dead rat on back steps

thatgirl2478September 4, 2007


The family (husband, dogs, and I) went away for this past long weekend. When we came back we discovered a dead rat on the back steps. We live in a suburban/urban area - so I'm not too surprised by the presence of rats - just by the location it chose to pass on.

I've done a little Google work and discovered that we do not 'meet' any of the criteria for a good rat habitat. No food or garbage left around (inside or out), no tall weeds, no food in the compost heap (just leaves, no new ones added since 3 years ago). Same goes for the neighbors - as far as I know. We have a large fence (6ft on one side, 4ft on the other) around the property, so neighborhood cats don't seem likely.

I am now paranoid that they are going to get in the house - any experiences with this? How can you tell if you have rats? I checked the cabinets for poop and chewed food bags - nothing. HELP!

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it could have died there, or a cat could have killed it and deposited it there.

if you start seeing droppings and chewed boxes, then worry. until then think of it as a fluke.

it could be a tree rat, we used to hav ethem in our old neighborhood. they never came inteh house, but they scurried all over the roof every night.

BTW, a 6 ft fence will not stop a cat.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 1:45PM
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Back yerd birdfeeders are a big enticement to rats in a residential neigborhood. Fences are the rats' feeways, phone lines and cable lines their highways.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 1:53PM
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That is an odd place for rat to just up and die. It almost sounds as if someone put it there. Have you had any other problems with vandalism or crank phone calls? I would start keeping notes on anything odd you find with your property and any neighbors or former friends who seem to be behaving differently.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 1:58PM
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"BTW, a 6 ft fence will not stop a cat."

Oh, I know it! But it seems odd that a cat would choose my fully fenced yard to snack on a rat. Of course, I'm basing this expectation on my lazy lazy cats.

"That is an odd place for rat to just up and die. It almost sounds as if someone put it there. Have you had any other problems with vandalism or crank phone calls?"

That's what I said! Very odd... We really haven't had many problems - at least nothing that we would think of as vandalism, no crank calls. But we will definitely keep a closer watch on what goes on in the back yard!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 2:16PM
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In our city neighborhood, they used to live in the sewers. I also saw racoons crawl out of sewers in our old neighborhood in the burbs.

Could it have come from there? Just check for the p**ps. If they are there, you will definitely see those first.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 2:53PM
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well, i don't have rats to deal with anymore, just field mice. they are even sneakier!

and then over the weekend a darn armadillo moved in under my shop. gotta kill him this afternoon when i get home.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 6:19PM
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Maybe he had a heart attack trying to get in? lol Let's hope...

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 10:36PM
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Why do you have to kill him? Can't you get him out some other way and put him back in his own environment? We invade and decimate wildlife's habitats every day and then to top it off think we need to kill the poor things who are only desperate to get their homes back!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 5:38AM
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I had the tastiest citrus in the neighborhood - According to my 81yr old neighbor.
Anyhow, at dusk during ripening season I could watch citrus rats come down the telephone/cable tv lines from as far away as the eye could see, and then come jump into my trees.

Anyhow, I would on occasion nail a block of rat poison in one grapefruit tree they seemed to feast on the most. Pretty soon, by the entrance to the garage back door, sitting on the concrete entry slab there would be a disoriented rat. Pellet rifle made short work of them. They'd wait for me to go get it, pump it up and walk over for their demise.

They would always appear drunk and staggering in that same spot, by that back door - always not long after I nailed up a new block of that green wax, seed/nut impregnated poison.

I started using the poison after they kept carrying away the large snap type rat traps, even with a string of empty beer can attached. That must have looked funny, them walking home down the utility lines. Clink Clink Clink.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 10:03AM
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lucy, armadillos root in the ground and destroy other animals nests as well as destroying crops. they are considered a nuisance animal just like rodents. several years ago they nearly decimated the local turkey population due to tearing up their nests and destroying the eggs. i do not kill an animal JUST to kill it, i kill for food or because they are a nuisance animal. if i don't want to eat it, or if it is not destructive, i say live and live.

i managed to get him last night. he had abandoned his burrow he was diggin due to it miraculously flooding, and decided to start a new one. 1 shot from teh .22 and he was gone.

the local farmers ran this one to my house, they recently cut the beans in teh field across the street and must have disturbed him. they told me the armadillos have destroyed a good bit of their crops this year.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 10:58AM
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We once lived where my dog could run free all the time. She would not eat rats, but would catch them, play with them until they were worn out (dead) and then place them as "offerings" on the front steps of the house. Snakes and moles too. If a cat will catch a rat, they will most likely eat significant portions of it. It is possible that it did just die there. If you find another there, then it is certain that someone or something placed it there deliberately. But it is dead! That's good!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 1:08PM
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I guess I just have a hard time dealing with a society that thinks guns are the answer to everything and is so used to it they've lost all perspective on what matters and the fact a lot of the world manages to get by just fine without them. Never mind.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 7:32PM
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"a society that thinks guns are the answer to everything". Where is such a place? I do have guns and they do have a useful place in my existence. But I also have hammers, saws, paintbrushes, welders, shovels. Recently I used a shovel after using a gun. My garden has one less pest.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 7:52PM
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lucy, i hate to break it to you but the MAJORITY of the world uses guns and uses them for their intended purpose. would you rather i shot and killed the pest instantly, or that i beat it to death with a shovel and it died in pain? as i said, around here armadillos are a nuisance animal, even the game and fish dept will tell you to kill all of them you see. they and coyotes are some of the ONLY animals that may be killed year round.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 9:25AM
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Our town has been having a problem with rats in certain parts - in large part because in the past 2-3 years, they've had to tear up a LOT of the main roadways to replace the sewer/water lines. The rats would be chased out of the sewer and into peoples yards and houses.

We've found 5 dead ones in the yard in the past year we've lived here. I was beginning to become paranoid that they were finding SOMETHING in the yard they liked, despite no signs anywhere in/around the yard that they were doing more than coming here to die.

Thankfully, I caught the "rodent inspector" the city had going from yard to yard who was planting bait boxes in the yards with signs of active rodents. He said that the rats would tend to go to places away from their living areas to die. Joy. Knowing that they aren't like our sweet pet rats doesn't make it easier seeing one dead in the yard, for sure.

If you don't see any signs of active rats (pathways along the fence line or even across the yard, droppings, nests), I wouldn't worry too much.

And with the fence, We have a 6 ft privacy fence on two sides and a 4 ft one in the back. We often see really LARGE rabbits coming from tiny little spots that wouldn't even be visible as being "dug" if nothing was coming through them. I think even a concrete fortress can't prevent some animals from going where they want!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 9:29PM
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Regarding your rat... is it possible a neighbor has set out bait for a rat problem and this one happened to die in your yard? I recently had to have pest control come to my house and bait. I warned my neighbor who also has a pool that there might be dead ones sround. They go looking for water and often end up dead in the pool.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 9:33PM
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My vote is that when your dogs were away this past weekend, some cats decided to have a party in your back yard. Someone left an offering for you - right on your doorstep so you would be sure to notice it. Dead rodents are a sign of love. They're good eatin' and whatever cat left it sure would like a compliment from you for a job well done!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 6:17AM
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about three years ago i went through an episode where we awoke to find a dead rat, mouse or garter snake on the back step almost daily for about two weeks.

At first i thought maybe i had a weird neighbor but such was not the case.

After spending two nights sitting up all night watching I discovered that there was a feral cat that was living under our shed, and that cat was depositing those creatures there as if to show off his hunting skills, or perhaps as a piece offering in hopes i would take him in.

I called animal control and they caught the cat and took it away and the problem was solved.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2007 at 11:46PM
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When we had indoor cats, they could not catch us mice. So they caught us spiders and flies. And sometimes when DH went to bed, he would find the chewed up dead bugs on his pillow at night at an offering!!! EEEWWW.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2007 at 10:11AM
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Maybe a cat killed it and dragged it there. Do you see cats around your home?

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 5:26PM
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It may have died from rabies. I recently had a raccoon decide to crawl up on my back patio and die. We watched it for a hour or so and then I called animal control. They told me that because it was not in the house and it appeared to have rabies the police would have to come and shoot it. Which they did. The officer told me to bury the animal at least a foot deep and place a large rock over the grave. I did. A month later something moved the rock and dug up the coon and took it away

    Bookmark   October 5, 2007 at 11:29AM
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I go along with a cat or dog deposited it there. I have had several cats and if they ever managed to catch a mouse or chipmunk they would proudly deposit it on the steps to display their prowness or maybe as a gift.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2007 at 11:09AM
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Some cats are gracious.

My two would just play with mice till they were dead and leave them wherever. On the other hand, they could never seem to successfully swat cockroaches; so they'd eat them. Not fussy eaters.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2007 at 7:03PM
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Lazypup---if that cat was finding these things on your property and killing them, you shouldn't have called Animal Control! I know that snakes are beneficial, but who really wants to deal with seeing them? Mice? Geez, that cat was doing you a big favor!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 4:26PM
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I think it was either poisoned or deposited or else you have a nut in the neighborhood. No really, probably just sick from poison and happened to die on your step or you have a cat courting you. LOL

    Bookmark   October 20, 2007 at 8:42PM
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wldcard, you should always bury something like that 3 to 4 feet deep, if not more.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2007 at 10:06PM
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Would the animal that pulled up the rabid raccoon catch rabies from the three week old carcass?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 11:45AM
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Thatgirl, I agree with time2sell, cat's are creatures that love to gift you. I would bet that a cat brought this rat to your doorstep, showing you that he did a great dead on your behalf! That is how cats operate, this cat has a fondness for you family, perhaps your children, or you may have given it some attention. Next time you see the cat, be sure and praise him, he may not show acknowledment, but he will be gleaming on the inside! And, possibly will gift you again.

I would look at it this way, the cat takes care of it, just one less thing I have to do!!! Goodluck!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2007 at 11:52PM
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For Lucy: I live in the country, and have caught mice and other little things and taken them down the road and turned them out. I am sure the owls and hawks loved me for doing that.

We have an abundance of tree squirrels. They go in our barn, and chew through the wood that covers the top of our feed bin. Once inside, all feed is contaminated. It gets expensive and we are not going to share that feed with our horses. You can catch them, and be sweet and take them down the road or where ever. Turn your back, and there are a dozen more to take their place, plus the darn things come back!!! We have no problem doing away with them, they torment our dogs, and cause mountains of other problems. I used to think they were cute sweet little creatures, now when I see them, I think..damage,money,work, time....byebye squirrels!!!!!!

I'm all for conservation, but if they were in someone else's back yard wreaking havoc, the tables would be turned and others might end up agreeing.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 12:00AM
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29, now 30 responses to one dead rat! There are more rats that people. Move on.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2007 at 9:24AM
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