Tails from the lay by

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  • Tails, see what I did there? This is a story about rats.


    Me and the 'neighbours' decided to grow some veg and flowers in growbags while here in lockdown. We knew there were rats in the lay by, didn't want to kill them, but how to stop them from nibbling our plants?


    Decided we would feed them in a designated place so they would learn that food was forthcoming and leave our plants alone.


    I've been giving them left overs and value muesli. I call them when I put food down and now they know my voice. If I'm quiet and still I can watch them. So cute with their little whiskery noses and bright beady eyes. (Yes, I know, rats have diseases - well, so do people, and people also have a wide range of other undesirable behaviours).


    Back to the tail... They have personalities, some bomb straight into the pile of muesli, some take a piece and retreat to eat it, the two smallest sit quietly at the edge of the pile and take one piece at a time and eat it. They all cooperate, they don't fight over the food, they squeeze up to let others get in.


    They are incredibly strong, I put a banana out and a tiny rat came down and dragged it away, the banana was much bigger than the rat.


    I will miss them when I go, but they will be okay, the lorry and coach drivers who usually use this lay-by chuck loads of food out.

  • IF (and that is a big 'if' ) I was to encourage rats I would find it prudent to regulary check all cupboards including taking the drawers out , then check under the bonnet and the running gear, then check around in the luggage bay and all my tat cupboards on the bus especially gas hoses ,electric cables and not forgetting the waste water pipe (they get thirstyas well as hungry).

  • I've put a dish of water out for them. They drink quite a lot.


    I start the truck up regularly that should dissuade them from taking up residence ... I hope!


    It's nice weather just now, lots of places to hide in the verge, hoping they are not planning an invasion! If they are I will try one of those sonic thingies.


    I had ants once, when I had a caravan, I went to Wales and back, that got rid of them. (Before then I had no idea that ants liked Wales).

  • Rats scavenging food from food discarded from truck drivers etc, is quite natural. It’s also a way the population is controlled. Once a people start feeding rats the population explodes and problems arise. Female rats can reproduce six times per year. Each female typically gives birth of 5 to 10 pups. Problems arise when the feeding station is taken away. Rats will fight to the death for food to sustain life. When food becomes short in supply in remote areas, rats that are injured through infighting will die of starvation/injury or become prey.


    We had a problem a few moths ago. After watching the rat antics taking food out of the bird feeders, they suddenly became a plague. They would come to my daughters feet as she spread bird seed about. I tried live trapping the female adults and taking them half mile down the track and releasing them. Eventually I had to shoot a few rats to get the population back under control and reduce the amount of seed available to rats.

    Feeding birds can be just as rewarding and more beneficial. :)

  • we d love to put out bird food etc,but know its rat bait,we have some crows we feed but they take it all within 10 mins so we know its clean outside the van..we did have rats in the engine bay,but didnt realise till we d tatted down to go somewhere,checked the oil and the amount of rat poo in the engine bay was..well,lots!not had them where we are now but we have a little female cat that we ve seen drag the odd rat carcus across the yard x

  • Rats scavenging food from food discarded from truck drivers etc, is quite natural. It’s also a way the population is controlled. Once a people start feeding rats the population explodes and problems arise. Female rats can reproduce six times per year. Each female typically gives birth of 5 to 10 pups. Problems arise when the feeding station is taken away. Rats will fight to the death for food to sustain life. When food becomes short in supply in remote areas, rats that are injured through infighting will die of starvation/injury or become prey.


    We had a problem a few moths ago. After watching the rat antics taking food out of the bird feeders, they suddenly became a plague. They would come to my daughters feet as she spread bird seed about. I tried live trapping the female adults and taking them half mile down the track and releasing them. Eventually I had to shoot a few rats to get the population back under control and reduce the amount of seed available to rats.

    Feeding birds can be just as rewarding and more beneficial. :)

    We have replaced the truck drivers, when we go the truckers will be back, the amount of food may possibly go up because the MacDonalds and other takeaway shit food places will be open so there will be loads of food and litter here again. Rats will probably be glad to see the back of us, with our tidying up and vegan diets! 😄😄