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You are here: > News > March 7, 2014

Rat in the ceiling, wall, soffit; Blackbird lands on my foot

A little Friday diversion having nothing to do with exotic free energy; just a day in the life of a reporter/networker, having to take care of things around the house. Also a look at the animal totems for rat and black bird.

by Sterling D. Allan
Pure Energy Systems News

Yesterday afternoon, we began hearing a rat up in the ceiling over the office here in my home where I work. It was LOUD. It didn't seem to be trying to be quiet in the least, whether it was trotting around or clawing at something. 

I would use a cylinder to pound on the ceiling in the vicinity of where it was, and sometimes that would get it to stop what it was doing; but sometimes, it made it all the more loud. Claw, claw, scratch, scratch, chew, chew.

We had to do something about this.

About half a year ago, we had a rat in the ceiling over our bedroom, and I had to go up there to deliver some rat poison and ended up fixing a poor insulation job the builders had done in that area of the rafters.

I knew from that experience that rats and mice are completely different when it comes to extermination.

First, our tom-cat, Oreo, does a fantastic of job of keeping the mice away. We don't have to worry about them. Also, the cat doesn't have a way to get up into the ceiling/rafter area. And I can't figure out how a rat got up there either. It took like a week before we stopped hearing it.

Second, rats are feisty. They will chew through drywall, wood, concrete, and even wire insulation, creating shorting/electrical fire hazards. You can't just wish them away. They're going to be doing damage.

This morning, we discovered that the rat had fallen down into the wall between our office and the entry. The cat was there, staring at the wall, wagging its tail, sniffing the wall, poised, wondering how it was going to get to this thing that sounded like a huge, tasty mouse. Here's a quick video I shot of Oreo.

It took me a while to figure out what was going on, because it sounded like the rat could migrate horizontal distances that defied getting past the 2x4 studs in the wall between the drywall. At one moment, I could hear it against the entry way wall. Then I could hear against the wall in my closet. Then I could hear it against the wall in another closet.

While I waited for the pest control place to open, to get some advice, I sat my chair next to the entry wall, and would bang on it, around where I would hear it. I pictured it trying to chimney climb up the wall, as it was about 4 feet up from the floor.

But then I would hear it a couple of feet away, horizontally. What?

Then it occurred to me that there is a triangular space of maybe 3' on each side that is empty space in there, given the floor plan of our home. The rat wasn't stuck in a small 4" x 14.5" space, but had a fairly open area to tread around in.

After talking to the pest control people, I hatched a strategy. I would cut a small, square hole in the office closet, put duct tape on it so the rat could escape, but not reenter that space, and I would have some rat poison in the closet, which I would keep closed -- and some water, to wash it down. (Some poisons require water to do their thing.) That way, we wouldn't have a dead rat in that small space and have to figure a way to retrieve him from there.

By the time we got home, we couldn't hear the rat in the wall any more. No noise.

Then, after about an hour, we heard him again -- up in the ceiling again. How did it get up there?

I guess I was going to have to get up there again.

I went out to the car to get the poison (which has some very severe warnings on it about toxicity, using gloves, be fully clothed, etc).

As I made my way back to the house, I could hear the rat scampering along what at first I thought was the rain gutter. But then I realized it was up in the soffit. I started barking (natural predator sound) at the rat, to see how far it could go in the soffit, and realized it had free run around three edges of the house, the full length of that soffit section. It even went up to the entry of the house, where I saw a jump rope that the kids had by the front door. I grabbed the jump rope and used it to whack the soffit where I could hear the rat. And it would run. 

This was getting quite fun.

When it would get by the back rain spout, where there was an opening in the soffit where a satellite cable came into the house (previous owners, we don't use it), there was a hole maybe 1/4 inch square. That is where I saw how big this rat was. It's claws were maybe 3/4 inches long and 1/8" thick, as it placed them in that opening to see if it would give. It did that 2-3 times. Freaked me out, each time. Sheesh, that thing is BIG!

I was wondering why it didn't go back up into the rafter area. Could it not find the opening where it got into the soffit? I was curious where that opening was. That's why I was chasing it around the soffit, whipping the soffit with the jump rope, to make it scurry. I did that for maybe ten minutes.

Over by the door, the noise went away. I guess it found the exit. 

But then, after 2-3 minutes, I heard it in a higher soffit that goes over the door.

Time to go up there and deliver a rat treat.

Getting up into the attic space is not easy. Standing on the top of our 12' ladder in the garage, the opening is another 5' above that, and you don't have much to grab onto to get up in there. Last time in, I had to cut the calking that the builders had put there to seal it.

Up in the attic, there is about a foot of blown insulation, so you can't just walk on the tops of the horizontal ceiling studs. You have to walk where the rafter struts come to a V. I had to go about 60 feet to get around to where the office is located.

As I neared that area, I could see that getting into the soffit would be easy, as it is open all the way around, for ventilation.

Once I got to the area in the attic over the office, I could look down into that space where the rat had been this morning. It's where the ventilation pipes come from the mechanical room in the basement, up through the rafters, then through the roof, after a 45-degree jog to the back ceiling stretch, so as to be out of view of the front, I guess.

As I shined my flashlight down there, it was immediately clear how that rat climbed out. You could see teeth mark cutting about a 1/4 inch notch in the wood about every 4-6 inches, all the way up a section with two 2/4 studs nailed together. That's an nine-foot climb, and the opening to the attic is surrounded with blown insulation. I should have taken a picture of it.

I have a lot more respect for the ability of rats.

I placed my meal for him in a small box near a clear area by the soffit, so the aroma of "fish" would waft, inviting him to his last supper -- same invitation for any other critters that might decide to go up there.

Since I've come back down, I've not heard any more rat scampering sounds. 

Maybe he's taking a nap. A very long nap.

Either that, or I scared him away. He won't be coming back any time soon. And if one of his pals decides to pay a visit, he'll probably smell the tasty treat we have for him/her up there.

The pest control guy said: "If you've got one rat, you've got at least 3-6 around."

Not sure we want to post our rat feeder outside, in its protective case, designed for rat and mice sized critters. If a cat or mouse feeds on a poison rat or mouse, it pretty much has the same effect on the cat or dog.

P.S. Black Bird Lands on My Foot

Four hours after posting the above, I realize I forgot to include the most bizarre thing that happened during the whole episode.

As I was exiting the attic, I was standing on a 2x4 stud with my right foot and began lowing my left foot toward the ladder. I hadn't lowered it three inches, when a black bird came and landed on my emerging shoe. 

Startled (as you can imagine I would be), I quickly shook my foot, and the bird immediately left, and I could hear it fly into a window in our garage. Apparently it was looking for an exit.

After getting down off the ladder, I opened the garage door, and the bird, who had been flying between the two windows, and running into them each time, quickly flew out.

Spiritual Totem

Reflecting on this, I can't help but wonder what the rat and bird totems represent.

With a brief perusal, I see that the rat represents, briefly, wasteful hording to survive. That does hit home inasmuch as we are presently in gradual process of clearing out our basement, which has all kinds of things that we never use. We've emptied two minivans full of stuff to the local charity, and about four large containers (~3' tall by 1.5' diameter) of trash.

So it was as I was emerging from the attic to get rid of the rat that the black bird landed on my foot.

Here is what I pulled up on black bird:

Black Bird People are learning to use their gifts and talents to manifest their dreams into physical reality. Blackbird people have a talent that is ready to be released to the world, for all to see and hear. Blackbird is encouraging you to do it!

Cheri points out that the bird landed on my foot, underscoring that this is something I am stepping into.


Non-Toxic Rat Poison

Harriette DeNayer Lasky wrote:

"My husband was a pest control tech, and he would put out shallow containers of beer for rats. They love it, but the beer bloats them up and they are not able to burp, so they die. Granted that you have to dispose of the bodies, but at least you don't have to worry about other animals or kids being poisoned."

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Page composed by Sterling D. Allan
Last updated March 12, 2014




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