The Cottage Smallholder

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Rat alert from Dr Quito

quito on rat alertAt seven years old, Dr Q is Senior Dog at the cottage. Content for a couple of years with standard guard dog duties, he grew bored and cast around for a more pivotal role. As Head Rat Monitor he has achieved his dream.

A local rat catcher told me that rats tend to move up our village in waves. One house puts down poison and this kills a few rats. Not wanting to live in a funeral parlour, the rest move away to the next house. If their arrival has been undetected they breed fast and quickly boost their numbers. Quito must have overheard this conversation as he alerts me as soon as he hears the excited scamper of rat feet as they explore the spacious accommodation under our kitchen floor.

He doesn’t alert me with a yap or a sniff. But stands statuesque with his nose pointing to the floor. And he stays there 24/7 until I do something about it.

Apart from the fear of Wiles disease, rats make a terrible racket. The sound of their partying drives me nuts when I’m working late at night. We have a small convector heater in the kitchen and I reckon that their master bedroom is located just beneath. In this cosy spot they are warm and safe from the dog whose nose is positioned just inches from their bower.

Although the poisoning process is only a fifteen minute job, I always hope that they’ll move away of their own accord. I rap on the wall and jump up and down on the floor. This thunder clearly surprises them but they don’t pack their bags. After a couple of evenings, I write myself a large reminder note. And the next morning I am pulling on my poisoning gloves and grabbing the large bucket of poison to start my campaign.

I laid a massive amount of poison three days ago. This was perfect timing as later that evening, it was clear that the Rat Ambassador was hosting a lavish party. Plates piled high with poison were the order of the day and the grateful, raucous squeaks drowned the click of my computer keys.

Rat poison is efficient, eventually. Initially I’m delighted when Quito is not at his post as this tells me the poison is taking effect. Then I begin to feel terrible. For the next two days rats are dying, probably in agony, under the floorboards. We have to get rid of the rats but I’d prefer a more humane method. Quito gradually looses interest and on the third day is content to lie over the spot and listen.

If anyone out there knows of a quicker means of dispatch I’d be grateful for the information. Meanwhile we have contained the problem for a while and Dr Q snoozes above the graveyard. His duty done.

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1 Comment

  1. Niamh Mc Donagh


    Rats are haemophiliac so if you know where they get in under your floorboards generously sprinkle with broken glass.

    Probably equal to the poison though not sure might keep them at bay.


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