King County are launches a Rodent Prevention and Control Survey.
The only rat I’ve ever loved is Splinter from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — and I’ve had a lot of time to think about this. Labor Day weekend 4 years ago, my family moved into a Wallingford bungalow. We had finally hauled the last load from the moving vehicle and were enjoying refreshments on the porch swing when we saw them – scurrying across the power line, black as night with tails billowing behind — 2 FAT RATS?!!
Living in NY before we met, my husband has stories of rodents the size of Shetland ponies, in subways and apartments — mythical creatures meant to underscore all that is wild and urban about “the greatest city in the world”. My best Midwestern rodent memories include only the occasional unwelcome mouse scampering across a restaurant dining room.
But here in Wallingford, rats have become a daily nuisance.
Early this summer, my Wallingford street became absolutely overrun by rats (Roof rats and Norway rats – based on several late-night internet searches).
Neighborhood text threads exploded, comparing rat stories and seeking to fend off these vermin. We were seeing 15 or more at a time, crossing our paths in the light of day, scurrying fearlessly over human feet and completely inhabiting a nearby porch. My neighbor contacted the city looking for support. They sent notes of recommendation with tips like cutting off the food source by keeping trash cans closed, bird feeders high and compost bins sealed tightly. They instructed us to keep bushes 3 feet from the house, eliminate wood piles and keep the lawn mowed and the leaves raked. One neighbor actually had a formal (and anonymous) complaint lodged against her and the city sent a direct letter, threatening to take action.
After that first sighting 4 years ago, my husband went down a dark internet research rabbit hole, resulting in him climbing on ladders to soap the powerlines so the rats would lose their sent trail and erecting disc-shaped blockades…each of these solutions kept us rat free for about 48 hours. Our kind-hearted neighbor implored us to simply share the space with rats peacefully while others, tiny pitchforks in hand, spoke of diseases carried by rats and threatened to poison (which can hurt other Wallyhood animals, of course). Does any of this sound familiar on your block? Public Health wants to know!
Seattle and King County are launching a Rodent Prevention and Control Survey, which closes September 15th and asking that we all tell them a bit more about our rodent knowledge and needs. Click here for more information about the rat program and for tips on how to keep them at bay. May we all live rat-free without the need to soap our powerlines daily — or may we at least all adopt my neighbor’s notion that there is enough of Wallyhood for us all!
I caught one in a rat zapper and checked a camera after. The dead rat was inspected by another rat. After that, no rats have entered the zapper. They are very smart animals!
The nice people at the now departed Stoneway Hardware had a story on that. Speaking of rat zappers – a plastic box with a couple flashlight batteries, that administers a lethal electric shock to the rat that ventures inside.
They carried them, and did a pretty good business on that item. One day when the stock was running low and they called in another order, the factory rep on the phone wanted to know — what kind of hell hole was Seattle? no one else was ordering rat zappers in that kind of quantity.
A survey will control and prevnet rats in our neighborhoods? Interesting.
A professional exterminator told us that 98103 was the rattiest ZIP code in the entire country.