612
Since you mentioned pet cats, I discourage you from using poison. A dying rat is a prefect target for a cat on the prowl, and the cat may get a dose of the toxin.

I lost a young cat to a poisoned mouse.
#10
Old 01-17-2007, 12:09 PM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Anderson, IN,USA
Posts: 14,583
A few mothballs tossed under the deck won't kill the rats and possum, but they won't want to live there with that heady aroma. Don't use a lot of them, or your house will smell that way, too.
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