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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Pack Rat #16

 We are one pack rat away from reaching our all time record of 17 pack rats per fall season. That year we had a brutal winter and the animals, birds and insects instinctively seem to know when it is going to be a hard winter. We catch them in the live trap and when that happens they enter our relocation program and get a free bicycle ride to their new home. The reason we don't want them around is they are destructive and they stink. This year we may actually pass our old record of 17 in one year because this seems to be a good year for pack rats.

I know some readers like me to adhere to safety rules when riding a bicycle but the little helmets are currently on back order probably due to the increased demand for the rats having a good year. I will continue to be very careful until I can get them fitted with helmets. These little guys are thrill seekers and take great joy going for a bike ride down a dirt road.  They can hardly contain themselves with the wind in their fur and want to stick their head out the window but ours is one of those cheap traps without a window.

While these little guys are cute they exceed their cuteness by being destructive. If you don't put your hood up on your vehicle they can obliterate your wiring harness and hoses in a single night. They like the insulation on electrical wires and will chew up anything they can sink their teeth into to make a nest. If you have small shiny objects around they really like to horde those. Little things like the chuck key to your electric drill, wrenches, screw drivers etc. Of course when you finally find it they have already peed their brown excretion on it and the tool will never smell the same.

We believe we have a good relocation program and as soon as we catch both male and female and put them through the program we seem to have another pair replace them. Dirty smelly little buggers.

5 comments:

Kathryn said...

One more indicator that this winter may be a stinker, too.

I'm not seeing the google+ thingy...when I've no particular comment it's a way to let you know I was here.

Carol said...

yesterday's little critter got a ride on our trailer when we took a load of wood to the burn pile. he really liked that....

Bruce said...

Kathryn: That is why we have the 'live traffic feed'. When I see a visitor from Wilson, NC I suspect it is you. It shows up on the feed but no name just the city that your system is linked up to... Appreciate all comments though and don't stop..

Forty More said...

Hello Bruce and Carol. I'm a long time lurker (occasional, albeit) but enjoy your posts. My wife and I, too are homesteaders in a high altitude, heavy snow part of Utah.

The reason for this writing you is to do with your Pack Rat post. This summer we had one drag a dog leash from the back seat of our truck, up through the dash and into the engine compartment where it had begun building a nest. Fortunately, no wiring damage has occurred (yet). Chipmunks are our big nemesis.

QUESTION: what are you baiting these little monsters into the trap with?

Bruce said...

We use peanut butter. I bought a small jar just for the traps - Kroger brand. That is all I have ever used.. and it seems to work well. We prop our hoods up with a stick as they don't appear to like to build their nests in a more open area. I also have found that it is easier to catch them in a live trap than those snap traps where the mice can get the peanut butter before the rats can find it.
Another trick I learned was to roll up some fine mesh wire like hardware cloth into a cylinder and attach it at the very top back. The rats have to then stand on the trip mechanism to reach it and voila - rats in a trap. When I put it on the trip mechanism they would get the peanut butter and not spring the trap.
Hope that helps you, these little guys are cute but highly destructive.