Thursday, April 11, 2013

The electrocuted rat.

What do a tub of Vick's VapoRub, crackling sounds in the night and poo on a hand railing have to do with each other? Answer - a rather bizarre week at the Crazy House.
Three of our neighbours have chooks which means we also have mice/rats and therefore snakes in the neighbourhood. During the last two weeks, Mr CH has been driven to distraction in the middle of the night by the noisy scurrying of mice/baby rats along the water pipes under the house. If it's one thing he really can't stomach, it's noises in the night! So after buying some rat traps and setting them in place, he was mortified to realise while checking a baited trap, the mouse/rat watching him was too small to set off the trap and had been enjoying a free meals of peanut paste.
 After a few days we thought it/they had gone to greener pastures thanks to the cat, who despite only having her front teeth left had managed to catch two mice/baby rats over the previous nights and brought them inside for adulation. The nights were peaceful once again. Until, I got up in the early hours of the morning to see what the cat was up to, running up and down the hallway and heard a strange crackling sound from under the floorboards. So poor Mr CH was woken up to "come check, quick!" We quickly worked out (burning smell) that something was wrong with the wiring under the floorboards, so the power was turned off and after deciding the house didn't appear to be on fire we went back to bed.

 A few hours later (with our power still off) Mr CH decided to prise off some wood panelling from under the house where he thought the noise was coming from and "a wall of stink so thick you could see it", had him outside gagging. Seems a rat had chewed some wiring after getting stuck and had electrocuted himself and had sat there for a few days - fermenting! No one, I mean NO ONE is going to fix the wiring with THAT in there. Which is where the Vapo Rub comes in, if it's good enough for the crime scene investigators then it must work right?

Gross pic deleted for kindness sake.
 I thought you should share all the gory details by the way.
 Picture Mr CH trying to hold up the bottom pipe (while dry retching) while garden-gloved-me, tried to scrap Mr Rat out into a dustpan with a piece of wood ( while holding my breath) after I had first attempted to pull his tail which started to come apart in the process. We took many fresh-air breathers and decided this Vapo Rub wasn't strong enough! If anything the odour seemed to have fused with the Vapo Rub on our nostrils. So eventually Mr CH decided to grit his teeth and "be a man" and pulled Mr Rat out with pliers.

We found out later that in another few hours, our house could have caught on fire while we were sleeping.

The timber stay had to be cut away so the wire could be repaired. Two wires were damaged, one didn't need to be replaced though. Eucalyptus oil was rubbed all over the wood in an attempt to rid the stench. All outside gaps have now been filled.
 Seems it's two steps forward, one step back, sometimes with home renovation. This panelling has only been in place for about five years and now needs a patch up.
So thankful as it could have ended a lot worse, despite smoke alarms.

That wasn't all this week, after what appeared to be small greenish horse/cow hybrid poo on the back stairs and thinking it was from another dog getting inside the yard (it wasn't Penny-dog's), I was only further confused at some of it up on the hand railing. What kind of Great Dane dog would poo on stair railings and why? Mr CH on seeing this, looked up as if expecting to see the proverbial flying pig. Had us so confused until Mr CH said "I bet it's snake poo". So a quick Google search confirmed it was and seems a lot of people had Googled "What does snake poo look like" before we did.
Our neighbour had recently told Mr CH that he had a large carpet snake living under his house, which he wasn't going to mention to the four female members of his household.

A day later and this partial snake skin was hanging in the mango tree. You can just see the faint carpet pattern.

As far as snakes go, the smaller the better don't you think so?
Let's hope there are no more crackles in the night.
Have a lovely weekend, it's supposed to stop raining.


  1. Ahhhhhh. We have had rat problems here too. Last winter we had them nesting under our bath. Turns my stomach just thinking about it. One died under there after we pulled the side of the bath panel off and put bait in so I know EXACTLY the smell you are experiencing albeit without the added BBQ pong. They can cause amazing amounts of damage. Happy (Rat free) weekend to you xo

  2. EWWW. TMI, but strangely compulsive reading! Well done for dealing with it on your own, little blighters might think twice before crawling into that space again.

  3. Oh my goodness. I loved that post..and was intrigued with the very first sentence. You crack me up! We have bloomin mice at the moment, I just caught one today...peanut butter too! Its always something isn't it, ants in summer and now mice. Last year we has baby rats coming into the kitchen..spew! There is nothing worse that dead mice in the walls, thank goodness you got it out and that your house didn't catch! I like reading your post too much :) Enjoy your weekend, hope it doesn't rain for you (unless you want it to). Tam x

  4. Oh I'm sorry - inspite of the seriousness of your house possibly catching on fire (I've heard about rats causing this) - you cracked me up lol. Horrid rats, we had a plague of them a couple of years ago, when the nearby chook farm was demolished - train the snake to eat the rats and all will be in balance again :-)

  5. Wow, how clever is your cat, alerting you before the smoke alarm could. So pleased that the awful stench was the worst of it and not a house fire. We had a dead gecko stuck in an airconditioner and the stench from that was a shocker, I can only imagine how awful an entire fried rat would be! mel x

  6. Oooh...those are the kind of adventures I can live without! It seems that here in Queensland as soon as the weather cools the rats decide to come in under the houses. We have had them here too. We put ratsak in the ceiling over the laundry and under Mr P's bedroom as they had decided to nest in there one year. That killed them, but the next year there was a new lot. Kara, Mr M's dog has killed quite a few baby rats over the last couple of years and hopefully they'll forget where we live this year!

  7. Interesting and very amusing post! Suddenly I am no longer jealous of you living on the Australian beach with snakes like that hanging about. Don't you just think "dear Lord what would I do without a husband around" during times like that. {fermenting rat carcass nearly setting house on fire is pretty husband mandatory}. Though I am sure if we had to, we could take care of business, but why would you want to?
    So glad the CHC family is safe and sound.

  8. Thank goodness for your furry smoke detector. Funny story (that could have easily ended in disaster.) We had a dead mouse in our ducted heating system while we were living in Millthorpe, where a Winter's night got down to -5 and the days were lucky to get to 5 degrees. We couldn't turn the heater on due to the smell so I know how God damn awful it is. (btw I had to google your comment re "the pacifier" ha ha. The family are watching on TV now!) xx

  9. Wow, scary that you were so close to a house fire. We had a little bat in a gap in our plastering this afternoon. A builder ripped a bit of the plasterboard away to see what sort of frame our door sits in - leaving a nice big hole.

  10. So glad that nasty rat didn't cause worse damage. I can only imagine that horrid, rotting, dead animal smell - hideous. You guys did well to deal with it - teamwork! Hope you had a great weekend. : )

  11. OMG I would run a mile from all LOL...

    Great laugh, Great Pics, Very funny Blog read...


  12. It's been a week of wildlife at your place. Hope it all settles down.


  13. A tip, next time skip the vaporub. it dilates the nasal passage to help the snuffly to breathe thereby ensureing that you smell MORE of whatever you are trying to mask than if you do without. Trust me. I worked for a (very) short time for an entomologist interested in things that colonise corpses. He had a breeding room full of dead things for the maggots to live off. My job was to clean that room.

    There is not enough Vaporub or hot showers in the world....

  14. Oh my what a week you had, that must have been scary. I'm glad that everyone is all ok and the house is too. I hope this week was a better one. x


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