Around here, my mom has a reputation as being the go-to person when you have a problem with wildlife, and when I’m around, I often get roped into it. I have a very specific specialty, though. My specialty is toilet rats.
Every once in a while, rats come up through the sewers and crawl their way into people’s toilets. Nobody likes this, and nobody really knows what to do about it when it happens. A couple years ago, my neighbor Martha had a rat in her toilet and called my house. Her boyfriend wanted to try to kill it with a 2×4, which I was pretty sure would result in a cracked toilet and a very angry rat escaping into the house. So I volunteered to get it out. My mom and I rigged up a catching tool, made of a plastic container with a screw-top lid and a duct tape handle. I nudged the rat into the container with a wire clothes hanger, popped the lid on, and we drove it down to the woods and let it go. The same thing happened again a few days later, but no more rats since then, until yesterday.
Last night, around 11:00, as I was about to go to bed, our neighbor Laurie called to say there was a rat in her toilet. She actually didn’t know that I’d caught any before, and she was wondering if maybe my dad would be able to get it out. My mom and I went over with the rat catcher, and I got it out. This rat was the stupidest animal on earth and wouldn’t get in the container. It just kept squeaking and thrashing around. It was really irritating, but I managed to catch it. We drove it down to the meadows, and dumped it out.
There must have been something in the air last night, because all the animals were acting like idiots. It was a raining a little bit, and there were all these frogs in the road enjoying the water. We didn’t want to run over them, so my mom and I kept getting out of the car to shoo them away. The frogs wouldn’t move though. We jumped up and down, yelled at them, pounced towards them, and they wouldn’t flinch. I went up to one and touched it on the face, and it didn’t budge. So since they weren’t going anywhere, we gave up and drove around them.
For the record, Seattle has a big rat problem, profiled on the cover of the Seattle Weekly recently. Since in the city, you can’t catch a rat and take it down to the woods, the Seattle Department of Vermin or whatever recommends that if a rat shows up in your toilet, you squirt a bunch of dish soap in the bowl to slick up the sides, then flush it back down. The slippery soap should make it hard to crawl right back up, which is usually the problem with trying to flush them, and hopefully the rat will go back down to the sewers. Since we had the catch-and-release option last night, though, I figured that was a more sure-fire way to make it go away for good.
I’m a rat hero! Hooray!