I pointed out the roof area in our master bedroom, where we can hear the noise. He then happened to look outside our window and saw that in the back garden of our next door neighbour’s house there are two very large fish ponds.
We know the owner is a carp fish enthusiast – some of his fish are very valuable. When we moved in we were pretty impressed to see the ponds. Not once did we connect the fact that a constant water source is just as attractive to rats as a food source.
My exterminator informed me that rats consume approximately 30mg of food and 60ml of water per day. So when he saw those fish ponds, he thought we were very likely dealing with rats. That is not what I wanted to hear.
He added that my local area has a far greater problem with rats and mice. He spends the majority of his working day dealing with rats and he had spent the earlier part of the day in other people’s lofts, who had reported a similar problem – again, not really what I wanted to hear!
When he got into my loft he said that there was no obvious smell of the presence of rats – apparently they give off a distinctive ammonia-like smell. So, we may only be dealing with an individual loner rat or maybe two. Either way the important thing is to catch them before they have the opportunity to produce babies.
On further inspection of the loft, he discovered a reasonable size tunnel in the lagging by our water tank, located roughly in the area where we can hear the noise. This then re-confirmed that we are not dealing with bats or squirrels as they do not tunnel in that way.
Then, as if on cue, we could hear the familiar scratching and scurrying noise whilst he was still up there. But we could not see anything, and he did not find any evidence of droppings, which is obviously another sign of rats.
And now a word of advice about boarding your loft.
This is generally a good idea and prevents any possible risk of your leg going through the ceiling whilst you are up the
re. However, if ever you have a pest problem, it may become a hindrance! There is the possibility that our rat is underneath the floor boards, running around having a brilliant time under the cover of darkness!
There may be a chance that we will have to pull up the floorboards eventually, but we are happy to do that if it means there is a better chance of locating our furry pest!
In the meantime powerful baits have been left at either end of the discovered tunnel and at other points in our loft. Our exterminator will be coming back next week, to check for any signs of consumption. He also checked the outside of our home but could not find any obvious entry points.
I woke up this morning and I did not hear anything, and I thought that perhaps our rat had already eaten the bait – but sadly this hope lasted but a few mere seconds. The familiar noise from our loft became audible again.
Will continue to keep you all posted after the next visit – fingers crossed!