Thursday, December 08, 2005

Rogue Rat

A while ago I mentioned I had read somewhere that pure peppermint oil repels rats. It can't be peppermint extract, as that makes them drunk. I really do not need a passel of drunken rats cavorting and carrying on in the basement, playing hide and fart in the canned goods.

As it is, dead sober, our clan of cellar-rats recently ravaged a 50 lb. bag of dog food that was 7' high on top of a cabinet. When it was too empty to hold them for group snack-time, they threw the bag on the floor to let me know they were ready for a refill.

Finally, fed up with their demands, I went in search of peppermint oil. I could not find any peppermint oil in town, and got some damn peculiar looks when I asked for it from local merchants. So I had to go online for my quest. Apparently it is some kind of LaLaLand fad vitamin supplement for humans, so it cost an extravagent $15 for three teeny bottles.

My partner, B, trudged to the basement with a wad of cotton balls, and the peppermint oil, and set oil-soaked cotton balls in all of the locations where the rats were partying their heartiest. Now every time I open the basement door it smells like a gum factory down there.

After 2 days, the new crop of rat-droppings dropped down to a minimum, i.e. there was evidence of only one rebellious rat instead of the usual mob of 20+. Okay, fine.

My 120 lb. shepherd mix, Leo, greeted the disappearance of his sporting rodent chums with consternation. Where were his tailed toys? What happened to all the scurrying, squeaking,and scampering critters? He searched frantically in every nook and cranny, and shook his head in dismay.

But then, Leo had a ray of hope. He discovered the rogue rat lurking in the canned goods, right next to a cotton ball soaked with enough peppermint oil to give him the rodent equivalent of a migraine. Leo smiled and lunged, and the rogue rat stood up on his hind legs, ready to leap out and remove Leo's eyebrows. I grabbed Leo by his collar and hauled him back before the battle could commence, and I think they were both highly disappointed.

So peppermint oil really does work to get rid of rats, for the most part. The remaining rat, who has now been christened Ratilla, gets to stay. I can live with one rat ... I just think of him as having a very large cage.

Astoria Photografpix

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