Thursday, May 5, 2011

Rat "Blows In" with Auckland Tornado

I had an interesting enquiry from a home owner in Auckland's North Shore along with a series of great photos. Graham sat at his kitchen window shortly after the tornado that devastated parts of Albany and watched a young Norway rat sitting in a fern stump for 10 minutes before making a get away.

It is possible that the heavy rain the accompanied the tornado flushed the rat out of its burrow. Norway rats, sometimes referred to as brown rats, water rats or sewer rats, normally live in burrows, often near river banks or sewers. So rising water can flush them out. It’s cousin the Black rat (aka roof rat, ship rat) is arboreal and lives more in trees and high places such roof spaces.

The pale colour of this rat is not uncommon, the Norway rat can vary from dark grey to even paler than this individual. The very pale underside is the easy way to differentiate Norway from Black rats.

Graham said the rat slowly walked down the fern stump and he was amazed how agile it was. Norway rats are good climbers as can be seen by these photos, but they are not as good as Roof rats. It is good advice to make sure trees and vegetation do not lead to your roof. Rats and mice will readily climb  a tree and drop down onto a roof where they are likely to find a way in at the eaves.

I suggested Graham set some bait out for this rat and his friends.

NO Rats & Mice weatherproof blocks would be most suitable. Use short lengths of pipe such as spouting down pipe approx 60cm long. Place the bait in the middle in a plastic bag and secured by a piece of wire or nail through the pipe. Rats and mice will happily eat through the plastic bag and the bag will keep the bait in place and fresh for longer. The bait tunnel should be placed securely against a wall or where rats have been seen travelling. Rats prefer to be in enclosed spaces and the tunnel will protect the bait and keep pets and birds out. Check and replace bait regularly and continue until no more bait is taken.

Thank you to Graham for letting me use his great series of photos.

Did you hear about the dyslexic rats?
Each thought they were a star.

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