Coffee heat rising

Rat Wars: The Battle of the Runway

Have you ever seen anything so cute?

Mwa ha ha!!!!  

Just in from today’s engagement in the Rat Wars.

This should be good…I hope.

Well. It’ll be good if it works.


And ohhh yeah: I’m pretty sure it will work.

The trick will be to make Ruby mind her own business…except, o’course, harassing Rattie IS her business. Few things does Ruby enjoy more than chasing Rattie at a full-out, dead run.

So Rattie — being a rat, as roof rats in general are — likes to move around on her personal Rat Superhighway. This is a track fairly close to cover, so that the li’l critter can zip along within steps of shrubbery, woodwork, or whatever she can get under in the event of a cat, a hawk, or a corgi. Or if need be, she can climb straight up the side of the block wall. {Yes, they really are amazing little critters!}

Unless it’s a corgi…

She’s been living under the fake-wood decking on the west side — with, I presume, a fair number of her progeny, boyfriends, and whatnot. By way of getting from her castle to the citrus trees, she trots along the footing of the west (solid block) wall. Once at the building’s corner, she can zip under the nearest orange tree, and voilà! Fine dining in a leafy hotel suite!

This morning I take into my furry little head to stuff vast quantities of steel wool into all the cracks and crevices around that decking, then block entry further by setting rocks and bricks along the facings where those packed cracks exist.

Ratty has dug a grand entrance for herself on the north side of the thing, and really, all the way around there are places where I believe she can wiggle under there and squirm back out.

One of these gateways opens almost directly onto the Rat Runway, conveniently enough for Rattie.

Whilst in the process of doing this little project — it is so hot and wet out there that even that little bit of effort results in water pouring off your forehead and flooding your glasses — it occurs to me that I could make Rattie real sick and possibly even kill her simply by sprinkling the Rat Runway with diatomaceous earth (we humans know that as DE, right?).

This stuff is not good for you, for your cat, for your dog, or — interestingly enough — for your pet rats. If swallowed, it rips up  your (or their) innards. Breathing it’s not good for anyone, either.

If I were to sprinkle a skiff of DE along the Rat Runway, she would inevitably trot through it and get it all over her little paws and her fur. When she licks it off: RiP, Rattie.

Hence, said Trick: to keep Ruby away from it.

That will mean not letting her go out there unattended.

However, within the next few days it will rain — we are, after all, coming up on high monsoon season, July & August. One good storm will wash the stuff into the ground. But until then, Rattie will have plenty of time to get it all over herself and track it into the nest.

At any rate, I do have some low wire garden fencing, which I can set in the quarter-minus parallel to the Rat Highway but some feet away from it, so she doesn’t realize what’s up but Ruby can’t get into the layer of DE. That will blockade Ruby from getting very close to the DE Trail.

There are, I figure, several other steps one can take to repel Rattie.

Sprinkling a skiff of DE under those cat’s-claw vines, for example. But to do that, I’ll have to come up with some fencing that can be run all along the base of those plants, so as to keep Ruby out of the stuff.


This project is one that will consist of several smaller projects, any one of which will drain all of a given day’s energy.