Wulf's Webden

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Game of Snap

Last week has been an odd one, since the Wednesday evening when Jane was coming in from the garden and spotted a rat sneaking past her into the kitchen! We’ve had the kitchen largely emptied out and a protocol of all doors in the house kept shut. It feels a bit like camping although at least with electricity and a comfortable bed (two things I won’t have at Soul Survivor next week). Finally, I came down this morning and found that it had fallen victim to one of the snap traps I put out on Monday evening.

The morning after it arrived, Jane went out and bought a bait box and a container of rat poison. I haven’t checked it today but, certainly by yesterday morning, it hadn’t been touched. I’m quite glad in a way. Although we’d been assured this was fast-acting stuff, poison often means a drawn out, painful death in some inaccessible corner. Much more effective were the snap traps: ordered on Sunday, initially set out on Monday, baited on Tuesday and – SNAP! – hopefully bringing the story to a conclusion by this morning.

One trick that was effective was sprinkling fine material on the floor in areas where we thought the rat would go. We started with some old maize flour, later supplemented with table salt. The salt grabs moisture out of the air, so it doesn’t last as long, but it also means you aren’t spreading out a bountiful food source. This was a low tech way of getting intelligence about the creature’s movements. When we were in, we were leaving the back door wide open in the hope it would make an escape but it didn’t seize those opportunities and, each morning, we could see the footprints.

Why not a humane trap? I think those things are far more cruel than gentle souls like to imagine. The victim is trapped until you get round to checking the device and you’ve then got to transport it a long way to let it out or it is likely to find its way back. Assuming you travel far enough (3 miles or so seems to be the general consensus), the released creature is bereft of any family it had and stranded in unfamiliar territory where it will probably either starve, get killed by another creature or end up plaguing another home.

All done? I think we’ll camp for a couple more days, with powdered floors and traps at the ready just in case there were others. One thing we still haven’t determined is where it was hiding so we won’t sound the all clear just yet. However, I hope this game of snap is now over.

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