Rat in attic: get a snake?

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  #1  
Old 11-05-16, 09:07 PM
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Rat in attic: get a snake?

So, I need these guys out. 🐀 = 💥
I lived in this home (a 2-story duplex) for 12 years. Never had more than the odd roach. Or a tiny lizard that got in accidentally. Texas. Till this spring. Started in the garage, thought it was 1 or 2 mice. Skipping lots of details, it is now November and they are in the attic too. RATS. Not many, but one is enough. I used mice glue traps, humane 1 way boxes/traps, snap traps. Nothing.
Had several pest control ppl come. One charges $700 for checking, using bite stations with stuff "that will draw them out of the house to drink, and they'll die on trees" , and then closing up all gaps (metal mesh, nails in outside pipes, new garage door strip). Well, the part that "they'll die outside", and the $700... Didn't convince me.
Another only charges $320 for year control, unlimited visits, whole house multi-pest treatment, also uses bite. He could use traps, maybe (?). But: won't go to the roof to check possible entries, won't seal holes or put metal mesh or steel wool or seal garage door, won't climb on ladders, or treat a partially floored attic. Does't sound right.
So I though about this: get a pet corn snake (very tame guys, non poisonous, eat RATS) and leave it in the attic. Seal holes myself or with handyman (if roof needs it). No need to pick up dead rats or have bad smells, no need for poison. Snake will have good climate, plenty of space and food. And 1 snake wont turn into 20.
When rat issue is over, I'll bring pet snake to garage, then give it away.
Anyone can see a problem with that? Please help me make the best choice here. Going mad...
Rat is (are?) becoming noisier, running behind the walls of upstairs rooms, making scratching, metallic noises bear the furnace and water heater. Also have already spread droppings all over insulation. Amount is not too much, but will not be easy to remediate, having to remove/replace fiberglass insulation. In the garage, I caught one running from the back of the fridge : gray, about 10" long, without the tail. I fear rat families (looong time already), electrical problems, and having them inside as soon as they choose to chew through a wall.
Please, experts here, help me think: what could be wrong with a friendly snake? Why nobody talks about this possibility?
 

Last edited by Yeshecan; 11-05-16 at 10:54 PM.
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  #2  
Old 11-06-16, 03:03 AM
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Here's hoping you don't think a snake will be a "pet". They don't hear, won't respond to you to fetch, and generally are in the wild. Rat snakes are great to have around the house, but placing one in the attic will eventually result in it entering your living space via a small hole somewhere. Not that it is bad, but not where you want them to be. I just finished a remodel on a 1920 home where we found a rather large (6') snake skin in the attic. True, the attic was void of rats and their droppings. Late in the remodel we noticed the snake slithering along through the crawlspace. He measured all of 6' and was at least 2" in diameter, so we aren't talking "pet".

Your theory is good. Introduce the snakes, but don't be surprised if you wake up to one on your kitchen counter. I have one residing in my shop, which is rat free, but he is a PITA because he knocks over stuff on shelves. But we share the space.
 
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Old 11-06-16, 11:08 AM
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I never heard of a snake being used as a ďtoolĒ for catching rodents. They will do so on their own but I canít imagine that a human being could manipulate a snake to do what we want it to do.

Where and what are the rats eating? Rats need food and water every day. If they arenít getting it in your house then they are using your house for harborage and eating/drinking elsewhere. I suspect that they have easy entry/exit to your house. Even if you catch all the rats in your house, the food/water source, wherever it is, will attract more until the source is resolved. I feel certain that the rat problem goes beyond your house.

Meanwhile, why not set rat snap traps in attic and garage? Bacon is a good attractive bait, among others.
 
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Old 11-06-16, 02:49 PM
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@chandler and PAbugman
All I hear sounds good to me.
I am not fond of snakes, and totally know this one will be on its own, not planning on telling it what to do. But as long as it remains single 😉 and I purchased it confirming it is tame and non dangerous, I am totally OK with it exploring around and eating as much as it can.
There is no bad infestation. I suspect 1-5, based on time passed and amount of droppings (nearly as many, had not really increased)
Entry points: have been identified by me, roofer, and pest control guys (only downstairs and 20% of attic).
1) garage gasket was never installed from end to end, there is a gap 10" long on one side, and 4" long on the other (1" tall) plenty of room for lots of visitors to get in.
2) attic: roofers sent by HOA did a poor job earlier in the year, and left all vents unsealed, including covers off (just raining in through into the attic). This killed the water heater (who on earth puts water heaters on top of the house anyway????), damaged the ceiling and got insulation wet. And left an open door to anybody, again.
3) for some reason, there was always a small hole 5" around on the wall, at both ends of the garage door rod, as if they accidentally pushed rod through. I never thought much of it, till I saw a rodent climb on the rod from the shelves, run through to the other end, and get into the "elevator", the hole, inside the wall and possibly to the attic.
Food: none uncovered, no dirt, no pets anything.
But: I had gardening materials stored: a closed bag of grass seed to plant in the spring (they chewed through it and I have seeds all over now)
I had stored school supplies, clothes, toys, household stuff. All in plastic buckets with lids, and some in labeled cardboard boxes, taped and with lids. Apparently those are delicious!
And I had an encyclopedia, emphasis on HAD. They definitely prefer that to google!
Because there is so much stuff stored, once a rat got in, this became paradise. The loose insulation in the attic and the warmth is the only attraction up there. I hear they do eat insulation and wiring. Haven't found signs of that yet.
Have never seen one outside. My neighbor's yard and garage are a landfill. But generally there are no pests in this area, rats or fleas for example, are not common at all. All residential, generally manicured, regular trash collection, regulations to keep it all tidy...
Also, I trimmed all branches on or near the roof over a year ago. No direct access (but these are duplexes, the neighbor dies have branches on the roof)
 
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Old 11-07-16, 05:03 AM
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Rats donít eat wiring or insulation or stored material. They do chew on it though to make nesting and to keep their front teeth from growing too long. There is a food and water source nearby, within 100 yards or so of your house. The grass seed was attractive to them, but there is food beyond that. Rats must have a separate water source too. Mice can get water from their food, but rats need a constant supply.

I think that the snake will leave the house quickly and the rodent problem will remain.

Put 6 to 10 rat snap traps in attic baited with bacon. Donít set them yet, as the rats need to get used to them. Rats are neophobic; fear of new things. Once they eat off the unset traps, then set the traps and you will have success.
 
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Old 11-07-16, 05:57 AM
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@PAbugman
I can start with snap traps, yes I can. What size?
You seem to trust snap traps very much, I am a little less hopeful because I have the (small, 30'x40' aprox) attic mined already with glue traps and boxes (one way traps, they close when animal gets in). Not even one rat trapped. Had also snap traps in the garage, where I saw them 1st, and the food (pb) was gone, snaps closed or broken! Size of traps and snaps might have been the problem?

This area where I live is zoned. All well kept homes in 3-4 square miles, a school at 500 yards, a creek there as well.
Water supply can be the damaged water heater! As for food, no idea.
 
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Old 11-07-16, 06:45 AM
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A rat snap trap is just like a mouse snap trap except larger.
I don't have any issues with rats but get mice several times a year I like snap traps because it kills them [cheap/effective] and unlike poison there is no worry about them crawling off and decomposing where you don't see them.
 
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Old 11-07-16, 10:06 AM
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They are very cautious and very smart. If the snap traps you set were the smaller style they will avoid anything similar for quite awhile. You said "snaps closed or broken! Size of traps and snaps might have been the problem?" Remove all of the existing traps and install 3 or 4 of the larger size. Change bait to something they have not seen, the bacon as PA suggested might be good. Add a hefty string to each trap in case they try to crawl away.

Since this will take awhile to get them to take the bait, consider a few weeks of bait in different places to get them to like it. When you find some of the bait gone then you know where to place a trap and hopefully they will be less cautious. Rats like to travel next to walls, not out in the open.

Bud
 
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Old 11-07-16, 10:09 AM
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We have rat traps in the garage for chipmunks. We have to tie them to something or will occasionally be missing a trap.
 
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Old 11-07-16, 09:32 PM
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Yes, my traps have traveled. Ha! I didn't know that was so common, so I must tie traps to something.
These guys don't make it easy at all!
I guess I'll put them there, with bacon (raw?) but not set, so they feel comfy.
Then after a few days, snap!
 
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Old 11-08-16, 03:21 AM
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Why not go ahead and set them? They are creatures of habit, not of reason. They don't "think" about it. They just do it.
 
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Old 11-08-16, 03:51 AM
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from PAbugman in post #5 ..................................

Don’t set them yet, as the rats need to get used to them. Rats are neophobic; fear of new things. Once they eat off the unset traps, then set the traps and you will have success.
 
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Old 11-08-16, 04:13 AM
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Good point, but I have never had a problem with setting traps and getting them on the first try.
 
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Old 11-08-16, 04:36 AM
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Me either but I think it stems from the failed small traps set earlier.
 
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Old 11-08-16, 05:18 AM
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Years ago my one experience with rats, I thought I was dealing with mice, I set the smaller traps. After I found two sets where the trap had tripped but nothing in it I couldn't get them to take the bait again. Then I discovered it was the bigger cousin, stayed up at night and saw one. Then I set the bigger traps but still no takers. It was at least several weeks before my first one and another several weeks for the second.

Then I found their entrance via the soffit from garage to house. Sealed that and no more rats. Mice are another story.

Bud
 
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Old 11-08-16, 06:02 AM
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I'm so glad I came to this corner of the internet!
Thank you guys for sharing!!!!
I have to agree that these animals are at least super cautious, so I'll wait to set traps -especially because I had set all the others and they "learned".
But because I'm not a rat, I am not going to wait too long: don't want to have a 100 cuddling up in my home. And destroying stuff.
I'm already emptying that garage, good motivation!
Will seal it after I set traps.
But the rubber gasket at bottom seems like chewing gum fir them, after I've seem what they can chew through.
What is an effective way to seal the door at the bottom? I'll put steel wool in crevices.
 
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Old 11-08-16, 03:44 PM
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Yes, the rubber gasket at bottom of garage door is easily chewed. If rats are living in the garage you may want to consider not replacing gasket until the rats are gone as keeping them in the garage will cause them to chew their way out. This is a tough call to make as generally it is wise to seal and exclude. This is a decision that the applicator, in this case you, has to make.

For what itís worth, when I performed rat jobs I did not want to change much until I had control of the rats. I like the theory of allowing the rats to think that nothing has changed, business as usual. Rats are neophobic, mice are not.

Keep us posted.
 
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Old 11-08-16, 05:35 PM
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Wait is fine with me, as I am overwhelmed with the rest of it anyway.
But:
1) concerned about bacon attracting EVEN MORE RATS that can easily get in,
2) what do I put after (if ever &#128540 they are terminated? Is there an unchewable metal finishing, as opposed to that silly rubber gasket that is not good sealant at all, even properly installed (if there is a stick, or a rock, it will just stay up and leave that gap.)
(And I hope we are talking raw bacon. There is no way I am going to fry those things, smell them, hold them... and then give it to the rats. That's just not gonna happen! Raw bacon, or snakes. Cooked bacon is for me alone! )
 
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Old 11-08-16, 06:56 PM
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Any bait for traps or rodenticide bait could lure more in I suppose but I never worried about it. If they are that close to your house you need to kill them too. Itís time to kill the rats.

I donít know of any other material to use as a garage door gasket. Someone else might but Iíve never seen anything else.

You can buy exterior rodent bait stations and bait them with rodenticide to kill rats/mice on the ext perimeter of house. The stations are a little pricey but they are made well so that non-target animals, kids, donít get inside. Search ďexterior rodent bait stationsĒ.
 
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Old 11-08-16, 11:11 PM
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Ok, last post of the day (or first, depending how you look at it)
But I had an idea for the garage door: metal mesh (no chicken wire!) nailed to the inside of the door. Besides gasket. That will stop them!
Or a snake 😉Name:  image.jpg
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  #21  
Old 11-09-16, 08:51 AM
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I love the drawing!

The problem with using either a mesh or solid sheet metal is that garage door openers have a "force" adjustment that precludes any significant amount of force on the downward motion, if it meets with "excessive" force it will automatically reverse and re-open the door. Any kind of metal used will have to be springy or it will eventually bend up and not do what you want. Also, you will need to very carefully fit it at the ends to preclude any opening

OR, you could get a cat.

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Although he has been pretty good the last few months, Squirmy is a serial murderer with many kills to his name.
 
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Old 11-09-16, 01:53 PM
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Ha! funny that you say that, the very 1st thing I did was to borrow a neighbor's cat for 2 weeks, all night in the garage. I though cat vs. rat was a given, but this apparently was a cozy house-cat that only had canned stuff all her life. Beautiful company, but didn't care at all about my rodent invaders. Nada. No Tom and Jerry fun.
Believe, I'm trying!
(My phone won't cooperate right now, was about to share her pic)
 
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Old 11-09-16, 02:53 PM
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35 years ago I had a rat in my shed/shop so I gathered up my wife's 2 cats and shut them up in there one night. Before I went to work the next morning I opened the door to let them out and turned on the light. Both cats were huddled up together on a shelf - apparently that rat scared them Wound up feeding the rat 3 boxes of rat poison before he disappeared.
 
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Old 11-09-16, 08:26 PM
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In the lower left corner of the picture you can see Toby's ear. Toby "bought the farm" this summer but he was also a serial murderer, the difference being he would only catch little mice.

Then there is Douglas, my best friend. I don't think he has ever killed anyone, or if he did he never brought it home. Since he got in a fight two months ago he won't even go outside anymore and he used to LOVE to be outside no matter the weather.

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He IS 18 and a half years old now so maybe that's got something to do with it.
 
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Old 11-09-16, 09:42 PM
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...at the risk of losing the focus of the post, which was snakes -I mean, RATS!
This is the good-for-nothing-other-than-magazine-cover-girl cat that stayed in my garage and probably just played pocker all night with the pests!
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In the meantime, trying to be all careful in my rat approach, the pest has gained control of my garage. Today I removed a big, perfectly good bench. Found out the animal chewed it from below, and the rug underneath too.
More and more inclined to buy into that "they don't really smell bad after they eat poison" and just spread those green tablets every other inch all over! Forget the 20 traps (and bacon) I just bought!!!!
 
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Old 11-10-16, 01:02 AM
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Beautiful kitty! I would have responded earlier but Douglas was lying on the desk preventing me from using the keyboard.
 
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Old 11-10-16, 01:20 AM
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Nice looking cat! Even has a smiley face on her/his side.

Btw, most people report peanut butter as one of the best trap baits though bacon (partially cooked or raw) is good as well.
 
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Old 11-10-16, 03:04 AM
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Rat poison is effective but don't under estimate the odor if you can't find the carcass to remove it before it decomposes. When I lived in fla I had mice decompose in the walls and you didn't want to be in the house! Poison works best if there is a water supply for the rodent. Be sure that no other animals [namely pets] can get to the bait.
 
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Old 11-10-16, 07:08 PM
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OK, so not true that they really don't smell that bad. ("Poison works best if there is water supply" what? On top of feeding them bacon I have to leave a bowl of water??? They'll think it's a spa and keep on coming)
Any truth about them going out to drink and die outside? I had two pest control guys telling me that... Sounds too good to be true.
Just cant stand them, every day is a defeat! Heard scurrying inside a wall now, fast and so close! can't imagine all the stuff the rat is chewing and damaging in there...
 
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Old 11-11-16, 03:30 AM
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It's my understanding that the poison works better if they drink water afterwards. Not suggesting you need to set water out for them like you would a pet but IF they can't find water the poison will take longer to work..

The hotter the climate the quicker the rodents will decompose. When it's cooler you have more time to find and remove the carcass. But if you don't find the carcass the smell will become awful, over time the odor will dissipate. While I've heard there is a poison that prevents the decay that causes the extreme odor - I've never used or seen it.
 
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