Oh yes. It's rat-o-rama in the barn. We have resorted to poison in the past when things got desperate but it's really awful, so we are planning on getting some true barn cats, which is a story for another day. In the meantime, we have stocked up on some of these...
The Rat Zapper!
As traps go, these are fairly humane: instant electrocution. I prefer them to snap traps (which sometimes maim instead of killing) or sticky traps (just a torturous UGH!) or poison (so bad, in so many ways, but effective if the rats aren't too suspicious to take the bait, or haven't developed warfarin immunity) We'll see how they work for the charming rat colony that has taken up residence here. We had a similar trap for mice that we used in our kitchen and it worked like a charm (although lately the cats have been dealing with the mice before they even make it out of the basement.) A little light comes on when a critter has expired in the trap. Compared to the mouse version, the rat one is much bigger and uses a larger (12D) battery.
Now I quite like rats as pets, and I admire their intelligence and resourcefulness. However this spring they have gone absolutely nuts in our barn in ways we have never seen before (including gnawing holes in the floors of the duck and chicken coops, which is just NOT acceptable!) All our feed is kept in metal cans but that doesn't stop the rats from going to help themselves at the chicken and duck feeders (gaaack!)
The last straw was today. I dumped out a bucket of water that I'd left out in the barn for the ducks and chickens. As I began to scrub it, saw Karène the duck snatch something from my feet and run off. I looked down to see a drowned young rat that I'd unknowingly dumped from the bucket, then looked up to see Karène racing off with yet another dead rat clutched in her beak! Two young rats had managed to drown in the bucket sometime between the time Gordon filled it this morning and the time I emptied it this afternoon, and I hadn't noticed the sodden corpses until the duck snagged one and took off. I do tend to daydream when doing barn chores.
Even better was the part where I had to chase Karène all around the yard, trying to get her to drop her ratty prize. Not a chance! She had absolutely no interest in relinquishing that tasty carcass to me. Finally I managed to catch her, but she still wouldn't drop her catch, so I had to grab the sodden rat (in full rigor-mortis) by the TAIL with my BARE hand and yank the rodent out of the duck's beak. I am usually not very squeamish but that particular manoeuvre just about did me in. I suppose I should be grateful that the rate wasn't ripped in half in some kind of ghoulish tug-o-war between me and Karène.
Needless to say, I had a beer with supper tonight. I don't drink much but you know, sometimes even I need alcohol!