A Better Mouse (Er, Rat!) Trap
by Abby Lambert
As a resident of southwest Portland’s wooded neighborhoods, I’m used to visits by pesky wildlife. Raccoons scuttle through my yard at night, bats whisper through the summer skies and there are occasional coyote sightings. My philosophy of “live and let live” is extended to most nocturnal creatures, but not rats.
Unlike mice, rats are not cute. An unexpected mouse might make me shriek; any encounter with a rat makes me jump, cringe, climb onto a table or run in the opposite direction…not necessarily in that order. Even when I can’t see them, rats have sneaky ways of rustling around in the undergrowth. They dart across the road at twilight. Bolder rats brazenly shimmy up and down my bird feeder pole.
In spite of the large population of cats in my neighborhood, the rats continue to multiply. I think they’re creepy—they’ve got to go. Since I don’t have access to a Pied Piper, I must resort to an alternative way of elimination. NOTE: If you are a rat lover, STOP reading here. I’m not opposed to using rat poison but the chance of inadvertently harming a neighbor’s cat is too risky. That leaves trapping. Someone recently suggested using a live trap, then releasing the rats in the local city park or out in the country side. Seriously?
No. I’m going for the good old rat trap—with an upgrade. The trap will be placed inside a special structure that looks like a small fairy house (popular in my neighborhood). This will accomplish a couple of things: it will keep the trap dry, safety-proof it for children and pets, and blend into my garden. I’ve already built the model:
All I need now is to build the prototype and try it out. I hope it works. If it does, I’ll let you know. Next I’ll need a nifty name for this enhanced rat trap. What I’ve got so far: “Rat Heaven,” “Hotel Ratifornia,” “Squeaky’s Shop of Horrors” or simply “RIP” (Rat In Pieces). Got any ideas? I’d love to hear ‘em!