Mice or a rat do you think? Anyone with experience of either? Probably more the latter.

(39 Posts)
LadyOfTheFlowers Wed 01-Dec-10 12:45:11

Okay.....

Recently moved into a victorian built terrace.
Everything lovely, except....

About a week after moving in, started no notice scratching noises, upstairs one night. Sounded like a mouse or something behind the wardrobe.

Cue DH wrestling the double wardrobe out, naked, at 11.30pm!
Nothing.

Then began to notice scratching under the floorboards, usually early evening, sometime sin the day. Sounds like something actually gnawing the underside of the floorboards.
(Bare floorboards so can hear quite clearly)

Kids tend to drop bits of food when they are eating obviously and some of this drops between the floorboards.
Pull up a floorboard, there is no sign of rice, crumbs, food bits etc.
Also, no sign of any droppings. hmm

Last night (4pm) I pushed a bit of bread through a wide gap where I could easily spy on it with a torch, then forgot about it until 9pm, checked and bread was gone.

Other night, LOUD scratching is coming from inside bolier cupboard.
Open door, something has been chewing the bottom of the verticle wood slat that supports the shelves in there and there is a triangular hole going through the wall into the bathroom which is next door right by the bottom of said wood slat.

Off comes the side of the bath - the hole comes out under the bath at the foot end.
At the tap end, the pipe for the waste bath water goes out through the wall to the outside and there is a small hole around the pipe but it must be at odd angles as you cant see daylight. This pipe has been surrounded by expanding foam at some point.

DH blocks hole up to outside and also from bathroom to boiler cupboard.

All morning, LOUD frantic scratching at blocked hole to outside. It sounds bigger than a mouse to me. I used to keep rats in teens/early twenties.

Under the bath and in the boiler cupboard there are no droppings, no greasy marks or runs, no foorprints in the dust/sediment, absolutely no concrete evidence of what it is.

Landlord is coming out tomorrow to look at oven so I will mention then - I don't want to mention today as I think he will probably come rushing round straight away and I am in a bit of a mess as I have been searching for hard evidence all morning.

Why can I find no droppings? confused
I know what I am looking for but can't find it - only hear it.

Any experience?

LadyOfTheFlowers Wed 01-Dec-10 12:45:47

PS - Next door have an apple tree with apples all over the shop which according to Google is a big rat attraction. hmm

sunnylabsmum Wed 01-Dec-10 13:06:19

You have my sympathy- how horrible!
Sounds to me like rats. When we lived in cyprus they came in through the open windows and found one in the lounge, and then in the bedroom. Put down bait but didn;t trap anything. Didn't find any droppings. A few months later had mice in the kitchen- loads of droppings...trap set and caught one...after that no more trouble. One tip if its mice put chocolate in the trap not cheese! Might be worth contacting a professional.

LadyOfTheFlowers Wed 01-Dec-10 13:10:32

I did hear the mice liking cheese thing is a myth and they quite like chocolate or nuts.

I was thinking of asking my mum to pick me up a mouse trap and I could put it under the floor where the bread test was, but if it's a rat, it might not kill it out cold and I COULDN'T sort a half dead maimed rat, I just couldn't.

Rat trap would be best I guess?

LadyOfTheFlowers Wed 01-Dec-10 13:38:24

No-one else....

DanZZZenAroundTheTreeAgain Wed 01-Dec-10 13:40:46

I don't know, hope it isn't rats. Haveyou looked for mouse dropping behind things - sofas, chest ofdrawers, something not often moved and close to the wall/skirting boards?

MonkeySee Wed 01-Dec-10 13:43:32

If no poo round and about, but things being nibbled/chewed that sounds like a rat.

Mice are incontinent, but rats aren't and tend to do it in one place.

If rat i'm pretty sure your council have to come out and don't charge.

LadyOfTheFlowers Wed 01-Dec-10 13:44:05

Youngest 2 are asleep now. I am going to creep off into kitchen, turn off telly and have a listen.

Snoop around in cupbaords for poop.

Not found any so far - that's what's confusing.

kahlua4me Wed 01-Dec-10 13:50:17

We had rats in our extension a few years ago whilt still building it. They sound awful so I really sympathise with you.
Were told they were rats as they tend not to leave droppings around, where as mice will poo anywhere!
You can ring the coucil as they will send pest control out.
Best thing to do is put some poison down, in a place where you know they have been and where kids and pets cant get it and wait. it may take a while but eventually they will take it. We kept doing that until they had taken a lot then sealed all the holes and they all died under the floorboards.
Good luck.

lindsell Wed 01-Dec-10 13:52:27

Does sound more like a rat I'm afraid, would be loads of poo if a mouse.

If it's rats there is often a smell, like ammonia and if you can see anything that's been chewed the teeth marks are bigger and there may also be hairs around.

Btw don't use expanding foam to block up the holes they can chew through that, we had that problem...

MonkeySee Wed 01-Dec-10 13:59:05

Brillo pads or steel wool seems to work though

BeenBeta Wed 01-Dec-10 14:03:54

Am I right in thinking you have actually trapped the rat inside your house?!

If it can get out it will eat through anything to escape including into your house.

I would put a cage trap down with meat in where you thnk it goes in the cupboard. You will catch it in minutes if it is in your house.

nocake Wed 01-Dec-10 14:10:21

As others have said, mice leave dropping everywhere. We had one in the utility room cupboards recently but an old fashioned spring trap sorted it out. You can get larger versions for rats but emptying them isn't pleasant so a cage trap might be a better option. We used peanut butter as bait for the mouse. I'm not sure if rats have the same preferences but it might be worth trying.

LadyOfTheFlowers Wed 01-Dec-10 14:13:52

Ooh no don't worry - we definately didn't trap it inside!

It was trying to gnaw it's way back in!

I have just took the side off the bath again (there has been no noise for a good 2 hours) and can see where DH jammed rocks in the hole as a temporary fix. Instead, Roland has been picking the expanding foam that's there - there are little bits of it in a pile.

I also snooped around more, and have found a solitary rat turd under the bath.

Am quite pleased with my handy work tbh!

My mum thinks tis the rat who took the bread from under the floorboards but that would mean it is getting in somewhere else too surely?

The main house is victorian, the kitchen and bathroom is an extension added about 50 years ago - this is where Roland is getting in - and has a solid concrete floor. Surely he wouldn't burrow all the way under this?

I am thinking it's more likely housemice under the floor? confused

LadyOfTheFlowers Wed 01-Dec-10 14:15:07

If I cage trap Roland, where do I release him?

BeenBeta Wed 01-Dec-10 14:33:25

I suggest if the rat is outside you need to cement the hole over to stop it getting back in and then put some poison down next to the hole outside. It will eat the poison. I assume the hole is at ground level?

I dont generally release rats from cage traps. I humanely dispose of them.

LadyOfTheFlowers Wed 01-Dec-10 14:34:37

How do you do that Beeta?

I am thinking cement the hole up.

LadyOfTheFlowers Wed 01-Dec-10 14:35:22

Been sorry - Don't know where I got Beeta from. hmm

BeenBeta Wed 01-Dec-10 15:07:35

The hole is around where the waste pipe from your bath exits the house?

You can buy a small bucket of cement from B&Q or Homebase. Mix it up and then pack it into the hole around the pipe. In effect, cementing the pipe into the hole into the wall. You might want to wedge small stones around the pipe so it does not waggle about while the cement is drying. Do it inside as well.

Protect the cement until it is dry to stop the rat scraping it out.

fin54 Wed 01-Dec-10 15:16:14

smash up a bottle mix it with steel wool and stuff up any holes you can find then plaster over the top of the hole

ilovehens Wed 01-Dec-10 23:04:44

It's a rat.

Don't worry. Go to a hardware store and buy a lockable poison baitbox. Bait it with the rat poison and place it where you estimate the rat goes. It'll be dead within the week.

I've had a few in the house over the years and they're easy to get rid of, but try to prevent returns by blocking off any outside ways into your house.

LaLoose Thu 02-Dec-10 12:38:25

It's a rat. They can get through cement floors I'm afraid. But they won't bother if there's no food around, so something must have drawn it into your house (and no, crumbs coming through the floorboards is not enough). Fruit bowls? That's always a classic. If you have fruit bowls, put the fruit away until this problem is sorted out. I am confused why rats have come in when the big draw (next door's apple tree) is outside...

Close up any holes with cement mixed with steel wool and glass (like fin54 said), not cement alone.

And get the rat man in. I'm afraid to say it's unlikely you have only one. I have had rats. It's grim, but you will get rid of the little shits eventually.

PS if you trap Roland don't release him. Rodents are territorial, ie it will try to come back to you. Sorry, but in my world humane treatment does not apply to rats.

AphraBen Thu 02-Dec-10 15:51:15

THe good news is rats are supposed to be easier to be rid of than mice. Blocking the holes up is good (wire wool and hard drying foam), as is blocking the cracks in the floors (wood filler) setting poison (by a pro) in the runs is good too. But if they die under the floorboards you'll really know about it, they pong. Mice don't pong when they die. I've lived in places with one or other and while rats are more horrible for their size etc, after one trip from the pest control guys, they were killed off and gone. Your landlord should pay for a private company. The council waiting list can be 3 wks + longer and the breeding time is short, you want rid.

DanZZZenAroundTheTreeAgain Thu 02-Dec-10 18:15:52

they can get through cement floors?! Oh yuck. Hope you get rid of them OP

honeybeetree Thu 02-Dec-10 18:20:49

if it is a rat you need to deal with it now as rats can chew through anything including wires...More likely to be mice though as rats are fairly big things....

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