Very. Bad. Rats.

The rats are driving us nuts. They refuse to get up and interact with us at any kind of a reasonable hour (i.e., before 11:00 pm or so). As soon as we try to go to sleep, they start banging the cage and making the most terrible racket from downstairs, which I am sure is loud enough for the neighbours to hear. I got up, and tried to bribe them with nuts. Tried to go back to sleep. Woke up again to something that sounded like gnomes demolishing a wall coming from downstairs. Woke Phil (misery loves company), stomped downstairs angrily and tried to pad the cage with newspapers so they couldn’t shake it so badly. No such luck. Got up, let them out to play, and sat drinking scotch until 2:30 am. I am tired and VERY cranky today.

Oh, and once last night I looked up from my book to see Aja’s ass wiggling, tail hanging down, as she tried to wedge her fat body over the flue into the inside of the fireplace. I jumped up, grabbed her tail, and tried to drag her out. These are very large, very strong animals – I wasn’t having much luck, aside from refusing to let go, which put us at a stalemate. I tried to pull her hind legs, but they felt too breakable to really pull on. I finally pulled her down far enough to break her hold on the edge of the flue or damper or whatever it was, whereupon she turned on me and bit me. Fair enough, no hard feelings – I figured I couldn’t blame her.

At that point, however, I herded them back into the cage. Any thoughts on how to keep a steel dog cage from rattling? I kept reminding them that people raise them for meat in Africa, and at that wee hour of the morning BBQ’d rat was looking pretty damn good. Little bastards.

9 thoughts on “Very. Bad. Rats.”

  1. wandringsoul

    The only thing that’s occurred to me is that if it’s the bars they’re chewing, we ‘line’ around the cage (up to their head height) with wood…it would stop them getting a grip on the bars, and if they chewed it it would be quieter…

  2. What is it they are rattling? If it is the entire cage or the door then maybe putting rubber feet on and tightening the door will help. Other than that I guess lots of layers of carpet under them, Bookshelves against walls sound travels theough and a heavy curtain behind the door.

  3. dryadmeagenn

    Hmmm, well, nothing you use for padding should be harmful to them when they chew on it… some of those interlocking rubber padding squares they use in play-rooms might help. Makes ya wonder about feeding THEM a few drops of that scotch, though…

    What are the chances of covering their cage putting them to sleep like a bird? And if not that, then how about a light over their cage (reverse of the covering.)?

  4. They’re decidely nocturnal – but also don’t react to light or dark as a trigger, they’re more than happy to bounce about the front room at 2 am regardless of whether the light’s on or not…in fact they like nothing more than to clamber up to the windowsill and run back and forth under the orange glow of the streetlamp trying to scare the bejeebers out of any unlucky sod who happens to be passing…

    They have incredible teeth tho – easily chewing their way into a whole coconut we dropped in their cage…and apparently wire mesh also poses no problem – hence the dog cage. They don’t actually rattle the cage, they gnaw on the bars…as a ‘we want out’ kind of statement…and it’s this sound/vibration that carries so well. Thick padding under the cage seems to have little effect…4×3 feet of steel cage makes rather a good amplifier for the vibration…

  5. dryadmeagenn

    You are calling them “rats”–are they actually pet rats or are they ferrets? (Tricksy little critters!)

    How about keeping them awake all day and only letting them alone to sleep late at night? Rough on you for a few days, but if it can change their nocturnal habits…? Or letting them out to play early in the evening, then locking them back up by 10 or 11 so you can go to bed?

    And if that doesn’t work, how about making a box of those acoustic tiles like the ones used in sound recording studios–enough larger than the cage so that they can’t reach it to chew on–and with the tiles facing IN towards them. Then when you want to go to bed, you drop or set the box up over them. (depending on how you make it–hinged might make storage easier.) Let them live with their own noise.

    I can get real creative with ideas when I need to–LOL.

  6. wandringsoul

    Oh no – these are rats. Giant rats – two feet long from head to tail. We have 3 ferrets at the bottom of the garden…you should have a browse through M’s posts to see some pics…

    They’re actually giant African Pouched Rats and aren’t as domesticated as your average hand-reared ferret or fancy rat…and with a rat that big comes teeth THIS big…hence the noise level. They chirp and squeak like parrots, and buzz and hum like Gizmo from Gremlins…very odd creatures, with fixations…ie – if they want to get somewhere, they’ll get somewhere! When M talks about grabbing ones tail to pull it from climbing the chimney, we’re talking about a tail as thick at the base as your forefinger…

  7. Yup, that’s definitely a rat. With a gorgeous fur coat. I’ve got a couple of friends here that keep rats as pets, but I don’t get the impression they’re that big. I remember ferrets being mentioned in a previous post, hence the query.

    Looks like an acoustic tiled box may be the easiest solution….

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