How to catch a (rodent, not informant) rat

I like to consider this blog first and foremost about startups and programming. However, dealing with disposing of a rat living in my house proved to be just as difficult as setting up a recurring billing system! So, this article is about hacking a rat, instead of programming computers. If you don’t want to read the whole post, here is the gist: to get rid of a rat who will touch no trap, simply tie bacon onto a spool of fishing line, and when the rat takes the bacon to his nest you can then follow the line to find the nest and finish him off.

Now, some people who get rats are lucky: they have dumb rodents that will fall for snap traps smothered in peanut butter. Boy, do I wish the rat that chose my freaking oven as a home was dumb. Nope, instead I get the rat that will not fall for any type of trap. I tried humane rodent traps, a custom trap made with a bucket and a spinning bottle smothered in peanut butter (cool design, rodent runs up a ramp to the bucket rim, tried to walk on the soda bottle suspended with wire across the bucket opening, which then spins on them dropping them into water below). I then resorted to snap traps with a variety of different baits, including peanut butter, cheese, dog food, bacon and tuna. Nothing. The damn thing was stock piling food underneath the kitchen stove with impunity!

I took apart the stove and disturbed his nest, which happened to be in the insulation above the oven and below the stove top. He had pissed and shat in the insulation, which cost me $100 to replace. In any event, he was scared out of his oven-nest and proceeded to skitter across the kitchen floor, and down to the basement. Dumb me forgot to close the basement door. Here is a pic of him playing dead when I opened the oven:

So, getting desperate, I bought a pellet gun and set out to shoot the damn thing that had been keeping me up at night for weeks now. I spent several hours each night perched on the steps in my basement, pellet gun loaded in my lap, scope zeroed in and focused at my 10 yard range to the pile of bacon I kept replenishing on a ledge across the basement. Still, the damn thing wouldn’t eat the bacon until it had been out for at least 24 hours, and wouldn’t eat it at any consistent time.

So now I am really desperate and my girlfriend is starting to question my manhood. Come to think of it, even I was questioning my manhood so I decide to campout in the basement until I killed the damn thing. I made a hammock snipers nest, hung from the joists supporting the floor of the house above me. I put up a red 25w light bulb illuminating my target area, tied a piece of fishing line to the two pieces of bacon in the event I dozed off, then proceeded to read/doze in my snipers den until 4am. The other end of the fishing line was looped around my wrist, which would hopefully tug me awake if my target went for the bait. By the time 4am comes, I give up reading by almost no light, and decide to go to bed. Next morning the damn bacon is gone, but I have a length of fishing line I can follow to find his new home!

From here, the most manic 4 hours of my life occurred, which resulted in my digging up 20 square feet of dirt in the crawlspace of the house, unearthing rat tunnels, flooding them, ripping all the vapor barrier plastic out, chasing a rat with a shovel, screaming at the sky, then finding the bastard under the steps in front of the house. I got him with a pellet then did a victory dance with my rifle in the front yard, scaring the shit out of all my neighbors.

Sorry PETA, and sorry rat. But, it was you or my girlfriend plus my sanity. Easy choice.