Ratastic News Week “April Fool’s” Edition

David Bennett

In this edition, we explore rats who go to college, rats who are taking down the bright lights of Texarkana, rats who in the afterlife, became novel delivery system for smugglers to prisons, and the tale tail (?) of a young Anglican seminarian at Oxford who led a priestly army against a horde of rats American style—with the Bible in one hand, and a sidearm in the other!  In this edition, keep in mind that all is not as it appears—it IS April Fool’s after all!  Read these fantastic tales and see if you can discern fact from fiction!

Last week’s quiz question! What is one species of rodent who communicates with their tail?

Answer: The rat’s tail in one of the first things to look at, as rats have almost  as comprehensive a language of tail flicks and swishes as dogs! Rats may swish their tails from side to side if they are excited, but can also appear in an aggressive rat, if accompanied by tense stiff posture.

A rat that is stressed, anxious or frightened may flick their tail from side to side through a large arc of movement indicating that something about the situation that they are in is upsetting them.   

This week’s quiz question: Over 500,000 households voluntarily invite a rat or two into their homes as pets! What famous President of the United States children had a rat named Jonathan?


Wanted:  Rat Seeking Roommate in College Dorm

The Daily Texan Online reports that residents of a college dorm got some roommates

that were worse than the party animals of “Animal House” (and that’s saying something!)   These roomies from hell?  Rats!  A rodent got in through the air conditioner, and then proceeded to trash the student’s room—pooping on her clothes, prompting her to throw away three laundry baskets of clothes, eating through her memory foam mattress topper, her shoe rack, her books, and her comforter. Twenty seven traps were laid.  “Sometimes it takes us several days to solve the problem,” [Director of Facility Operations Early said. “It’s a mouse running around. We’ve got to try to think like the mouse and where we’re going to set the traps and what holes we need to seal.”   The student filed for a different room, and she also filed reimbursement forms to replace what the rodent had destroyed.   Some students, not content to wait for the problem to be eradicated, took matters into their own hands with chemical warfare.   The maintenance department discourages the use of poisons for their threat to public health.  Facilities Operation is working closely with affected students to take care of the problem, and they are happy when students report infestations so they can be taken care of.

So Much for the Lights of Texarkana!

It’s lights out in Texarkana, Arkansas, after rats discovered how delicious soy insulation wrapped wiring can be!   So far rats are costing the community $15,000.00, and the

Texarkana Gazette says the city is waging warfare on the electric insulation-hungry rats. “Rats have chewed through the wiring of a string of street lights on the median of Interstate 30 between the highway’s intersections with Jefferson Avenue and Four States Fair Parkway. Most of the lights are completely dark, but some are flashing, indicating that low voltage is still reaching them…Animal Services Director Charles Lokey answered whether the rats can be poisoned. “The rats have mutated. They’re not as susceptible to poisons that were used in the past,” he said. “The companies are working on new products at this time. As soon as I find something that will start working, I’m going to get with Mr. Richards, and we’re going to see what we can do about baiting the poles”…A new kind of electrical insulation is a major factor in the rats’ destructiveness. What’s really got the animals going to wiring now—they always have, but more so than ever before—is they’re using a soy-based plastic now. And they smell it because they’ve got an unbelievable sense of smell, and once they get the taste, boy they don’t want to stop,” Lokey said.”     Clearly, an alternative to soy-based plastic is needed.  Until that comes, the rats are taking down the city lights and imposing a blackout on everyone!

Dead Rats Deliver Contraband to a UK Prison!

It used to be, in the old days, that prison currency was cigarettes.  Times have changed, and with it, prison currency is going high tech—with a low tech delivery system. It seems bad enough when live rats infest a place—but what about when they’re dead?  Someone thought it would be a brilliant idea to gut dead rats and use them to smuggle contraband into a prison in the UK.  WSLS.com reports that the dead rats carried a surprising amount of contraband—everything from drugs, cell phone chargers, cell phones and SIM cards. Cell phones are a hot commodity in prison, so inmates can run criminal enterprises from the inside.  “How did the dead rats get into the prison yard? They were lobbed in!   “While pigeons and tennis balls have previously been used to smuggle contraband into prisons, the use of rats is a new development, the ministry said. A total of five phones and chargers, three SIM cards, cigarette papers, tobacco and drugs such as cannabis and spice were seized, according to the statement.”    We don’t have a solution for infestations of dead rats, but we do ask that you let the dead rats rest in peace.

Pistol Packing Seminary Student Forms Army Against Oxford University’s Rats

Back in the age before the Internet, people wrote something called letters, and they took a week to get from the UK to the United States.   So an editorial in The Sun written by a man who was a 21 year old American seminary student at Oxford University in 1979 decided to regale his parents with tales of life in Oxford’s estimable old halls, and the story he spun rivals that of Oxford’s most esteemed professors—JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis.  The tale he spun ran thus: “Nonetheless, as a diligent son, yours truly would sit down at the desk and write the family once a week.  Given the legends and great antiquity of Oxford, they seemed to expect that I would send back tales of barons, bishops and unicorns in an old medieval city, but the reality was that most of my time was spent in a library studying tedious books of theology. And so to make things more interesting, I once closed the weekly letter with the inscription, “Sorry that I cannot say more but it is very soon until the Rat Shoot and I must go.” I knew this would attract some interest.”  Attract interest it did!  His parents wrote back and asked “What on earth is a Rat Shoot?”    He told his parents these medieval buildings had rat infestations and so Oxford gives the students “wee handguns” of “low caliber” to shoot the critters with. Now, England has very strict gun laws, probably because of a little altercation with American colonists back in the day, so the student told his parents that naturally, the guns have to be small. “Finally to draw matters to a head, I remarked casually in a later missive, “I do not know if it even made the American news media, but it really is a pity what happened to dear old Freddy Boffins at the Rat Shoot. But he will be better in a few days, so we are not really worried about him. The good news is that because of all the problems in Ireland, the doctors here are really good with those kinds of wounds.” Even my sister, who never writes, sent a letter asking what on earth was going on with future Anglican priests being taught to use actual side arms. “

Did this actually happen? Of course not!  April Fool’s! Luckily our erstwhile theology student confessed his tall tale before the administration of Oxford got involved—his parents were about to write them–but our author had a bit of fun at his parents’ expense!  Let us hope that England’s rats are dealt with by traps, such as the ones we sell! 

Monday April 15th – Tomorrow we are rolling out for North American Commercial and residential applications, tough, tested, easy to install, long lasting door sweep, wall and fence exclusion product!

We are exhibiting at New York Pest Management Associations event April 30thRusso’s on the Bay, 162-45 Cross Bay Blvd, Howard Beach NY 11414. Please come talk with us about rodent challenges and exclusion products!

Tags: Doorsweep, Fenn Trap MK4, Fenn Trap MK6, IPM, Mole traps, National Pest Management Association, Norway rats, NPMA, Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators Association, NWCOA, NYPMA, PestWorld2019, Public Health, Rat infestation, Ratastic, Rats, Rodent, Rodent exclusion

2 thoughts on “Ratastic News Week “April Fool’s” Edition

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    1. David Bennett says:

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