|Smaller rats from later in the week|
'And that's a Norway Rat', Mike S proclaimed. Mike was pointing out the window with his knife, and we all looked out to see a brown animal with tail chewing on one of the elk leg bones we had thrown out on the lawn earlier in the afternoon. Everyone but me laughed as it hopped around from bone to bone and then disappeared around the corner of the house. The elk hunt crew was butchering and packaging the elk from the hunt, and I had come to the realization that the Saltonstall household had a rat problem.
Rats are only funny when they are someone else's problem.
They are also a problem that on Kodiak eventually happens to pretty much everybody. And for which everybody has an opinion. 'Use poison', 'traps are best', 'you must have chickens or a bird feeder', and 'I bet they are raiding your compost heap' are some of the more common opinions that I heard.
I don't like poison because I worry that our dogs will find it. Also we used poison when we last had a serious problem about 10 years ago, and had a rat die under the kitchen. It smelled for months.
So no poison - I bought rat traps. Rat traps make mouse traps seem like miniature toys in comparison, and are scary to set. I was worried about breaking a finger, and would jump in shock every time I inadvertently set off the hare-trigger. SNAP! Setting the traps was like playing with dynamite.
The traps worked and for a week I tended my trapline. I checked the traps 3 times a day, and caught an unbelievable number of rats. For the first couple of days I caught one in every trap twice a day. Then the numbers started to drop off and the rats got smaller and smaller. After about a week I stopped catching rats. Worried that the rats had just gotten smart I also set out bait with no trap and had no takers. It seems the rats are gone - I really, really hope so. Patrick
|One of the first rats I trapped - he's a big guy!|