darkpixie
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Rats Nest

Hey guys, long time lurker, used to have an account but can't remember my details...

Recently rented a place with a backyard and I am back in the gardening game.

Currently we are trying to reclaim the backyard and whilst digging up some blackberries and morning glory we stumbled upon an unattended rats nest with 7 babies, I'd be surprised if they were more than a couple days old...

Unfortunately the prairie girl in me kicked in and my BF drowned them, cause neither of us wanted them to die of starvation but I can't help but feel terribly guilty. (mind you we don't want them starting an army in our backyard either)

Did we do the right thing? I searched all over the local SPCA site and they have ZERO information about this sort of thing.

I'm betting there is more where that came from cause the backyard is an unattended disaster...

DoubleDogFarm
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This is always a touchy subject and we lost one of our members from a similar subject. Rabbits.

Drowning is one way. Car exhaust pumped into a metal can is another

Eric

darkpixie
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Yeah... unfortunately my 16 year old was home... she won't talk to me now :(

I must say though that rats are pretty much the only wildlife I mind sharing space with.

If i found bunnies or even skunks i'd be doing what I could to save them... I'm weird that way...

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Kisal
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Depending on their age (pinkies, for instance?) pet stores usually appreciate having them because they need them to feed to the larger snakes and other reptiles.

"Disposing" of animals like rats is never a "fun" thing to do, but I raised them specifically to use to train my rehabbed predators how to catch and kill small rodents, and that once the rodent was dead, it was "food". It was the only way I could be sure they wouldn't starve after I released them back in the wild.

I gave the older rats and mice to the Raptor Center in our area, where they were needed to feed the owls, hawks and eagles. I let them do the killing, though, because they just held the rodent in one hand and whacked its head against the edge of the counter top. It takes some practice, and I never quite got the hang of it, but it's a quick pain-free death. Then they stored them in the freezer ... we laughed and teased them about their freezer full of ratsicles and mousesicles. :lol:

So, rodents of all ages are one of the main sources of food for the predators of the world. There's nothing at all wrong with using them for that purpose, since it's the way the natural world operates.

Yes, IMO, you were right to destroy the rats, but they could have gone to a good use, rather that being wasted. In my perception, it's one of the purposes small rodents serve here on earth. Just a thought. :)

( LMFAO I just realized I'm listening to a documentary on another site that is describing the development of the human dentition and gut! :roll: )
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

darkpixie
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Location: Burnaby, BC

Great feedback! I suspect there are more where those came from, so I will try to find a store in my area that carries such things... It does seem though that in our area the kind of pet stores that could use these things are going extinct!

In terms of predators there really aren't any in the back yard, it is fenced and the Landlord does not allow outdoor cats:( If he did I'd find myself a nice feral kitty and unleash him on these things!

darkpixie
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PS. Yup they were pinkies

cynthia_h
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Do you have a friend with a Cairn or Border Terrier, or other Terrier breed that was originally used as a vermin catcher? See if said friend will come over for an afternoon with his/her dog to alert you to the presence (or absence) of other nests.

Don't be surprised if the Terrier takes things into his/her own paws, though; their instincts are very strong. They were bred for hundreds of years for just this purpose: find vermin, let people know where they are, and destroy them.

(Or, of course, you can look around for a wildlife rehabilitation facility and ask them what their protocols are; maybe they have live traps?)

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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Kisal
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An ad in the newspaper might turn up local people who keep pet reptiles. They might even be willing to collect the rats themselves, or pay you a small amount of money for each one.

And I agree with Cynthia about the terriers. Watching one of these little dogs go after small rodents is an amazing experience. They're really quite skilled at this chore, which is extremely important on farms and ranches where grains are stored. I respect all the working dogs so much! :)

I had rats and mice that nested in my compost piles. Every time I would go out to turn the piles, all of my cats -- I think I had accrued 5 by that time -- would follow me out and stand and wait for the circus to begin! Boy, they sure had a good time, but I just left it all to them. They knew how to do their jobs. ;)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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