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Old 29-08-2015, 18:44   #1
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Rat Prevention Help Needed

I am certain this topic has been addressed. Unfortunately, the CF Search function brought of hundreds of false hits.

In five years of cruising, two in the Caribbean, I never had a rat problem until 6 months ago. Now, can't get rid of them. My problem is three fold:
1) How to keep more rats from coming aboard and reproducing?
2) How to get rid of those onboard?
3) How to protect ships stores, water supply lines, electrical wires, etc?

Precondition: I have my boat at a marina, and the new manager did a major cleanup of the brush and palms, which drove the rats onto the boats. That was six months ago. Since then, I have done the following:
1) I keep four or more feet of water between my boat's stern and land. I have not yet put rat chaser disks on my mooring lines to land.
2) I have put spring and sticky traps out, with some success. I cut an access hole in overhead where rats are believe to be nesting, and fumigated with insecticide bomb (???).
3) No sooner have I thought I killed the last rat, and cleaned up the ships stores they got into, than another rat finds another food locker. Obviously, I need to store food in metal containers. Short of going custom made ($$$), any suggestions? I have put out moth balls. The rats ignore them. I have high pitched rat deterrent. The rats ignore those too. I was stateside for 60 days, believing no rat aboard. Sealed my boat, I thought tight, set off insect bombs, as I departed, returned, four days ago, only to find at least one fat rat aboard who found the instant potatoes and cereal stores. That's when I let loose an insect bomb in my overhead. I am taking an inventory of other damage.

Is this covered by boat insurance???
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Old 29-08-2015, 18:56   #2
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Re: Rat Prevention Help Needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by KStepman View Post
I am certain this topic has been addressed. Unfortunately, the CF Search function brought of hundreds of false hits.

In five years of cruising, two in the Caribbean, I never had a rat problem until 6 months ago. Now, can't get rid of them. My problem is three fold:
1) How to keep more rats from coming aboard and reproducing?
2) How to get rid of those onboard?
3) How to protect ships stores, water supply lines, electrical wires, etc?

Precondition: I have my boat at a marina, and the new manager did a major cleanup of the brush and palms, which drove the rats onto the boats. That was six months ago. Since then, I have done the following:
1) I keep four or more feet of water between my boat's stern and land. I have not yet put rat chaser disks on my mooring lines to land.
2) I have put spring and sticky traps out, with some success. I cut an access hole in overhead where rats are believe to be nesting, and fumigated with insecticide bomb (???).
3) No sooner have I thought I killed the last rat, and cleaned up the ships stores they got into, than another rat finds another food locker. Obviously, I need to store food in metal containers. Short of going custom made ($$$), any suggestions? I have put out moth balls. The rats ignore them. I have high pitched rat deterrent. The rats ignore those too. I was stateside for 60 days, believing no rat aboard. Sealed my boat, I thought tight, set off insect bombs, as I departed, returned, four days ago, only to find at least one fat rat aboard who found the instant potatoes and cereal stores. That's when I let loose an insect bomb in my overhead. I am taking an inventory of other damage.

Is this covered by boat insurance???
Personally, I would hire a pro exterminator. Not keen on having insect / rat infestations. I've no idea what a "rat chaser disk" is, but I will tell you this. A rat can traverse any line. Power lines, boat lines, probably even a line of coke.

As far as how to stop rat "reproduction", the only thing that comes to my mind is a life sentence at a SuperMax.

Joking aside, hire a pro. Not tomorrow, yesterday. Good luck!
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Old 29-08-2015, 19:48   #3
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Re: Rat Prevention Help Needed

That is just awful. If it were me I would rummage the whole boat. Then seal the dorades etc. with ss screen. Those copper or stainless scrubbers work well in small holes.
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Old 29-08-2015, 19:53   #4
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Re: Rat Prevention Help Needed

For #2, put out spring traps baited with nice, smelly salami. Cheese is an urban legend, it doesn't work. Rich, smelly smoked cold cuts, sausage and bacon work very well. I did that once for an infestation of rats on a dock, and they went off every five minutes for an hour. I don't know about sticky traps.

Elsewhere in CF, folks have said that rat (chaser?) disks on the mooring lines work and are essential.

Moth balls, insecticide bombs, high pitched rat deterrent, statues of cats and owls won't work. Unlike birds, neither will a dead rat.

For #3, I can only suggest two cats or a rat terrier, which is what rat terriers are all about. You wanna see one happy dog, introduce a rat terrier into that environment.

And oh yes. I store my cereal in the oven.
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Old 29-08-2015, 20:23   #5
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Re: Rat Prevention Help Needed

Rat guards on your mooring lines will keep mice from running your lines, but if your boat gets close enough to the pier, rats and mice can and will jump onto your boat from the pier or a piling. A big rat can jump a few feet.

We live in the country and have mice in our barn and around our feeding stations for our animals, and invariably a few will migrate into the house in the winter. We have found the best bait for our traps to be peanut butter. You have to get rid of all easily obtainable food for them to force them to eat from the traps.

If you have rats and mice, you have rat and mice nests. Find them. Get rid of them quickly. They have short gestation periods and a lot of offspring per birthing.

If you live aboard or are close enough to tend a cat daily who can live aboard, get a cat. Perfect mouse trap.
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Old 29-08-2015, 20:26   #6
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Re: Rat Prevention Help Needed

Howdy!

To further the discussion and perhaps help you or others who may read this thread in the future, I suggest:

Tell us if you are living on the boat, cruising on it, where located (tropics) etc.
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Assuming I was living on the boat, what would I do?

I would (if possible) get a cat to stay on the boat for as long as it takes. This could be a pet cat, or perhaps a "rent a cat" that would be put on the boat temporarily while you have this problem.

or…

Since I am allergic to cats, but not to dogs, I would get a Rat Terrier for a pet. They are excellent at killing rats (hence the name) and love doing it. I kept a Rat Terrier pup for several months and can attest that the breed is fun, very smart, lovable, and easy to keep (small dog). If I were a live aboard, it would be one of my top choices for a boat dog.

As I wrote in another thread on this topic: Rat! Unwanted Liveaboard

I like dogs, and have no allergies to them, and I hear they can swim, and even have a swim stroke named after them.

So a wee little Rat Terrier (a very good small dog breed) would be my shipmate, and also be an early warning to pirates.

One rat terrier holds the record of killing 2,500 rats in seven hours! True story!

He could always take the dog watch too!

I would just have to make sure he knew his proper place on the poop deck.

I think I would name him Popeye.

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There have been several discussions of eliminating and deterring or preventing rats or mice onboard boats.

Rats can jump a long distance and height.

If I were in a marina, I would have rat guards on my dock lines if there were rats about the marina. But, I don't know if they will be the total solution you need.

Here is a Google Custom Search I did for you on the single key word "rat" on this forum.
rat - Google Search

____________

Above, I mentioned the Google Custom Search function on this forum. I highly recommend it because it can help you find answers that may be hidden otherwise.

Looking for Quick Answers?

This is the best and fastest method I have found to the answers I seek here.
Since you are relatively new to the forum, here is my favorite friendly forum search tip: Look at the green menu bar on the forum pages for the drop down "Search" menu. Click on that to drop down a list of search functions. From that drop down menu select the GOOGLE CUSTOM search feature (the second box down) and then enter several different descriptive terms for your topic of interest. That will do a Custom google search of ONLY this site and it is likely to find answers to your questions or results for you. Note: this is VERY different from using the regular forum search box or field (which I never use because of poor search results). Also note, this is NOT found if you use the CF app. It IS found if you use a web browser such as Safari, etc.

Note: The ordinary "search" field on this forum has yielded less helpful results for me when I perform searches. That is why I prefer and suggest the use of the alternative "Google Custom Search" instead. I see a very clear difference and find the Google Custom Search much easier for scanning (with my eyes) threads for relevant comments and info. YMMV
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Old 29-08-2015, 20:30   #7
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Re: Rat Prevention Help Needed

My vote goes to the professional exterminator.
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Old 29-08-2015, 21:22   #8
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Re: Rat Prevention Help Needed

Insect bombs will do nothing to kill the rats. Might give them cancer in a few years but I think you're looking for something a little faster. Also probably not the best for your health either.

Speaking of health, not only do rats and mice eat your food and damage all sorts of things on the boat, their urine and droppings can give you Hantavirus which is extremely dangerous. The virus can be spread by dust and dirt contaminated by the rodents so be very careful cleaning up the mess.

Add my recommendation to the rat guards on the lines. For rats and mice even a small line is like a freeway.

I have used peanut butter and jerky with success in traps.

Had a mouse infestation on my boat a couple of years ago and aggressive use of traps did the trick. Caught seven in all. The last one got trap smart and took a while to catch. Finally putting out dozen or so sticky traps along all the popular pathways finally got him (or her, I didn't really look to see).
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Old 29-08-2015, 21:45   #9
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Re: Rat Prevention Help Needed

I have a very nice cat. He catches mice a lot. He brings them home and lets them go inside. He plays with them until the batteries go dead. sometimes they get away and crawl up inside the kitchen cupboard. I have caught , at last count 37 mice on the same peanut butter bait. the same bait I put on the trap when I first bought it. I may rebait it. when it quits working. Mac
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Old 29-08-2015, 22:42   #10
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Re: Rat Prevention Help Needed

With no pets onboard put out a watering dish with automobile antifreeze in it after a few days you will have no rat problem and make some rat guards.
Rat Guards for dock lines
Here's a page to give some ideas to make your own
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Old 29-08-2015, 23:40   #11
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Re: Rat Prevention Help Needed

I visited a health food dispensary in Placentia B. once and they had cheap blue advertizing 10 inch frisbees for a dollar apiece. I bought 6 of them. four of them I bored a hole in the center. It was a little smaller than my dock lines. then I sawed from the outside to the center with my hand saw. Then with a little effort I could slide the dock line into the center of the frisbee. The frisbees were quite stiff and the line was kind of squeezed so they did not slide on the line, They were still working good when I sold the boat. Mac
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Old 30-08-2015, 03:18   #12
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Re: Rat Prevention Help Needed

Thanks for all the suggestions.
Professional exterminator is on my call list for Monday.

i like the idea of a Frisbie to make rat guards for my dock lines.

I have thought about a cat or rat terrier aboard, but that opens up quarantine issues clearing in that I have yet to fully research.

The rats here, on St. Croix, are spring trap savvy, are not attracted to peanut butter, and will get out of sticky traps. I found laying a mixed mine field worked.

i obviously need to make some effort to secure my boat at points of infiltration, and ships stores from rats. The behind saloon cushion storage for dry goods, will need rethinking. perhaps lining with 1/2" sq heavy coated wire screen to keep rats out. There aren't but a few places a rat can enter my boat. All the port lights and hatches are screened. Everywhere else is water tight. That leaves only the companionway when I'm aboard. And, the wiring chases. ???

Thanks everyone.
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Old 30-08-2015, 05:05   #13
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Re: Rat Prevention Help Needed

Rats can jump up 36 inches vertically and 48 inches horizontally, and swim half a mile in open water, dive through water traps in plumbing, and travel in sewer lines against a substantial current.
http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/live/g1530/build/
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Old 30-08-2015, 05:33   #14
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Re: Rat Prevention Help Needed

Interesting book worth reading for those who want to know more, "Rats" by Robert Sullivan.
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Old 30-08-2015, 09:38   #15
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Re: Rat Prevention Help Needed

I had the same problem once. Now I cut the bottom off liter plastic soda bottles, run the dock line through the top neck of the bottle, so the cut off bottom end faces the dock. You can see that the rat has to climb out to the outer bottle shell and try to walk past the 10" or 12" of round plastic to get past it. Haven't had one accomplish that yet.

Regarding rats that already got on board. Cat would be my first choice, because of the hunt. However, this is what I use and peanut butter always worked for me: http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&key...l_2os09gqn5x_b
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