Friday, June 24, 2005


As Indiana Jones once said, "Rats. Why did it have to be rats?" OK, he was talking about snakes, but I am exercising my poetic license, just like George Bush.

One morning, I woke up to another bright and beautiful day here in warm, sunny Florida. (Note: when waxing poetic, you must always precede the word "Florida" with "warm" and "sunny." If you don't, you are fined and can potentially serve time working in the strawberry fields for farmers at less than minimum wage, with people whose names sound like Juan, Juanita, and Franklin Rothschild the Third. All right, I'm making up the first two names).

For some reason, my nose doesn't start working first thing in the morning. I have to get up, wander about a little bit, and go through my usual morning routine (picture Scarlett O'Hara sashaying about her mansion first thing in the morning). My dog is usually the first to crack open his eyes and see me, and he seems to accept me as I am, even before I brush my teeth. Of course, he has also been known to savor an occasional dead bird. That's why I think that neither of us noticed The Odor at first.

I did notice that the noises I'd been hearing in the attic for a couple days had finally stopped. I seemed to be housing the Brazilian Soccer Team for Rodents upstairs. I had been hoping that whatever it was would decide to seek its fortune elsewhere, and never went up there to see what was scurrying about.

But when I came home later in the day, I decided that Something Was Rotten. I took out the trash, cleaned my garbage disposal out, and opened the windows for a brief time. Here in warm, sunny Florida, the summer arrives with a vengence, so they didn't stay open for long. As soon as I began to swelter, I closed everything up again and turned on the air once more. Problem solved.

The next morning, the odor was strong enough to get my attention immediately. And that's when I realized that my Brazilian Soccer Team had been too quiet for too long.

I am somewhat ashamed to admit that there are times that I use my feminine wiles to my advantage. This time, I convinced My Other Half that I wouldn't dream of going up there in that horrid old attic while he could go up there and find the problem so much quicker, and better, than I could. So, with great reluctance, he went. He found nothing.

The smell persisted for 2 more days, until we couldn't enter the house without putting rags over our noses. So, he went up again. This time, he found the remnants of what he said was the biggest rat he'd ever seen in his life. He said this in between gagging, I should add. "Well," I said brightly, "maybe it's a capybara!" When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

He treated this with the disdain that it deserved, and said nothing while he continued trying to hold down his lunch.

We get a lot of citrus rats in our attics in warm, sunny Florida. They're adorable, dark brown rats with huge eyes. Adorable, that is, until they decide to die in your attic. Not having seen this particular rat, I don't know if he was a mutant like Arnold Schwarzenegger, or if he may have been of another species altogether. I wasn't curious enough to look.

I've had friends that tell me, in an all-knowing sort of way, that if you just put poison up there, the rats will eat it and wander outside to find water. They suggested leaving pans of water around outside (as if my neighbors don't think that I'm strange enough already). But, what would prevent them from wandering inside? I have plenty of water inside. I don't think I want to take that chance. Others have suggested traps. I can't see how I will be able to convince My Other Half to go up and check those traps on a regular basis. I was lucky enough to con him into doing it the first time.

I can always hope that no other rats find their way into my attic. But that may be as blindly optimistic as an orphaned boy at the Neverland Ranch.


Anonymous said...

My suggestion is to close up every vent that may be leaking air from your attic into your house. The smell will go away.

I had some of your soccer teams' opponents in MY attic - I thought they DID wander out to find water, until I noticed the flies. For about 3 days, the stray flies (no doubt maggots that hatched), met my flying insect spray. I've poked my head in the attic and don't smell anything. But MY other half went up 2x and said he could find nothing - I have my doubts about his sense of smell and how hard he really looked to find something.

You could call an exterminator. But a pest control friend of mine said the smell does not generally last very long. Is that comforting or what?

Saur♥Kraut said...

Great. My next post could be on the fascinating discovery of rat mummies in your attic.


Well, the smell is finally gone, for the most part, since the corpse went into the Sacred Burial Can at the Foot of the Drive.

But sometimes, I think that I can still smell something...

snicksnack said...

Don't look to me; I'm Lord of the Flies. I live in a building that gets swarms of termites each spring, coming out of light sockets, fixtures, and anything else that they can crawl through. As soon as I can, I'm outta here.

Tabasamu said...

Sounds like you like rats just about as much as you like Tom Cruise ;-)

Glad it was YOU and not ME. Cuz I would just move OUT.

Saur♥Kraut said...

TC and snicksnack,

Thanks for the support, though the lack of suggestions isn't enheartening.

back-to-basics said...


Can't help you with the smell, but my husband can catch some rats.

Put mouse traps in your attic with Peanut Butter on them.

Anonymous said...

We had a serious rat problem last summer. Not only were they on the back deck smiling at us but they managed to get in the main part of the house and continue to tease. After getting over the horror of realizing we have rodents and trying not be too grossed out by it..we set traps. We set the humane kind outside where they met a quick death by BB's and we set the snapping kind inside where they met an even more cruel fate. I don't hear my "soccer" team in the actic nor are they leaving little brown presents in the main part of the house. We have culled the colony down considerably and I've even considered importing snakes to our property and tying long ropes around them so that they won't leave the property.

Saur♥Kraut said...


*LOL* I like the snake idea.


Yeah, peanut butter baited traps are tried and true. I caught one recently that way. I guess I'll have to probably go that route, and send The Other Half up into the attic routinely.