Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Tuesday, June 09, 2015


Posted by: Rick

Another of the creatures we encounter at the cabin is the pack rat, otherwise known as the wood rat or desert wood rat. These are the cutest little rodents you've ever seen (well, maybe next to a ferret or squirrel). They have bushy tails and big doe eyes. And, they are evil.

We've posted about pack rats many times in the past. Here, here, here, and here just to reference a few of the times we've mentioned these vile creatures.

They are the rodent equivalent of bower birds. They collect stuff (ranging, in our experience, from condoms to fireworks, bits of colorful plastic to dog turds, even bite-sized pieces of rat poison) and line their nest with it. The nests are usually made of small limbs of wood and fresh green pine needles. These nests, when built in the engine compartment of our truck, can be destructive. They chew the colorful wires under the hood of the truck. They can get caught in the fan belts and render the truck useless. (See the above links for an example.)

They stink. They don't mind peeing in their own nest. And, that really stinks. There is no smell quite like the smell of pack rat pee. I hate it.

Usually, they are worst in autumn as they prepare nests for winter hybernation. But, we encounter them all times of the year. And, the primary mission is to get rid of them and let them know they are not welcome at 100 Hidden Meadows Lane!

This year is no exception. The first morning, or maybe it was the second morning after arriving, I looked under the hood of the Expedition (as is my morning habit) and sure enough, there was a pack rat nest on top of the engine. On a subsequent trip to Laramie, we got an error message in the truck "Trailer Wiring is Screwed Up" (or, something like that), and we weren't pulling a trailer. The rats like to get under the hood of a vehicle and make a nest in the possibly warm engine compartment.

(By the way, some people leave the hood of their truck open overnight because the rats will typically not nest in the open. I did this one night and still got a nice offering on the engine. A photo of that next is below.)

Here is an example of the beginnings of a nest under the hood of the Expedition one morning. On other mornings, a different nest was also adorned with insulation from the firewall in the truck. One morning there was some kind of grey foam insulation which source I cannot find. There was also a blue plastic cap for insulating the positive terminal of a battery--probaby from an ATV--again, no idea where it came from.

This is a fairly long story, so I'll continue it in More... Please, click through.



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