My next door but one neighbour has set up a rat hotel in the form of a pile of rubbish in her garden. Sadly though, the rats didn't book in on a B&B rate so are dining out in nearby restaurants.
It was a while before I realised that the buffet I laid out daily to feed the birds was serving this purpose. If a blackbird hadn't submitted a complaint to me I might never have noticed.
No worries. I rearranged the feeder so that the only way a rat could reach it was to go via the birdbath and knowing rats don't like water...
The next day I watched as a rat carefully climbed onto the rim of the birdbath, neatly avoiding the water, and then tucked in.
So the feeding had to stop and the only thing I left out was a dangling seedhouse which unless rats could fly...
The next day I watched as a rat shinned up a vertical pole in rope-climbing fashion, paw over paw to get there.
I did some research. Rats are able to adapt to different environments without much difficulty. A rat can go longer without water than a camel. It can fall some five stories without injury. They can survive large doses of radiation, and swim for half a mile across open water.
Over generations, they tend to build up certain immunities to poisons. And the biggest, feistiest sewer rats can send your average house cat running for safety. A mating pair of rats can have 5 litters of 7-15 pups in a year, and the pups themselves become fertile around 5 weeks of age.
Clearly, in my battle against the rodent infestation, I stood no chance.