Rat? Mouse? in Cellar - Now What?

dreamojeanJune 1, 2013

I can't believe I'm in this situation but, I was getting something in our cellar where we store food, beverages, cleaning products, clothes etc. - and something scurried by me, either a mouse or rat, I'm not sure which. We have owned the house (a brownstone rowhouse, attached on both sides) for almost 7 years and I've never seen anything like that anywhere in the house. Our former top floor tenant had a mouse problem but that was because mice had chewed through the back of his stove from the attached houses - an exterminator closed up the hole and the mouse problem went away.

We are in the middle of a renovation and have workers digging up dirt in our small backyard and setting down cement for a deck, and they opened our cellar's storm door in back and it was open all day and has been open for a couple of nights (the workers left it open and we have never used it before so didn't close it, our mistake) - the inside door to the cellar was closed at night but open during the day. Could whatever I saw have gotten in that way? I've never seen mice or rats in our backyard.

I'm confounded both as to how this thing got into our cellar and what that means in terms of numbers of them, and how we get rid of them. From now on the storm door needs to stay closed as much as possible obviously but this seems like a much bigger problem. I'm probably going to buy rat snap traps since I think a rat trap would catch a mouse because it's bigger. This is an urban location, in a brownstone, tiny backyard, cellar the size of the floor above it.

Any thoughts? Suggestions?

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Rats in Brooklyn. Who woulda thunk it?? And all you did was leave the door wide open day and night.


I co-managed a supermarket in Flushing one summer 41 years ago. We didn't dare go into the basement food storage area after 4PM, as that was when the rats came out. The owners didn't care to spend money on exterminators--until the Health Department closed the store down one morning. (You'd think they take a little something to look the other way. This was the Rotten Apple.)

If what you saw was so small you couldn't ID it, it was likely a mouse. Standard neck-snapping rat traps won't work well, as they won't trigger with the light weight of a mouse. So close up all entries to the cellar. Especially the doors.

If it's rats, you have a wide choice of inanimate elimination methods--poison, neck snappers, live trapping, glue boards and electrocution. When we lived in rural Ohio, we had a rat terrier. In downtown Toronto, a brace of cats were good for the occasional mice.

Reminds me, time to check the garage traps for last night's stray Mickies.

This post was edited by worthy on Sun, Jun 2, 13 at 11:00

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 8:23AM
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I get it, this sounds silly - but I've never seen a rat in our neighborhood other than on the subway tracks. Never in the backyard, etc. never heard of friends or neighbors with a problem either. Mice perhaps. I hope this is mouse obviously . And I've never had work done on our tiny backyard and by the way I was surprised the workers left the storm door open when they left. And they destroyed our garden which is the subject of another post in this forum. So I'm generally upset with them - they didn't leave steps for is to even access the area with the storm door other than by jumping down 3' or more despite saying they would.

They also left the door to the cellar open all day. I didn't. I was at work. Now I know to be extra vigilant with these (apparent) clowns and have a heart to heart with the GC about doors and security and how we avoid these problems going forward. This is going to cost me time and money on plants and Vermin traps

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 8:43AM
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