So in the early hours of this morning, I finally managed to trap and got to meet Ratty McRatface, before I said a goodbye of mixed emotions and released him back to the Rat population of Birmingham.
We have spent 7 weeks living alongside one another on Molly and except for the moment I discovered him clinging spread eagled to a wall behind a door, having escaped the eager claws & jaws of #boatcatsparta , he has not once shown his face! But, I have heard him ..... a lot!
Over the past 7 weeks, during which we have cruised to Netherton & back and spent 10 days away over Christmas & New Year, I have lived with the knowledge that Ratty McRatface was settling in nicely. I left food out over Christmas - it seemed the sensible thing to do if I was to minimise the possible carnage he might cause in his search for food. I have learnt a lot about rats (and mice) over the past 7 weeks and I know that they need to eat 10% of their body weight each day. Anyway, we arrived back to our boat on the 2nd January armed with a shiny new humane rat trap (those of you that know me personally, will know that I will always prefer to preserve a life, no matter how small) full of hope that we now had the means to evict our freeloading lodger.
Wrong, it took another documentary and further research well into the night to learn, that rats are much cleverer than we think and once they have seen a device in action, they will NEVER RETURN to it! I should have left the trap around filled with food but unset, in order to build our neophobic rat's confidence. I didn't and the trap went off and caught a mouse! Second night, another mouse! So, we are now 2 mice down, that we didn't know we were accommodating and I am very pleased about that, but Ratty still at large and our JRT Ruby In a nightly state of high excitement on duty in various places. The cat, sleeping soundly on the bed or sofa, not the least bit interested!
We cleared the food cupboard and put it all in a washing basket up high, we did the same with dog food - take away all possible food sources they said, the desperate rat will then have to go for the food in the trap! He didn't. So, admitting defeat, 2 different devices were ordered from Amazon and delivered to the CRT offices. I duly filled them with an array of tempting morsels, but didn't set them. With bated breath, I checked them on Thursday morning & Friday morning & the food was gone - I was elated, suddenly I felt as I was in with a chance of winning. Saturday morning food still there 🙄 but, Ruby was on duty all day by the hearth, so I figured Ratty may have got trapped under there overnight and was unable to return to his bed under the cratch due to dangerous obstacles, 3 dogs and 1 cat obstructing his path.
He was under there, we heard him Saturday evening! So, we took all dogs to bed with us and I set the trap! I woke about 4am, with a feeling, an intuition and armed with a torch I checked the trap nearest to the cratch and there was a little face looking up at me, I could hardly believe it, he was caught! So, we had a moment, me more than him if the truth be told and then I took him outside and released him from whence he had been brought in the jaws of our cat. Today we move on, the question is, do we take the cat?