Rats were taking over our house and yard. Why? Because our property was a MacDonald’s for wildlife. Each time I spied one skittering along the top of the fence, I thought it was a squirrel with a skinny tail because the body was so large. If rats could read, our ad would go something like this: “EAT HERE FREE! dog food, bird food, fresh fruits, vegetables, and a living compost pile.” Hey, if I were a rat I would eat here, too.
We had tried catching them with large mouse traps, but they just laughed and went around those things. So–husband and I went shopping at Orchard Supply and found exactly what we needed: the Sure Fire Black Hole Rodent Trap for only $18.00. Whatta deal! We bought it, took it home, and read the instructions that informed us to set food inside the cave-like opening. It wasn’t ordinary food that we placed there; it was a gourmet snack of bacon and cheese. That should do it. We went to bed knowing that we were, at last, the conquerors.
We slept peacefully until awakened by a loud crack. Denny said, “We got ‘im” and went back to sleep; but not me. I kept thinking about having to reach inside the cave-like opening to free up the carcass so we could throw it away. I finally relaxed and drifted to sleep, knowing the rat carcass was not my problem but my husband’s.
In the morning, Denny checked the garage and the rodent trap. Where was it? It was NOT where we had left it. We advanced with caution one step at a time and looked behind boxes, ladders and other garage type stuff when we heard a slow, dragging sound just like in a horror movie. Then it stopped. We heard it again but couldn’t identify the location until we saw the trap moving by itself behind a broom. The captured critter seemed to be propelling the thing. We agreed to shut the garage door and check back in an hour. After an hour we had to locate the trap again, because the rat was injured and dragging the trap along trying to free itself.
Denny said, “This is awful. Let’s leave it alone until morning because surely it’ll be dead by then.”
Morning came and again we had to find where the trap was hiding. It was now behind a dust pan. My husband said, “Enough is enough.” He made me leave and asked me not to worry, but he added, “Don’t peek and don’t listen.”
I went to our bedroom and turned the TV up loud, but in the distance I could hear banging and thrashing of something on the concrete floor. The racket stopped for awhile and then picked up again until it sounded as though broken material was getting smaller or flatter. Eventually, Denny, very out-of-breath, came into the house and said, “I don’t want to talk about this. Let’s forget about it and go to a movie.”
So we forgot about it and went to a movie, which helped for a short time. But on the way home I wheedled out of him what all the banging was about. He was quiet for several seconds and finally said, “Okay…here’s what happened. I found a gunny sack, put the plastic trap with its big fat rat inside of the bag and bashed it to pieces with the sledge hammer.” My husband made a soft gagging sound and said, ” It seemed indestructible.”
Just telling about it had upset Denny again and he said, “No more traps for us. I want to “rat proof” our home.”
He found what he was looking for in the yellow pages under “vermin removal. It was a company called SWAT. The word created a mental image of a police team in black overalls and helmets entering our home with machine guns. But it was nothing like that at all. The SWAT “company” was one short slightly bald man who inspected our house for openings at the roof and foundation. He found many and sealed them so that squirrels, rats, and other creatures could no longer gain entrance to our house. If, however, a rodent was trapped inside the house, it also had no way of getting out.
And such was the case. We didn’t know this until several months had passed and the walls were opened for new electrical work. Once opened the odor of old road kill wafted into every room. Back came Mr. SWAT, who with his special, mysterious skill, went under the house wearing rubber gloves and located the rotting carcass in the wall. He carried it by the long tail to a box in his panel truck that was full of cages holding a live skunk and raccoon that he would release into the wild. As he drove away he shouted back, “I’ll send the bill.”
Denny’s shoulders sagged. He said, “I don’t want to go through this again so I hope this guy never moves away.” But he did move away. However, we’ve never had rats again which is proof that Mr. Swat really was a miracle worker. Whatta guy.