The local rats have picked my balcony as their bathroom. I have no idea why. It started a couple years ago after I created a beautiful little zen garden for myself out there. It is a lovely sanctuary and I guess for the rats, a stunning bathroom. You would never know my place looks out onto a back alley with overflowing dumpsters, the first floor suites below me have lush, treed, fenced in patios.
Sitting in my living room, gazing at my pretty new view out my sliding doors, I would occasionally see a rat streak across my railing – on its way to a meal of dog food left outside at the next apartment perhaps. Or a birdseed snack or nice crusty barbeque tidbit. I would find rat poo all over my lovely tatami mats in the morning. And once a place has the scent of a bathroom, well always a bathroom I guess.
When I worked at the compost garden, I had people to deal with this problem. That is my boss dealt with all rodents. I had the don’t tell me, don’t know policy about it. In my book, I give plenty of tips on keeping rats out of your compost bin, but not a word of advice to help me with this little problem.
I finally had to call the Rat Man. I’ve had a bait box on my balcony ever since. He put them in the alley too and on other balconies and patios. He checks the boxes once a month and restocks it when required. Sometimes it’s fully intact, but other times its completely gobbled. Yesterday he told me mice had visited too (he found their much smaller droppings).
But even when there’s no evidence, the rats are never really gone, my rat man tells me. There’s always more where they came from. Sooner or later a station wagon full of them pulls up, he says, and well, after a long drive, they need to use the bathroom.