Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Why you dirty rat?!?!

Rats!!  I hate rats!  I didn't used to hate rats, in fact my older sister had two pet rats: Socrates and Ben....just like in the movie "Willard"  I used to love to hold them when I was younger.  Unfortunately, those aren't the kinds of rat I'm dealing with while living in Arizona.  We have Kangaroo rats out here, called that because they have big back feet and sometimes jump/hop around like a kangaroo.  They really are kind of cute in their own way.

We also have pack rats, they aren't as cute looking and they are the ones I dislike the most!  They have the same big ears as the kangaroo rat, but definitely have those beady little eyes rats are famous for!  These rats are the trouble-makers!!

They like to build nests....in air conditioning units, engines, rat poision containers.  That's been my experience at least.  We used to have a pest control service, but decided not to continue it($235/yr!!) and I'm beginning to think we might have to take it up again.  Did you know that dog food counteracts the poison in those green rat poison tablets?  I didn't until the day the pest guy came and said that the rat was building a nest in the poison container and asked if we had any dog food left outside.  At the time we had a dog which sometimes couldn't keep her food down, because as it turns out she was very sick, but I digress.  Needless to say he had to switch to the "strong" stuff that you couldn't even handle without gloves.  I'm not paying to feed rats after all! 

That seemed to do the trick and we were lulled back into a sense of peace with Mother Nature, so we stopped the Pest service.  BIG MISTAKE!!  Over the summer they decided to make nests in our air conditioning units. Yes, I said nests....plural!  As if that wasn't bad enough they also decided to chew the wires, causing the air conditioning not to blow any cool air.  Do you know what it's like without air conditioning in August?!  Thankfully, they could repair it the next day!    The hubby set up a nice electrical fence around the units to help keep them away.  We just have to remember to turn it off, when we get the units serviced.  I don't think the a/c guy would appreciate that "shocking" finding.

Then this November the rats decided since they couldn't get into the air conditioning unit they would make their nest in the engine of my van.  I only found this out when I went to get an oil change and they checked my cabin filter and came out with two handfuls of junk(leaves, seeds, cactus, cloth).  I  had noticed my car smelled like popcorn and never knew why.  Apparently the seeds for the Saguaro tree smell like that as they get roasted on a hot engine.   Upon further examination under the hood by the husband found a mish-mash of wires, that about an hour or two later he had fixed.  Thankfully, none of those were wires that had to do with my car working.  This is similar to what we found:

I started parking my car in different spots after this hoping to keep the rats at bay!  If only it was that simple.  Then in January, we traded the van and got a new vehicle.  I parked it in a different spot, but apparently not often enough.  My engine light came on last Friday.  Great!  What's wrong with my new baby?!  Took it to the dealer who politely informed me I had a rodent problem!  Not again!!!  They had apparently started chewing one of the wires, but hey, no nest building!  $175 later(that's another story....ripoff artists!) she is running fine and I have put mothballs in my engine! That is supposed to keep them away.  It better!

On a side note, did you know that all new car's wiring systems are coated in vegetable oil?  They used to be coated in chemicals, but not anymore.   Which begs the question, who's bright idea was that!


  1. You're sooo not alone with this problem!!!! :O :(

  2. Yep, I had the same problem all the time when I lived in the country area of our town. 4 of our cars got chewed!