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Pack Rat in Barn? HELP!

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  • Pack Rat in Barn? HELP!

    I think a pack rat has moved into the feed room of the barn but I'm not entirely sure since nobody has seen the creature. We only see all the crap that the rat collects and piles behind the feed tubs. This thing is collecting everything from strips of insulation to screw drivers, pipe pieces, pens, screws, and even stole a few Smartpaks, brushes, syringes, and needles! I clean out the "nest" every morning but every day there is a collection of new items the rat has found in the barn and brought to his nest. My dog has indicated that it might be under the feed living in the wooden palette, but I have not moved the feed bags yet to investigate.

    How does one get rid of a Pack Rat - assuming that is what it is? Someone I know suggested that poison is the only way to get rid of it, but I am worried one of the dogs 1) might eat some poison and die or 2) eat the rat/mice that have been poisoned and die. Can dogs get poisoned from eating poisoned rats/mice? I'm not sure because I never use poison for pest control.

    Do traps work on Pack Rats? Or those electric zappers?
    Most friendships in the horse world are just an opinion away from doom.

  • #2
    I don't use poisons because of my pets though some will tell you differently. A large sticky board might do the job.

    I have to say though...I didn't realize there were such creature for real though! Its kind of humorous...wonder what he plans to do with it all?
    "My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sunlight and nicker to me in the night"


    • #3
      I use poison for mice. You get these hard plastic things with screw down lids that you put the bait inside. The mice go in, eat it and then leave to look for water. They die. Our dogs have never touched a dead one yet or if they have, then the dogs are just fine. We have 3 live in the barn (dogs that is!). Thoroughly recommend the poison route, works really well!

      Ours is a bit like the bait station on this page http://www.pestcontrol-products.com/rodent/


      • #4
        Get a live trap. Make sure it is set EXTREMELY sensitive, so the door springs if you LOOK at it practically. Pack rats are very smart and ours was outsmarting every trap we tried til someone told us about setting the trap that way. We finally caught ours, and then my husband (gulp) drowned him. I hated it, but they are so distructive; and will literally eat EVERYTHING. Poison is just too dangerous, IMO


        • #5
          why make a frown face when your husband drowned him? Did you disapprove of that, and if so, what did you do about it?
          Personally, I think there are more humane and noble ways to dispense of an animal than drowning. Sorry, but no sympathy here towards your frown face.
          save lives...spay/neuter/geld


          • #6
            What harm is it doing, exactly? If it's not chewing on your tack, why not just leave it alone?
            I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry


            • #7
              OMG! I thought you were going to talk about a boarder who hauled all their accumulated crap into your barn! I think there are more than a few of us out there.

              That being said, I had heard about real pack rats, but have never encountered any or heard anyone I knew have any experiences with them.


              • #8
                didn't know they were real google them they look like hamsters. cute!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by fivehorses View Post
                  why make a frown face when your husband drowned him? Did you disapprove of that, and if so, what did you do about it?
                  Personally, I think there are more humane and noble ways to dispense of an animal than drowning. Sorry, but no sympathy here towards your frown face.
                  I agree. If it bothered you that much that he drowned him (which is a horrible way to die btw, the poor rat) then next time get a regular trap that will snap and kill him or whack him with a shovel or something. Don't torture the poor thing to death.
                  "Perhaps the final test of anybody's love of dogs is their willingness to permit them to make a camping ground of the bed" -Henry T. Merwin


                  • #10
                    First things first, get rid of feed bags sitting on that pallet. Put any food away where critters can't get to it. Feed in metal trash cans, Secure supplements so they can't be broken into, and keep horsey (+ cat/dog) eating areas clean. If you make it really hard to find something to eat, your place looks less appealing. Throw away all trash. Empty feed bags, empty Smart Pak containers, even those little strings you rip off to open feed bags can be collected to make a cozy nest. Don't leave saddle pads sitting around for a long time without moving them. Can't tell you how many pads I've picked up to find the insides hollowed out and made into a mouse house. And you most definitely want to secure those syringes and needles! Who knows where it's putting those needles once it takes them? Someone could step on it, a dog could eat it, etc.

                    And I just have to ask, what's the difference between a rat and a pack rat? Does he have a little backpack?


                    • #11
                      A pack rat is actually a ground squirrel of sorts. They do collect stuff and can be a pain in the butt. When we've had them move inside, we catch them in a live trap and relocate them. They are pretty cute.
                      Follow us on facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/River...ref=ts&fref=ts


                      • Original Poster

                        [QUOTE=ex-racer owner;4445415]OMG! I thought you were going to talk about a boarder who hauled all their accumulated crap into your barn! I think there are more than a few of us out there. QUOTE]

                        So using "poison" is probably out of the question...
                        Most friendships in the horse world are just an opinion away from doom.


                        • #13
                          Don't use poison if you care about your dogs. I lost a dog due to poisoning when a neighbor put out poison on his side of the fence, and a poisoned rat/mouse died on our side of the fence ...and my dog ate it. It is a horrible thing to watch - my dog was very sick when I first found him - rushed him straight to the vet, and vet worked all night to save him, but could not. It was definitely poisoning and my kind-hearted neighbor was devastated when he found out he'd unintentionally caused my sweet dog's death.
                          Donerail Farm


                          • #14
                            So THAT must have been what was in my old barn a few years back before we tore it down! What the OP described is exactly what happened to me: Something was stuffing the pallets under my feed bins and making a nest. Hay, twine, alfalfa cubes, screwdrivers, paste wormers, light bulbs, supplement lids, magic markers, screw eyes, you name it, it disappeared under there. Drove me nuts trying to figure out what it was~ I thought it was a possum, then I suprised that sucker one afternoon and it scurried under the pallets while I carefully dislodged myself from the ceiling rafters. Never was able to trap it, and when we tore the barn down I guess it moved on. Hope it doesn't come back and set up shop in the other barn, now that I have another horse!
                            Crayola posse~ orange yellow, official pilot
                            Proud owner of "High Flight" & "Shorty"


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Guin View Post
                              What harm is it doing, exactly? If it's not chewing on your tack, why not just leave it alone?
                              You obviously have not had any experience with pack rats. They eat EVERYTHING. Including tack. Wool coolers, fleece pads, leather, etc. We can't even use our tack room now. He also chewed all the corners and urinated on my handmade oak tack trunk.
                              And to the people on here that disapprove of the drowning- I also did not agree with it. The next time we catch one we will have to think of something else. If you knew me, you would know that I am the last person who would want a critter to suffer. But the rat outsmarted every snap trap we tried. I would have preferred a quicker way too. How how would beating it with a shovel be more humane? And forget relocating them- those little guys will beat you back to your barn! We live in the mountains and they are a big problem. Until you've been there and had to deal with packrats, I wouldn't be so judgemental.


                              • #16
                                trap him and WHACK him hard, once with the flat back of the shovel. Done.

                                Drowning is easy on you, hard on them. Do the right thing and get it over with.


                                • #17
                                  Wow. Did not know there was such a thing. I'd definitely not use poison if you have pets around. And definitely agree.. feed bags on pallets are a pest problem waiting to happen. Get some good trash cans with a locking lid.

                                  My kitties keep the mouse population under control in the barn, and for anything bigger I highly recommend a JRT or Patterdale terrier.

                                  I don't mind seeing the occasional little mouse... my wiring is encased in conduit, but I'd probably burn the place down to get rid of a rat! Hate them.
                                  Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                                  Witherun Farm


                                  • #18
                                    I have to say though...I didn't realize there were such creature for real though! Its kind of humorous...wonder what he plans to do with it all?
                                    Maybe a little pack rat flea market?

                                    Honestly, I find this thread hilarious. I also had no idea there was such an animal. But I'm sorry you're having this problem. I just can't help laughing, hehe.

                                    BUT squirrels will find and hide things.

                                    I don't know how to get rid of an animal when you don't know what it is. Sooner or later someone will see it. BUT, in the meantime, can you find ways to be more careful about disposing of things? Hypo needles should never be left lying around or placed in regular trash anyway. Maybe you could buy a big 30-gal. trash can with secure lid and line the inside with an empty feed bag. Then keep a little plastic bag in there too for collection of *sharp* objects.
                                    "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx


                                    • #19
                                      What harm is it doing, exactly? If it's not chewing on your tack, why not just leave it alone?
                                      You're kidding, right? It leaves urine and feces in the feed room and everywhere else. It's doing a lot of harm!

                                      The concept of puropsely allowing a rodent to live in my feed/tack room would never have occurred to me. It still won't.
                                      Last edited by Yip; Oct. 25, 2009, 12:36 AM.
                                      "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Yes, I know this thread must be funny to read, but the rat is real and quite annoying! Unfortunately, there is no possible to way to secure 15-20 bags of horse feed and dog food in plastic containers or tubs. They have to be stored stacked on wooden pallets in a secure feed room. Yes, I realize that this attracts rodents and becomes an easy buffet, but there really isn't any other practical way at the moment (and I don't own the place).

                                        The pack rat is actually climbing on the benches, tables, and into the tack room stealing things like needles (unopened), hair brushes, screwdrivers, and even the dogs' Frontline pouches that were placed on the table. It's crazy! So these items are NOT placed out in the open for horses to get into, this rat is actually going into plastic containers and grooming boxes and STEALING stuff. It must be very smart or very determined... At least it is leaving the tack alone, it has enough to eat in the feed room that it doesn't need to eat leather.

                                        If the dogs find the rat, they will kill it. But we haven't seen the sucker yet. I think I might go looking tomorrow. I will have to move 500pds of dog food though... My back already hurts...
                                        Most friendships in the horse world are just an opinion away from doom.