[Warning – this post contains scenes of disembowled animals – not for the faint hearted]

So, you may know that we’ve had rats and that, fortunately, these rats have been confined to the walls and loft of our home. We’ve had them on and off for several years and everytime we think we’ve found the source and plugged it, we have a quiet month or two and then they appear again.

Under control?

The Rat Hole - Uncovered

The Rat Hole - Uncovered

We’ve had the pest controller out several times, and then the pest controller’s boss too.  They couldn’t work it out and ended up saying “You might just have to live with having the odd rat every now and then”.

We’ve continued trying to find the source and recently we think we made some progress.

A while ago I opened up the wall cavity where we could hear them scratching around and shoved some chicken wire in.  The wall has been knocked through where an extension was built, and so I can get in to the side of the cavity.  This cavity is suspect because it leads up to the loft space.  “They’ll never get past that”, I thought.  But…evidently, they did.  My fault for not using enough wire?

So I recently opened it up again and shoved some more wire in.  This seemed to have the effect of pushing the scrabbling rats closer to the face of the cavity.  We could hear them shuffling past the MDF cover that’s temporary blocking up the hole.

“OK”, I thought, “I need something better to fill the gap more tightly”.  Enter…expanding foam filler.

Expanding Doubts

As I did this, I had in my head the possibility that a rat might try and get though the filler before it cured and get stuck and die.  That would be pretty grim.

About a week after the filler, I tracked down a dead-rat smell (yes, I can now identify this at about 200 yards) to the “rat hole”, pulled the cover off and, fortunately, a rat had tried to get down AFTER the foam had cured and was resting, dead, on top of it.  Phew!  I said, and not just at the smell.

Then…yesterday…the smell started again.  “Another got down there but not out eh?”, I though.  I opened up the hole and couldn’t see anything.

The Rat Hole - Inside the Cavity

The Rat Hole: inside the cavity, post rat-extraction

So, this morning, I went in with my hammer and chisel to hack out some of the foam and see behind it.  As I did so it became evident that my worst fear had come true.  A small rat, half encased in solidified expanding foam, was slowly rotting.  The stench was horrific and I had to pull it out in several parts.

NowI like the outdoors, but I’m not really a man of the wild, or, to be honest, that practical when it comes to things like DIY.  So I think this probably classes as the most disgusting thing I’ve ever had to do.

BUT, the presence of rats there means that they were trying to get out.  And if they can’t get out then I’m hopeful that they can’t get IN either!  Maybe, just maybe, our persistence has paid off, and we’ve seen the last of them.