Everyone who lives on an island has, at one time or another, had to deal with vermin. In the Dominican Republic, we’ve encountered mice, rats, snakes, scorpions, giant centipedes, tarantulas, lizards, and much, much more.
Though we’ve had several encounters with rats over the years, our most recent battle was by far the most exciting (if you can use that word to describe island rat encounters…).
One recent night, I was cleaning the kitchen and started to hear strange noises. I wasn’t exactly sure where they were coming from, but knew they were somewhere near the refrigerator. However, it was late and I really didn’t feel like investigating things too closely, so I just left the noises for another day and went to bed. (Island Girl Coping Mechanism: Denial)
The next morning, I went to make my coffee and – sure enough – discovered poop all over my counter tops. And inside my oven. And on my new frying pan. These were not the little kernels of gecko poop that we typically find stuck to the walls. (Trust me – living on a rock, one becomes proficient at poop identification.) No, these, my friends, were the droppings of a rat. I wasn’t sure where the little bugger was hiding, but all I could hope for at this point was that the rat was a he, not a she with a family (the case of our last rat incident).
My husband said we needed to set traps and who was I to argue. I had some tasty morsels of chicken for him to load the traps with while I cleaned my kitchen with bleach, scrubbing everything like a crazy woman on a mission. While I am not scared of rats, I don’t like the possibility of them spreading diseases to the humans and dogs in our home. We set a trap behind the microwave and one behind the oven, leaving the oven pulled out about a foot from the wall.
I then decided to bake a carrot cake to serve to friends who were coming over for coffee the next day. I gathered all of the ingredients that I needed and started to mix. It came time to light the oven… and now I am sure you can imagine where this is going.
The oven started to heat up. Suddenly, I heard a loud thump and knew immediately where the rat was hiding.
I peeked behind the oven and – yup – there was one large, grey rat. He (Or she? Going with he for this story since there was no sign of babies in tow – thankfully.) looked a little stressed out, as I imagine a 350°F oven is not a fun place to hang out. He was having a sauna. Except the rat did not have his towel and slippers and it looked the opposite of relaxing.
My husband, being the mighty hunter that he is, grabbed a golf club. Meanwhile, I took a picture of the rat. We then locked our seven dogs in the other room, as I didn’t need one of them getting hit accidentally with a golf club.
I slowly slid the oven forward and the damn rat burst out and went running across the kitchen, ending up behind the fridge.
“Ok,” I said. “That’s enough. Time to get the ratter dogs out.”
First, I released Shelby who is a Lhasa Apso Maltese mix dog – both of which are bred for ratting. I also brought out my other big gun, Xena, who is a Dominican Coco-mutt which are also known to be excellent ratters. I made sure both dogs knew there was a rat behind the fridge. I then slowly started to slide the fridge forward with my crew behind me – my husband wielding a golf club and the dogs at the ready.
We were going to get that rat!
Once I got the fridge far enough forward, my husband tapped the back of the fridge with the golf club to get the rat on the move. The rat ran out and headed straight into Shelby’s kennel. Score! Shelby dove into the kennel and grabbed the rat. The rat was having none of being in a dog’s mouth and managed to break free. He then took off running through the house, squirming under the French doors into the room that my three Belgium Malinois German Shepherds mixes were in. I laughed at his stupidity, certain this rat was not going to see the light of day. Between the three big dogs, he didn’t stand a chance.
Though the rat somehow managed to tear past their jaws and ended up behind the entertainment centre. The five dogs were now going insane trying to get at the rat. My husband was still clutching his golf club, ready to spring into action. This rat was going down one way or another.
Finally, the golf club came in handy. My husband slid the club under the entertainment centre and once again, the rat was on the move. The wily rat not only evaded all five dogs, but somehow figured out how to bolt out the back patio doors and escaped down the steps into the backyard.
The rat was gone.
We all stood panting in stunned silence.
There we were, me and my five loser dogs that couldn’t manage to catch one rat and my golf club wielding husband, who was already proudly taking credit for being the one to get rid of the rat.
I burst out laughing, shaking my head, and decided to just be grateful that the rat was no longer in our house.
He’d probably moved into the pool room by then but that, island girls, is a problem for another day.