A Tale of a Rat

So, as I Facebooked about it frequently, sent numerous terrified texts and basically talked about nothing else for at least 48 hours, it should come as a surprise to no one that upon moving into our lovely new flat we discovered we had a rat.

I’m scared of pretty much everything, be it getting on a plane, cycling anywhere outside the safe, pedestrian confines of a park, public speaking, crossing busy roads without the aid of a well followed zebra or pedestrian crossing and, as it turns out, rats!  To be fair, I’d always known that I wasn’t a fan of rodents – a hysterical, screaming phonecall I made to my Granddad whilst clutching my flatmates and standing on my bed in my first mouse-ridden student flat is testament to that, but even I was surprised at the absolute terror I felt when I sauntered to the bathroom on our second evening in our Chengdu flat to to find the remains of an excavated tunnel all over the kitchen floor (weirdly our bathroom comes off the kitchen).  The scene looked something like this:

Me: (Screech to a halt, immediately stand only on tip toes hovering outside the kitchen whilst squinting furiously at the floor…several confused seconds pass like this) OH MY GOD JOE, JOE something has been in the kitchen!!!

Joe: (Relatively calm and collected) Ooooookkkkaaaayy, well let’s just block the hole back up.

Me: We need to look in the bathroom, it might be in the bathroom (Refuses to move from safe perch outside the kitchen/bathroom area.  Arms self with broom just in case)

Joe: (Bravely looks in the bathroom) It’s not in the bathroom, it’s OK (Plugs hole back up with feeble pebbles and dust)

Me: I don’t care, I am never going to the toilet in here again…….Maybe it’s just a mouse, could be just a mouse, I wouldn’t mind a mouse so much (Googles ‘mouse vs rat poo’ and concludes that the evidence proves it’s definitely a rat.  Suppresses terrified screams and texts mother and sisters immediately to tell them about rat)

(Back in bed) Me: WHAT WAS THAT NOISE?!!

Joe: That was me moving my feet, it’s not the rat.

Me: WAS THAT YOU MOVING AGAIN?!!

Joe: Yes, calm down, the rat is not in the bedroom.

Me: STOP MOVING YOUR FEET….JOE was that you again?! (this bedroom conversation was repeated in much the same way for the next few nights!)

The next couple of days were full of rat related angst on my part.  The following morning I point blank refused to get out of bed until Joe valiantly checked that the coast was clear.  It was but the rat had clearly been having a great time throughout the night skipping around our bathroom and kitchen.  So following what is probably the world’s quickest shower as I huddled as far from the rat’s entrance as possible, we headed out to declare war on the rat.  First up was wire wool – numerous Google searches had stated that this was the only thing that these rodents can’t chew through so we stocked up on scourers at Carrefour. Then there was the killing apparatus.  I was full of grand plans to tip as many packets of rat poison as I could get my hands on down the tunnel to annihilate any and all would be visitors.  Unfortunately, poison is rather difficult to get a hold of here due to a spate of deliberate human poisonings that have taken place across China in recent times – the most publicised being when a nursery put rat poison in the milk of children attending a rival institution to try and poach the kids.  So unable to poison them I settled on a fairly lethal looking rat trap which helpfully came pre-baited with a monkey nut!

Having plugged the hole with as many scourers as we could fit, I felt marginally more confident that I could walk around the flat without the risk of stumbling across some sort of mutant rodent preying on me in the kitchen  This didn’t stop me turning any and all conversations with Joe into being about the rat.

Joe: The weather is nice today

Me: Yes, it is.  You know what’s not nice…the RAT!  I hate the rat.

Joe: What do you fancy for dinner?

Me: WHAT?!!!  Did you just say you heard the rat?!

And so on…

The following morning, I again made Joe get up first to check the coast was clear.  Turns out it was, of sorts.  Sadly our wire wool barricade had not been enough and the rat had still managed to plough on through.  However, as it was (I imagine) arrogantly skipping around our kitchen and trying to destroy yet more of our skirting it became dangerously distracted by a delicious looking monkey nut.  And thus met its maker in the jaws of the trap.  Having heard Joe rustling around a lot in the kitchen I suspected all was not well and like any supportive girlfriend would, hid in the bedroom for several minutes.  Once I plucked up the courage to leave the room, Joe had heroically disposed of the corpse and cleaned up the kitchen – my actual saviour.

The death of the intruder was still not quite enough for my frayed nerves so we looked up the words for silicon sealant and headed for the nearest hardware shop where by some miracle, the owner knew what we were talking about.  Wire wool was re-stuffed and then reinforced by lashings of sealant.  And so far, this seems to have worked out!  Two weeks in and we are rat free.  Sure, I see them racing around our complex’s outside area, running free among the numerous cats where they belong but none have dared to venture into our little home.  All foodstuffs remain under lock and key, sealed in tupperware and the trap remains baited just in case though!

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