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I just saw a rat on the fence outside my house!

Original post made by neighbor, Professorville, on Jul 25, 2009

So I'm in my kitchen and looking out the window, and there on the the fence is a rat! I googled and it's probably a roof rat. Should I freak out or just ignore it?

Comments (18)

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Posted by Jenny
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 25, 2009 at 1:13 pm

There are rats in Professorville - Mon Dieu!!!

If you saw one, think of all those you don't see!!!


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Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 25, 2009 at 3:21 pm

So rats outside are normal, but you might want to make sure you aren't attracting them. Clean up after your fruit trees, make sure your trash is well sealed. If your yard is a good food source, there will be more shortly.

Now if they are in your attic, kill them and seal your attic.


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Posted by nobigrat
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 25, 2009 at 3:53 pm

Just like squall, rats are on the comcast cable pole everyday. Not even cats can reach them.


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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Jul 25, 2009 at 4:07 pm

If you have rats in your attic, kill them with traps, never with poison.

If you poison them they will find a place to hide before they die.

If you are lucky, you can find them with your nose after a couple of weeks.

If you are unlucky they will end up inside your walls.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 25, 2009 at 4:46 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Cats and dogs were domesticated for their real contributions to society, the reduction of food destroying and baby biting vermin. Their companionship is just the lagniappe on that symbiosis. Anyone recommend a breed for this lady's problem?


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 25, 2009 at 7:18 pm

We already have plenty of cats in the neighborhood. My cats are indoor only, but my neighbors have cats that I see outside. I don't hear any rats in my own attic, so hopefully they're not in the house. I've just never seen one outside my house before, and I've lived here for years, so I was a little worried. I think I'll just forget about the one I saw...


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Posted by Midtown resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 25, 2009 at 10:34 pm

Hello neighbor,

Don't ignore them. I kept seeing rats on my fence but I did not worry because I knew I did not have any in my attic. Well, it turned out that they had a nest in a thick climbing vine growing outside on the wall of my house. They can also live in bushes and other places. I suggest that you inspect your yard carefully also.


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Posted by Shoot to Kill
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jul 26, 2009 at 10:00 am

Go to Walmart and get a pellet gun with a laser sight. It's good fun!


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Posted by sac
a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2009 at 6:32 pm

If you live near a creek, have fruit trees (they love raspberry bushes), bird feeders or are not careful with your food waste trash, then the rats will come. Be sure to cover the crawl space vents with thick wire grates so they won't get access to your walls, attics and vents. A nice agile cat in the backyard also helps. Visit the SPCA. There are a lot of cats who would love to patrol your fences in exchange for a loving home.


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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2009 at 7:26 pm

If you have any kind of pets you feed outside (cats, rabbits, dogs) Rats will be attracted by the food. So will Raccoons, and they can be a much more destructive pest. Both cats and rabbits are on their food chain. Over the years I've lost a couple of cats to raccoons, and I don't do anything to attract them .

(OK, Peta types feel free to slam me because I let my cats live a "cats" life, and don't keep them hostage inside a human home. Sure am glad I'm an anonymous poster now ;))

Cats can do a good job keeping small rodents down, but rats are usually too big and too fast for them.

What poster sac says about vents and all potential access to your house is on target. 10 cents worth of wire screen can prevent a potential nightmare if they get inside your crawl spaces or walls.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Ventura
on Jul 28, 2009 at 10:44 am

You can also get a free inspection of your home from the vector control of Santa Clara county. They will come and show you places rats can (or are) getting into your home. The man who came to my house was very, very helpful. He pointed out potential food sources, and he even noticed droppings at my house to prove that rats were hanging out there. His recommendations were to cover all exterior holes with a fine-grade mesh and clear brush, etc, as others have listed.


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Posted by Fireman??
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2009 at 10:54 am

That was not a Rat, it was Frank Benest


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Posted by mmmmmMommmm
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 28, 2009 at 10:59 am

Many good suggestions here.

I agree that the best place to start is with the Santa Clara County vector control. We had them come out to our house - they did a GREAT job. And it is free! Can't beat that.


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Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2009 at 11:02 am

OO, Your cats must not know Cat Fu. I have had cats that get squirls, huge rats and I had a manx that tried to catch a deer. Crazy cat!!! Pitcat we called him..

Have your cats buy into the matter of pride BS. It works for the city leaders. Now the human rats that are loose in CPA?

See why they shoot Mountain Lions in Palo Alto. They make the leaders feel like lunch..


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Posted by Norm
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 28, 2009 at 11:29 am

What should really unnerve folks is the fact rats have been seen climbing the stucco walls of downtown restaurants here in Palo Alto - YES, on University during mid-evening business hours. Really creepy when yu see 3-4 at a time!


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 29, 2009 at 10:52 am

Where I used to live, in another Bay Area city, the previous homeowner left us a small garden shed in the side yard. Didn't think much of it until we realized a family of rats lived in it....yuck.
Also, tall thin palm trees with lots of fronds at the top can attract rats...


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Posted by Kate
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 30, 2009 at 11:42 am

We have rats too! And ours are coming in the house. They must be huge rats because the sticky traps we set for them have little rat footprints in them where the rat stepped onto the trap to eat the peanut butter. It must have been so big that it was able to pull itself out of the glue! I'm scared of the crazy mutant rats! Luckily the pest control guy came yesterday to set up "rat hotels" that the rats go in but can't get out. Hope you have better luck with your pest problem than us. Take care!
Kate Elmore
SkinSpirit Skincare Clinic & Spa
Web Link


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Posted by Retired Engineer
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 8, 2014 at 4:33 pm

Get a cat. It will deter them. But honestly, what is the big deal? Rats are just squirrels with naked tails & bad PR.

We have a lush backyard with lots of trees & a few bird feeders (one for seed birds and one for hummingbirds)

We get squirrels, all kinds of birds including ducks and the occasional hawk. We even get raccoons (they use the storm drains as their own personal superhighway)

I have no problem killing anything that comes into my house to steal my food, but the outdoors belongs to the animals. We are just the caretakers.

Relax and enjoy the show!

If you do decide to eliminate the rats, please get a cat or a trap that is rat specific. Please do NOT use poison as there is a good chance you will kill a hawk, owl or your neighbor's cat as well.

That will just increase the rodent population.


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