Thursday, November 7, 2013

We've been DRIVEN OUT!

I'm going to spare you all and not post the ugly photo. Or at least the ugly half, which I've cropped out.

I'm having critter issues again.  Andy Baird wrote me that putting out all the seed for the birds and squirrels might not be such a good idea, considering all the problems I've had with rodents in the rig.  Good thought.  I brought in the seed feeder and water bowl, in fact, I put them in a bag and threw them in the dumpster.  THEN...

Having been so ridiculously proud of my engine's LED lighting each night when I plugged them in, I was appropriately devastated Tuesday morning when I went outside to check the engine and saw they had been chewed.  Just like old Christmas tree light strings, I had light for the first two feet or so until the break, and the entire line past that was dark.

At first I thought it was the squirrels that had gotten into my engine since I took away their seed, but last Tuesday night I found out otherwise. Rats!  Literally.

Tuesday night Katie heard something and let me know and I went out in the dark with a flashlight.  I lifted the engine hood and saw a huge rodent trying to get away.  All I could see was his tail stuck to the glue trap and his huge back feet bracing against the engine trying to get loose.  The rest of his body was down in the engine trying to jump to the ground.  This was not a mouse.

I ran to the door to get my "grabber," and ran back to the engine.  I was going to grab that glue trap and toss it away.  Unfortunately, when I got back the rat was gone, but left me part of his tail as a gift.  Yuk!  (That's the cropped part of the next two photos.  I figured you wouldn't want to see the piece of tail, no pun intended.  Again, Yuk!)  He had also eaten most of the dCon that I had attached to the engine with double-sided tape.  I was hoping he would just go away and die, but no, I'm figuring it was the same one, just not dead yet.

I went on-line and ordered two new rodent deterrents.  One is animal urine soaked crystals that are spread around and the rodents will smell the urine of their predator and stay away. The other is a kind of spray.  

Then last night he was back.  This is what I found this morning.

He totally ripped open the dCon package to get all the pellets out.  GOOD!

So, I'm sitting here thinking about it, and wondering why I'm spending all this money on rodent stuff and waiting until it gets here.  The Palms must be as sweet to rodents as it is to me.  They just keep coming... but I don't think this is a war I'm going to win.   I decided to move.

I don't want to be too far from the trash dumpsters because Katie and I have to walk there every day with our trash bag, so I packed everything up, filled the fresh water tank, dumped the other two and then drove around looking for a new site.  I drove all over the place on both sides of the main road and ended up just one "block" over from my old site.  I'm alongside the next wash right on the same road.  I really like our new site, maybe even more than the other one.

We have a little "living room" again.

It gets great shade until late in the afternoon.  And I've hung my hummingbird feeders on that tree, great line of site out my dinette window for photos. Even a little Saguaro Cactus!

I need to rake the area, there is some black stuff on the dirt that's probably been blown over from the firepit.  Don't need to be tracking that inside.  Then, assuming no rodents, we'll be settled again.

I can see my old site across the desert to the next wash and through it's trees and hope the critters don't follow me here.  I put out a new sticky trap and dCon this evening and left my hood open a bit so I can look in quickly if Katie and I hear noises, but I'm thinking positively.  :)

This was our eastern sky this evening as the sun was setting:

The photo below is what I see out my front window - until someone parks in that spot.  It's just to the left of the setting sun - the bushes, trees and cactus are in the next wash over in front of us.  So pretty here in the desert at sunset.

From me and Katie, have a great Thursday evening, everyone!  :)


  1. I don't bother with d-con as far as I'm concerned it just doesn't work. ACE sells Bar Bate. A small amount will kill those nasty things. But since you no longer will be feeding the critters you maybe OK. Good Luck

  2. So sorry you are having trouble with mice! I know you love seeing and taking photos of the birds and critters. I don't know if I could do without seeing them. I had read somewhere, to leave the hood up and they won't go in there. You might be inviting them in with the dcon. We tried Cap Fresh, for the first time and it seems to work. They don't like the smell of it. Good luck! Beautiful sunset photos!!

  3. What a bother...hope they take the hint that they are not wanted! So now you can't feed the birds?

  4. Thank goodness your home as wheels and you can move out of there. Goodbye Rats!

  5. Your sunset pictures are gorgeous. I love sunset/sunrise.

    I just read a blog that had these little sonic things for the rats. You might want to try them. Here is the blog:

    And here they are at Amazon:

    Good luck!!

  6. Becky, I actually have two ultrasonic gadgets, but I'm not hooked up. I bought a pack of three last year and when I had the inverter on, I plugged one into the A/C outlet. It burned out the gadget, so I think I have to be plugged in for them to work. Thanks, though, for the suggestion. I wish I could use them! :)

  7. I never had any luck at all with dCon. You need something much stronger. Be careful because I've had squirrels or some rodent chew the wires to my ignition, as well as my fuel line. The mechanic told me to park somewhere else because once they start they will keep coming back. I hope your moving will help.

  8. That last sunset picture is simply gorgeous. Glad you are enjoying the desert. Hope your unwanted visitors stay away.

  9. When I worked at a wildlife refuge, we all kept the hoods of our RV's/trucks opened at night. And also used lights under the RV and shining into the engine. I bought a floodlight that had a rechargeable battery and also had some solar lights that I used, too. They are probably attracted to the bird seed, maybe even Katie's dog food. I hope that moving around will keep them away.

  10. Oh no - rats are not a good thing. I sure hope they don't follow you but if you moved farther away from the trash, maybe they will stay there.

  11. I wonder if you got a solar motion detection lite (I know they have them for back porches) that way when the RAT moves it turns on the light... hopefully frightening it away. You could move it to get sun during the day and poised to shine a light on a big fat rat!! Worth a thought!!

  12. I'm not going to comment on your 'situation' 'cause my fingers are crossed that I'll hear a GOOD report tomorrow morning.

    You DO always find the nicest spots though. It's down right cosy where you are.

    I LOVE the desert !!

  13. I've often wanted to put out bird feeders when we're camped somewhere for a while but never have because I know that mice/rats love bird seed. I hate those nasty buggers.

  14. My husband has old cars and has had great success with mothballs in the cars, which he airs out before he uses them, BUT, I have a conversion van and I put the mothballs in an oleo dish with a rock in them UNDER my van so the inside remains odorless but the odor outside seems to deter them. I don't know how far away from your RV you would have to put your chairs to avoid the odor...Good Luck.

  15. We had field mice in the basement last year. Tried the usual common remedies (snap traps with peanut butter, bait traps, etc.). What worked? My own recipe of an Altoid mint on a sticky tray. I hate sticky trays, but it was us or them. Don't know if it will work for rats, as they are much bigger, the mice had a yummy snack and left this world with minty breath. Hope your change of scenery does the trick!

  16. I am so sorry you're having such a problem. We keep bird feeders out too...and so far no critters....

    Good luck.

  17. Well, there goes the neighborhood. Ugh! The new homestead looks so nice!

  18. Why is it that most of us can tolerate a lot of annoying little problems but mice and rats make us all crazy.

    We did good all summer long without any critters but the day before yesterday we found our first evidence of visitors.

    The Forest Service uses a product they call One Bit which is a lot stronger than DCON or most of the consumer products. I have started putting THAT out and I need to get out our traps. I hate dealing with the spring traps -- which have always worked for us -- only because I hate dealing with the DEAD mice. But then a dead mouse is better than a live one. :-) :-)

    A retired photographer looks at life from behind an RV steering wheel.
    Life Unscripted

  19. I wonder if you parked over a rat hole. I think that when we get to Q, I will be scoping out the ground before we park.

    It does look as if you have a prime spot now.

  20. I think it was the bird seed. They probably like to be near the trash, and found the seed even easier. It is a constant battle in some places.

  21. Brought to my attention by an Australian exterminator who uses it exclusively for rodents, a strong dose of peppermint oil will get rid of them (both rats/mice, haven't tried for squirrels--dogs do that) without being toxic for Katie, you, or other critters. In fact, not toxic to them but they dislike it. I had a bad problem in a rental house with rats and the neighbors all had rats which didn't help, but peppermint oil did the trick...has to be enough for humans to clearly smell in the beginning but for "maintenance" I just use a few drops now along the outside perimeter and that's doing it nicely except for one house that's in a bad spot and that one I spray a micro-mist around the perimeter inside (has a basement)once a month. Neighbors decline to take it seriously and continue to invest hundreds of $/yr in baits & exterminators (not to mention the wasted goods) but still have the rats (I figure "mine" went over there, but...). For a total of about $45/year I'm able to have 2 dwellings (including mobile), 2 rental houses, 2 vehicles, and several sheds critter-free without hazard to the grandkidlets, renters, or the many 4-leggers we cotton to. A few drops on each of several cotton balls left in strategic spots will do. Peppermint, not any other mint.

  22. Unknown - thanks for your comment, but... I've decided different rats, mice, squirrels, etc. like and dislike different things.

    I've used just about everything I've read about. Including Mint Extract Oil. I had some cotton balls saturated with the oil and put six of them in the engine last week. Four were on flat surfaces and two were under or inside something where they were harder to get out. I also dropped some oil onto the Fresh Cab, why not, right? The next morning four of the cotton balls were gone and one of the Fresh Cab packets was chewed open and some of the inside cedar, etc. was gone. The next morning one of the other cotton balls was gone, and I threw away the last one. The mint seemed to ATTRACT whatever was in my engine. Whether they were eating it or taking it somewhere for nesting, they wanted it. Works for the house, not for the engine. Go figure. :(

  23. Um, today probably wasn't an appropriate day for me to post a cute video of a rodent...hopefully you have no more rat issues!

  24. " The next morning one of the other cotton balls was gone, and I threw away the last one."
    Chuckle. That's rats, for sure. Mice don't much bother with moving things but rats will tote anything they don't want out of the path. We put some mothballs down a slew of rat holes in the ground once, thinking we had that problem licked. Next morning went to the barn to get the mowing started and right beside each rat hole was perched a nice white moth we put 'em back down and followed each one with a kettle of boiling water. That did it but I wouldn't do it now--too toxic. You'll need them where they can't be easily moved. I have put them out in clamped SS "tea balls" and wired them down by the chain, but in the beginning they even managed to dislodge a few of those. Cunning critters. So we learned to really soak the cotton balls in the beginning so they reeked. And extract won't do it, has to be straight peppermint essential oil...esp no other mint oils as some of them they don't mind, like spearmint. But you'll find something that works.

    Maybe I need to bring you a ratter (Bedlington terrier)? He & his Affenpinscher buddy got 26 rats in 20 min at the town pier last week....but not really allowed to work indoors since he tears up jack trying to get at the critters. Sarah

  25. Yuck! I detest rats...we had a few on the farm but Dad was pretty liberal with the rat poison. He didn't worry about the rest of the food chain.

    I hope your new spot will be rat-free. Gorgeous photos of the sunset!

  26. I had a huge packrat while I was camp hosting up in Central Oregon. I removed his nest and he just kept coming back. Finally I bought a couple of small Halogen hanging lights and opened my hood at night and left the lights on. Within a few days it was gone. They hate light.


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