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How To Keep Rats From Eating My Cables? 1032

Posted by timothy
from the increase-their-cocaine-ration dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I am curious to know what vermin prevention/eradication methods are used in other locations. I am working at a dealership and we have an exterminator man who puts out glue traps and bait stations, but they still come and eat my cable. The latest was a couple of fiber runs — very expensive. I have threatened my boss with a cat for the server room (my office), going so far as to cruise the local Humane Society's website and eye-balling a nice Ragdoll-Siamese mix. Even if I do feel like dealing with a litter box, cat hair in the equipment and pouncings on my keyboards (and I'm not sure I do), that only covers the server room. We have multiple buildings on the campus which get locked up to prevent theft, but it isn't secure enough to keep out the critters and the latest chew spot was in the ceiling. Any ideas?"
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How To Keep Rats From Eating My Cables?

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  • Three options (Score:5, Informative)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@@@gmail...com> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:17PM (#26834853) Journal

    Rats and mice don't eat cables...They chew the insulation off to make their nests...or if it happens to be in their way. So your best be it to figure out what the hell they're eating, and shut down their food supply. They'll move on shortly thereafter.

    The word "campus" may put paid to that notion, however. Campus implies lots of people, lots of garbage, and lots of space. God help you if it's a college campus, the promised land of vermin the world over, where bulldog sized rats subsist on half a cheeseburger out of the dumpster. If that's the case, then there is no way you'll be able to shut off their food.

    Introducing predators isn't necessarily a bad idea, but its a measure that can, in no way, co-exist with traditional methods of poison and trapping. Your predator will likely set off the traps and poison itself on the bioaccumulated toxins in the bodies of its prey. If you do get a cat, better feed it a bunch of activated charcoal with its kibble.

    Which brings us to poison and trapping. It's not that they don't work. They work GREAT. If they're not working, it means you're not using enough. You need to come to the budgetary equilibrium where the amount you spend on extermination makes sense based on the cost of cable replacement.

    So if you can't shut off their food, and you can't stomach the thought of your kitties/ferrets/snakes keeling over dead from poison every month or two, you're going to have to up the extermination.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      He said he works at a dealership, and I can only assume that he means a car dealership. Have you ever seen a car dealership on a college campus?
      • by deraj123 (1225722) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:26PM (#26835033)

        Have you ever seen a car dealership on a college campus?

        Sounds like a great idea though. College kids are notorious for irresponsible use of credit. (Really, my friend bought a car on his American Express while in college...).

        • by Shakrai (717556) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:53PM (#26835507) Journal

          (Really, my friend bought a car on his American Express while in college...).

          If he waited a few years he could have defaulted on it and gotten a Governmental bailout ;)

        • Re:Three options (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Amazing Quantum Man (458715) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:58PM (#26835577) Homepage

          Really, my friend bought a car on his American Express while in college

          My sister did this (but it was Visa).

          Her car died, and she needed a new one. My dad checked out a Hyundai at the local dealer (this was back in the '80s when they had just come to the US), and told her to get one -- He figured she'd finance it and he'd send her a check (didn't believe in credit).

          Instead, she put it on his Visa card (it was the minimal $4995 model). My dad paid it off in full, but had a bit of a surprise there.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by jacksonj04 (800021)

            His fault for trusting someone else with his card details.

            • Re:Three options (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Shakrai (717556) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:35PM (#26836189) Journal

              His fault for trusting someone else with his card details.

              The credit card company would disagree. It would actually be the merchants fault for not checking the signature on the back of the card.

              • Re:Three options (Score:4, Interesting)

                by Amazing Quantum Man (458715) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @07:25PM (#26836911) Homepage

                It was in her name (secondary card).

                It wasn't a problem, it was just a good laugh -- "She bought her car on the Visa".

                To be honest, a few years back, I tried the same thing -- was going to buy a car on my home equity line, didn't have the checks with me, but the dealer wouldn't let me put more than $5K on the home equity Visa.

      • Re:Three options (Score:5, Informative)

        by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@@@gmail...com> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:29PM (#26835077) Journal

        Good call. I spaced on that part. That's almost worse though, because of what may be nearby. A river, some fast food places, one of those goddamn toxic peanut factories.

        All the same points apply though. Stop the food. Or get some exterminators...Some good ones if the rats are coming from a neighboring property. Maybe see if you can report your neighbors for excessive vermin?

        • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:05PM (#26835687) Homepage

          If they try to get rid of all the rats, then who will sell the cars??

          Oh you mean the furry rodent type... Gotcha!

        • Re:Three options (Score:4, Informative)

          by xeoron (639412) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @07:09PM (#26836707) Homepage
          I know that to stop rabbits from munching on cables vitamin-e oil stops them. They can't stand it. No idea if that would work on rats, but perhaps it may cause someone to think of a related solution that does not involve harmful chemicals and traps.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Peet42 (904274)

        Interesting. I automatically assumed an IBM Dealership.

    • Re:Three options (Score:5, Informative)

      by poopdeville (841677) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:26PM (#26835031)

      They could also try to secure the installations with expanding urethane foam sealant. This is the stuff the Mythbusters used to "prank a car", and that Mike Rowe used a few weeks ago to seal a mine shaft.

      http://www.homeenvy.com/db/9/49.html [homeenvy.com]

      • Re:Three options (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:04PM (#26835671)

        Use STEEL WOOL the rats hate it. That really helped us.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Rats will chew through urethane foam like it's made out of ... err ... urethane foam. It's a good step, but it's insufficient against any chewing rodent who thinks there's supposed to be a path there.

        As the AC nearby says, steel wool shoved into the gap that you're foaming shut will solve that problem though.

      • Re:Three options (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kilodelta (843627) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @07:50PM (#26837235) Homepage
        You could also turn to armoring critical cables.
    • Re:Three options (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chabo (880571) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:30PM (#26835115) Homepage Journal

      In addition: as much as it's great to bring a cat home from the shelter so they can take in another one (especially now, with people abandoning cats when their houses get foreclosed... who would do that?!?), ask yourself why you're getting the cat.

      Make sure that you're not just getting the cat to be a roving rattrap. You're going to be responsible for the care of a living being, remember -- regardless of whether the cat is actually a good mouser, it's your responsibility to give it a good home.

      Also, just to warn you, Siamese cats are very loud and whiny. We just got one, and she's very needy, and talks your ear off if she wants something. Look at some Youtube videos of Siamese cats. I have no idea how a mix would be, but I just wanted to warn you...

      • by Shakrai (717556) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:45PM (#26836351) Journal

        regardless of whether the cat is actually a good mouser, it's your responsibility to give it a good home

        That would be the luck. Convince your boss to let you get a cat and then you get something as fat and lazy as my girlfriends cat. She watched a mouse walk across the living room floor once and didn't move. Umm, why exactly are we keeping a roof over your head and feeding you if you aren't gonna pull your weight again?

        • Re:Three options (Score:5, Interesting)

          by vrmlguy (120854) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <esywmas>> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:55PM (#26836495) Homepage Journal

          Most of the farms I'm familiar with have a colony of cats living in each barn. Each colony gets a fixed ration of food each day, and no, none of the cats have ever been "fixed". Those cats will chase anything they think they can eat.

        • Re:Three options (Score:5, Informative)

          by darrylo (97569) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @07:50PM (#26837239)
          Cats need to be TAUGHT how to catch mice by their mother, while they're still young. If they're not taught, they're probably not going to think of mice as food (or toys).
        • by Skevin (16048) on Friday February 13, 2009 @03:26AM (#26840421) Journal

          Don't get just one cat. Get more than one. Get several.

          You're right - Cat 1 and Cat 2 will probably do nothing. Most people won't even think they exist. Cat 3 will do most of the work, but won't harrass rats beyond 100 meters. Cat 4 needs motivation - give it a small token, like a ring.

          Cat 5 can be faster than Cat 3, but like Cat 3, speed and response begin to attenuate after 100 meters. They start dropping packets, which should promptly be buried in the litter box. In the event that rodents bite back, you should consider shielding Cat 5.

          Cat 6 is extremely fast with very little latency, but inflexible and difficult to work with. I use them in my fruit pantry, where rats ate "twisted pears"

      • by Xtravar (725372) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:53PM (#26836477) Homepage Journal

        Personally, I think he should adopt a bunch of cats AND put out the poison. But I guess this is why I'm not a consultant.

      • Re:Three options (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Eil (82413) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @07:33PM (#26837027) Homepage Journal

        Have to agree with the parent. Cats are not tools to be thrown at a problem. They are intelligent creatures and require regular care and attention. Do not try to own a cat, dog, or other animal if you don't know how to take care of them. The submitter might know his stuff about I.T. but plainly knows nothing of either pests or pets.

        Please submitter: have your company hire or consult someone who knows what they are doing when it comes to pest control. You worry about the computers. I don't know what on earth possessed you ask other I.T. nerds for advice either.

        • by pyro_peter_911 (447333) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @10:23PM (#26838709) Homepage Journal

          Please submitter: have your company hire or consult someone who knows what they are doing when it comes to pest control. You worry about the computers. I don't know what on earth possessed you ask other I.T. nerds for advice either.

          Pshaw. When you have a nerd problem, you need a nerd solution.

          Caesium-137 [wikipedia.org] is radioactive, toxic, and liquid at slightly above room temperature. Warm it up to melt it, then pour it all along your cable paths.

          Better still, Technetium-99 [wikipedia.org] is a gamma emitter. Let's see... Technetium melts at around 4000 degrees F, so wear some gloves when you're pouring it along your cabling. Soon, the gamma radiation will scramble the rat's DNA causing them to grow to a Rodent of Unusual Size [sortingoutscience.net] at which point the rats will no longer be interested in eating mere cabling.

          You could always buy a Mousetrap [amazon.com] which will give you something to do while waiting for the Technetium to melt.

          There are some mousetrap [youtube.com] videos that you might also reference.

          Peter

    • Go Wireless (Score:5, Interesting)

      by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:34PM (#26835169)
      Can't eat air!

      One of the great reasons why wireless networking and phone technology is popular in Africa is that the copper thieves can't steal the wires. One area I visited often, many years back, had a 25 mile long telephone cable to a phone that never worked. By the time the installation crew finished the installation the first half of the line would be gone and they'd wait for the next year's budget and start all over again...

      • Re:Go Wireless (Score:5, Insightful)

        by purpledinoz (573045) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:44PM (#26835369)
        Depending on the application, wireless might simply be too slow. I've worked on a wireless connection in my office for a few months, and it was torture. The main problem was that we weren't using commercial wireless access points, just regular home ones due to budget issues. I was so happy to get a regular wired network connection after.
    • Re:Three options (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Cassini2 (956052) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:39PM (#26835259)

      Rats and mice are also different problems. If you have mice, cats are very effective. Mice will not even approach anywhere they think a cat lives. If you have rats, you will need a larger predator. At least a big cat, that you know will take out rats. Rats are much larger than mice.

      I would consider lining everywhere there are cables with glue traps. That will catch anything that goes near the cables. Unfortunately, it could also be highly annoying. Line everywhere a cable enters or exits a small whole with steal wool. Mice are almost impossible to prevent entering a building, because they can move freely through such small entry points. They also seek out heat.

      Finally, if the problem is rats, then it is much easier to block entry to the buildings. Rats are much larger than mice, so physical protection methods work better against rats. Be prepared to use concrete and steel solutions. Rats and squirrels can chew through wood. My experience is that rats will eat plastic much more readily than mice. Rats are much larger than mice, and are tougher to catch. Mouse traps are ineffective against rats. Consider sheathing your wiring in metal and/or concrete. Quick setting concrete is an easy way to plug oddly shaped holes. Metal conduit can be terminated with liquid tight fittings. Between the two solutions, you should be able to prevent mice and rats from either going through conduit, or going around conduit and exploiting holes in the building walls.

      • by Rei (128717) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:55PM (#26835549) Homepage

        But what if it's not mice or rats at all? What if it's Chuck Mangione, living in the dealership, trying to shut off network access to prevent sales?

      • Re:Three options (Score:5, Informative)

        by techess (1322623) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:02PM (#26835637)

        Having had rats as pets, I can attest that rats can chew through concrete. Poison sucks because when they die you've got rotting corpses all over the place. The most important thing to do is get rid of food sources. Once that is done, there are several options. Some police stations are using stray cats to help with the rodent problem. They are using feral cats though so they don't desire human interaction. Throw a feral cat in a building and you may never see it again, just clean up the box and keep food & water out. They also are good at getting up into drop ceilings. Be careful though I've got a cat who is a wire chewer so you may just be adding another cable destroyer to the mix.

        Some people recommend plaster of paris (dry) mixtures because when they eat it, it clogs them up and I guess they don't stink as much when they die. I haven't tried it so I can't say for sure. Mix this with traps in areas that are easy to clean and you've got a start. My personal preference for keeping rats out of my barn/hay is the rat snake. They don't chew on cables and unlike a cat, they hunt out rats nests. A good rat snake(s) will eat most if not all of the litters and that can do more to get rid of your population than anything else.

      • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:06PM (#26835701)
        Our cats kill rats in the barn and house just fine. They started doing this as kittens (4 months old or so). The adult cats will even kill rabbits.

        These are just regular sized cats with no ninja training.

        Rats will happily rip a hole through drywall so don't really care if you block up holes. I blocked up some holes with chew-proof material and the bastards just ripped another hole.

        If you have rats inside, then the chances are that they are an overflow population from somewhere else. We didn't have rats in the house until the population built up in the barn and the "turf wars" pushed some of the rats into the house. As soon as we killed a lot of the rats in the barn they disappeared from the house.

        • by Chyeld (713439) <chyeld@gm a i l . c om> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:25PM (#26836017)

          These are just regular sized cats with no ninja training.

          I know you said that tongue in cheek, but realistically speaking if they've been doing it since they were 4 months old, then yes they did have the requisite 'ninja training'. House cats (and dogs), from experience, don't know squat about how to hunt or kill effectively because they never learned how and didn't need to. They might learn how to scavenge, and might even get lucky enough if they are in a 'high target' location to get a few kills, but they never do learn how to do it 'right'.

          That might sound pedantic, but it's important to realize that if you are going for a 'mouser' at the local Humane Society, you may have to do quite a bit of looking to find the right one.

          Barn bred cats are the ninja's of the cat world.

          • by Dasher42 (514179) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @07:14PM (#26836783)

            > Barn bred cats are the ninja's of the cat world.

            Absolutely. My grandfather had barnyard cats, and I watched one of them make a habit of stalking squirrels like a pro. She knew that the squirrel would dash for the nearest tree, and would line herself up behind the tree so that the squirrel actually ran *towards* her when startled, allowing for a quick swipe of the paw. Then, she knew how to grab the neck to avoid getting bitten. As spastic and clever as squirrels are, rats are in serious trouble from a feline hunter like that.

      • Re:Three options (Score:4, Informative)

        by techno-vampire (666512) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:17PM (#26835881) Homepage
        Mice are almost impossible to prevent entering a building, because they can move freely through such small entry points. They also seek out heat.

        Mice also tend to move along walls. If you think your workplace has a problem with mice, moving the cables well away from the walls will go a long way toward protecting them, and glue and/or spring traps set along the walls will often get rid of them.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:17PM (#26835885)

        I once saw a rat run into my garage, and I had heard that cat urine would make them leave so I scooped some used clay litter into a bucket and put it into the garage. I went back the next day and THE RAT HAD EATEN THE FUCKING LITTER!

        Rats are real badasses.

      • by charnov (183495) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:36PM (#26836197) Homepage Journal

        Rats can go right through concrete.

        You should look at ruggedized stainless steel fiber for you expensive short haul fiber and maybe switch to air gap laser or MMDS wireless for long haul or switch it around.

        Both of those are rat proof. check it out http://www.timbercon.com/SS-Cables/index.html [timbercon.com]

    • Re:Three options (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dfm3 (830843) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:40PM (#26835281) Journal

      Rats and mice don't eat cables...They chew the insulation off to make their nests...or if it happens to be in their way.

      I wish I had a source for this... but I remember reading somewhere that rats are generalist foragers who will try nibbling on just about anything they come across to see if it's edible or not. When they come across a foreign substance (a seed, a fruit, a piece of garbage, a nice shiny cable), they'll try a few bites of it. if it makes them sick, they throw it up and remember not to eat it again- apparently they have very good memory.

      This is what makes poisoning them so difficult, and why rat poisons are designed to have a delayed effect. Plastic, on the other hand, won't necessarily make a rat sick in small quantities (it isn't exactly digestible), and new plastic products often "outgas" just enough to produce odors which rats can pick up on. So, when a rat happens across a foreign object with a funky smell (your newly laid cable), it's inclined to take a few nibbles.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Rats actually cannot vomit [ratbehavior.org], but otherwise you are pretty much correct.

      • Re:Three options (Score:5, Informative)

        by Idaho (12907) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:11PM (#26835771)

        When they come across a foreign substance (a seed, a fruit, a piece of garbage, a nice shiny cable), they'll try a few bites of it. if it makes them sick, they throw it up and remember not to eat it again- apparently they have very good memory.

        The first part is probably true, the second part isn't, AFAIK: rats can't throw up. It is physically impossible for them. This is also why they have such a very good memory for what they can and can't eat, and only try a small amount the first time. If they get sick they just have to wait it out basically, and hope they survive. This is why surviving rats learn very well to be careful, and remember insanely well what made them sick.

        This is probably why you have to use bio-accumulative poisons to kill rats, I suppose. (And even then they might still learn because they recognize the smell on other dead rats!)

    • by MoFoQ (584566) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:45PM (#26835393)

      one is a coating for the cabling to "discourage" chewing [hytechdistributors.com].
      popular choices are anything capsaicin based or something with a bitter substance (bitter to rodents that is)

      another is those ultra-sonic repellers (it's worth a try....some rats may not give a "rat's" ass about it and still continue to do their deeds)

      In the end, it may not be just one thing but a combination of things.
      poisons to kill off the rats, deterrents to prevent them from chewing on cabling, and making it very unpleasant for them to live on the lot.
      Especially, yanking out the welcome mat from under them.
      Those rats who don't learn not to leave and not to chew on the cables will get poisoned.

      • by Ionized (170001) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @07:23PM (#26836877) Journal

        Want a cheap way to dissuade the rats from chewing on your wires? Buy the hottest hot sauce you can find, or better yet just buy some pure capsaicin [sweatnspice.com] powder [hotternell.com]. Dissolve it in a liquid and put it in a lawn sprayer, then wander around spraying all the wires.

        I have a feeling that the rats will leave your wires alone after that.

        As capsaicin is soluble in warm water and alcohol, but not cold water, you may need to dissolve the powder in an alcohol/water mix.

    • Battle Stations!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:47PM (#26835413)

      Clearly, you need to deploy one or more Rat Zapper Battle Stations [ratzapper.com]

      They work great. Rats die humanely. Things that eat rats, don't.

      I mean to say, things that eat them don't die, not that they die horrible, lingering deaths.

      Well, of course they will die, eventually. But not from this.

      I mean, unless they're other rats.

    • Re:Three options (Score:5, Interesting)

      by value_added (719364) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:11PM (#26835777)

      Rats and mice don't eat cables...They chew the insulation off to make their nests...or if it happens to be in their way. So your best be it to figure out what the hell they're eating, and shut down their food supply. They'll move on shortly thereafter.

      I'll add to what you just wrote.

      First, it's true that rats don't eat cables and instead use the insulation to make their nests, but it's worth pointing out that rats will eat almost anything, and what they don't eat they tend to chew up to make their nests. If you have just cables, consider yourself lucky. The typical homeowner with rats in the garage will see his papers, books, and furniture destroyed.

      Second, what rats don't eat or chew on will be likely be covered in shit and urine. Rats do this on the move (no stopping for a private piss in the corner for them) so expect everything to be dirtied, if not damaged.

      Third, what isn't eaten, chewed, shit on, or pissed on may be salvageable, but that may not be good enough. Rats carry all sorts of diseases (as do their fleas), but their leftovers (saliva, urine, droppings, etc.) are similarly problematic. Hantavirus, for example, is common enough in the US, and breathing in dust from a rat infestation should be considered a real risk.

      As for "moving on", yes, they'll move on, but they tend to stay until they decide to do so. It's not unlike ants. Leave some food unattended for a day, and you'll have ant problems for weeks. Do it again, and they'll calculate the moving average in their little brains, and you'll have ant problems for far longer than you'd think. Female rats, IIRC, will go into heat every few days, and will mate with anyone (incest is no problem). The little fuckers reach sexual maturity after a few few weeks of being born. That suggests that once you have a rat problem, you will continue to have a rat problem.

      I have a neighbour who is the kind of woman you see on the local news from time to time: too many cats to count. She also has lots of fruit trees. The rats come for the fruit and cat food, but the cats are too well fed to be of any use, so the rats end up in my garage. Occassionally, they dig through the drywayll and end up in my kitchen.

      Killing them with poison is, regrettably, the best approach. In a rural or farm environment, cats, terriers and owls tend to keep their populations in check.

  • Conduits (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daveschroeder (516195) * on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:19PM (#26834873)

    And if you can't "afford" conduit, make your own. Garden hose (which rats don't eat through), PVC, etc.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by SatanicPuppy (611928) *

      For a big install that may not be possible...If all the wire is already pulled, for example, you can't unpull it all and add conduit without a huge expense.

      On the other hand, it may be pulled in quantities that exceed common conduit widths. I've seen even small buildings with bundles of cable the diameter of a soccer ball, and if the conduit is that big, it's more likely a convenient rat super-highway than a deterrent.

      • Re:Conduits (Score:4, Informative)

        by Yobgod Ababua (68687) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:38PM (#26835237)

        There's always a way to get a protective sheath overtop of a cable run.

        You can slit a large rubber tube or PVC pipe section and slip it over the cabling in the exposed sections.

        You can also take ducting metal and screw it over the exposed cables to connect it up to whatever wall or corner it's running along. It -will- cost money to do, but that cost is almost certainly less than the cost of replacing fiber, and so should be an easy sell.

  • The Simple Option (Score:5, Insightful)

    by snowgirl (978879) * on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:21PM (#26834919) Journal

    Rat Poison.

    Yeah, this is "inhumane" etc, whatever. But that's the only way to reduce the population fast enough to make a difference. Most pest control people want to use poisons, because they know it's the only way that works, but then people insist "omg no! you have to be humane about it!"

    Look people. If you want the pests gone, there's really only one option that works.

    • Boring (Score:5, Funny)

      by Roger W Moore (538166) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:27PM (#26835043) Journal
      Use high voltage cables and let evolution do the rest.
    • by merreborn (853723) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:30PM (#26835111) Journal

      Rat Poison.

      Yeah, this is "inhumane" etc, whatever.

      It's arguably less inhumane than the glue traps they're using now.

      • by SpuriousLogic (1183411) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:35PM (#26835187)
        Glue traps are the absolute worst! Anyone here ever think of what happens? The mouse gets stuck on the trap until it dies from starvation or dehydration. Plan old spring loaded mouse traps work great, and kill it instantly. Although, have a sick story on the glue traps. 20 years ago in HS, working at McDs, I had a cheap manager and a lot of mice. He bought glue traps, and wanted to "reuse" them. By reuse, he thought he could just pull the mouse off the trap. We, he is pulling on that tail, and that mouse is squeaking like hell, and he pulled so hard he pulled the damn spine out of the mouse. The was a quick end to the glue traps and the real exterminators came in the next day.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by UncleTogie (1004853)

          Worst case of that I'd personally seen was a mouse that'd had its face stuck to the glue trap. In its struggles to free itself, it'd pulled its eyeball out of the socket.

          After that, I decided that snap-traps were less cruel...

        • Re:The Simple Option (Score:4, Informative)

          by smellsofbikes (890263) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:49PM (#26836403) Journal

          My girlfriend's landlord put in glue traps.
          We started hearing this weird high-pitched noise, like a flyback transformer in a CRT going wonky.
          It was mice screaming because they'd been stuck to the glue trap for days and were starving to death.

          If you want to get them loose without killing them don't pull them. A: you pull parts off and B: they're still covered in glue so they just stick to debris and fluff and leaves and whatever else. Vegetable oil will get them loose. Just, y'know, don't use a lot or you end up with drowned oily mice.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Locke2005 (849178)
      One caveat with poison: it doesn't kill them right away. I put rat poison in my attic to get rid of the mice that were chewing the insulation off the A/C. Eventually it worked, but not before one of the little fuckers crawled down out of the attic, into my closet, curled up in the toe of my slipper, and died. And I didn't find it until about a month later (although I did think my closet smelled funny.) Don't poison the rats unless you're comfortable with the idea of finding rat carcasses where you least exp
    • Rat poison isn't that efficient.

      Rats are able to learn. They'll end up learning that said poison is poisonous to them. (That's why lot of modern poison have very delayed effect. So that it's harder for the rat to make the connection and learn what's killing them).

      Bio-accumulation : predators higher up in the food chain are going to diet on poison-rich rats, and thus are going to poison themselves through their food.
      By using rat poison, not only are you (attempting to) kill rats. But there's a high risk that

  • by InfinityWpi (175421) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:22PM (#26834945)

    *glances at the article below this one*

    One of the editors couldn't wait to put these two together, could they?

  • Terrier dog (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nimey (114278) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:23PM (#26834965) Homepage Journal

    there's a breed called the rat terrier, not as common as it once was, but probably other terriers could do for this work. Possibly you can deal better with typical dog behaviors better than cat behaviors.

  • by SpuriousLogic (1183411) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:23PM (#26834969)
    You can get this at any hardware or garden store. Basically it is just a spray bottle full of capsaicin, which is what gives chili peppers their kick. It is commonly sold as rabbit or deer repellent sprays. Aviaries, which have huge rodent problems, will mix hot pepper powder in with bird seed because birds are not affected by it, but the rodents won't touch the seeds then. But a warning - DO NOT get this on your eyes or hands and apply it to the cables in a well ventilated area or outside. And if you put it on cables, you need to wear gloves in the future when handling them.
  • Snakes (Score:5, Funny)

    by hodagacz (948570) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .eodnezitic.> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:23PM (#26834971)

    A couple of Ball pythons in the cable runs, and those rats will be history as will anybody poking around where they're not supposed to...

    • Re:Snakes (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:30PM (#26835105)

      Is there any problem Python *can't* solve?

  • by PotatoFarmer (1250696) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:25PM (#26835005)
    Well, you could always introduce some sort of lizards to eat the rats. And then, after the lizard population explodes you could...uh, well, I'm not sure of the exact steps, but I think it all ends up with gorillas freezing to death in the winter. Or something like that.
  • by Jeremi (14640) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:25PM (#26835013) Homepage

    Mice are five times more afraid of it.

  • by Nyall (646782) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:26PM (#26835027) Homepage

    Mount their little heads on spikes.

  • I always wondered (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:28PM (#26835061)

    There HAS to be a reason why cables are usually put in conduits and/or PVC pipes. If you have bare cables lying around, you're asking for trouble.

  • Conduit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by markdavis (642305) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:31PM (#26835121)

    I know this is a strange concept, but there is this stuff called conduit. You know, that metal tube stuff that has been used in buildings for eons. That stuff that you run wire through.

    It is available in both flex and solid. You can bet all *MY* fiber runs are in steel conduit (even though all my wire stuff is not).

    BTW- I like the word "stuff".

  • by jamie (78724) * Works for Slashdot <jamie@slashdot.org> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:32PM (#26835141) Journal

    Get rid of their food source and they'll move on. Get a garbage dumpster with lids that seal. Remove trash bags from the trash every night. Vacuum the carpets every night (and tell the slob who eats at his desk to eat somewhere that the crumbs can be swept up). No food in the cupboards unless it's in jars or cans. No birdfeeder outside. And so on - use your imagination. There is no solution apart from this one, and it has to be building-wide. If there is food for them, they will return.

    And glue traps are incredibly cruel; other killing traps almost as much so. Live-trap [google.com] them and drive them (a few miles or more) to someplace green without buildings around, make them work for a living.

    The short-term solution is probably one layer of spiral cable wrap [google.com], topped with another layer of split-flex tubing [google.com].

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:36PM (#26835211) Journal
    Is it the last stand and the final gasp of RIAA lawyers trying to stop the downloads. What? you mean REAL rats? oops.
  • stop all streaming video of "ratatouille" and blog posts of rat porn, and start serving up content that rats don't like. introduce random packets of lolcat jppegs, maybe streaming video of "mrs frisby and the rats of nimh". you'll soon find the rats aren't as interested anymore at chewing into your cables to get to the content on your network, as they will find it unappealing

  • by senorpoco (1396603) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:40PM (#26835293)
    .22 air rifle, 3 Beers and 2 cans of Redbull. Make a night of it.
  • Two thoughts (Score:3, Informative)

    by Enry (630) <enry&wayga,net> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:46PM (#26835401) Journal

    My basement door doesn't exactly seal right (my goal this year is to replace it) and we used to have mice coming into the basement all the time.

    The fix was to get one of those high-frequency boxes you plug in and clicks every now and then. Ever since I put one near that door, we haven't had a mouse problem.

    Second thought. If you do decide to use snap traps or glue traps, be sure to use peanut butter instead of cheese. Cheese dries out too quickly and they never eat it. PB stays good for a long time.

    Third thought (yea I said two, here's a bonus). The very popular anticoagulant called Warfarin (AKA Coumadin) was originally used as rat poison.

  • Pied Piper (Score:5, Funny)

    by roesti (531884) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:01PM (#26835631)
    Have you considered dressing up as a minstrel and playing some music? Apparently, that's worked before.
  • TPC? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by beadfulthings (975812) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:04PM (#26835669) Journal

    I spent some time in Alabama and have a clear recollection of seeing the phone company out to paint some kind of substance on the above-ground wires. It seems that the red squirrels in that area like to chew on the insulation, and this causes problems. I asked the foreman if the stuff was poisonous, and he replied no. "It just burns the hell out of their little feet." Don't know what the stuff was or if it would be suitable for indoor cables.

    I also agree that you need to talk management into expanding your exterminating budget. Rats are unhealthy for the human inhabitants of your facility.

  • by nsayer (86181) * <nsayer@kMONETfu.com minus painter> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:08PM (#26835721) Homepage

    You were probably kidding, but I'd like to point out that our local humane society has rules against adopting out animals for the purpose of pest management or hunting.

  • by purduephotog (218304) <hirsch@nOSpAm.inorbit.com> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:12PM (#26835799) Homepage Journal

    If you've got that much of a rat problem ... get some metal conduit and run your cables in that. Splice boxes can be anything.- keep'em suspended in the middle of the room or cover with glue.

    But you've got more of a food problem than anything- the rats won't stick around without a food supply and it sounds like they like what you're serving there.

    If all else ... just start putting down rat poison everywhere outside. It'll take your squirrels out too....

  • by smellsofbikes (890263) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @07:04PM (#26836609) Journal

    I have/had a similar set of problems.
    1. I've owned pet rats and know what they can eat.
    2. I currently own house rabbits.
    3. I have a recurring mouse problem.

    So lemme sum up. A rabbit can eat through a 14 gauge stranded copper cord of the sort you'd use for your refrigerator. Guess how I figured that out? Since it's starting at one side it doesn't ever cross both the live and neutral, so it doesn't get electrocuted. It can eat every cord off the back of a computer in under three minutes. Guess how I figured that out? A rat doesn't have quite the toothy abilities of a rabbit but it's fairly close. They can certainly cut through thin copper.
    Neither the rabbits nor the rats -- nor my dog -- have been bothered by sprays intended to keep animals from digging/chewing on things. The super hot pepper-derived stuff stopped the rabbits but not the rats, and my dog loves the stuff. The sour/bitter stuff didn't slow any of them down even slightly.
    Plastic split conduit doesn't even slow them down. Even when soaked in bitter or hot do-not-chew stuff.
    Rats can chew through the side of a lead pipe and crawl through a hole the size of a US quarter. I don't have evidence that they can chew through copper pipe but I wouldn't be surprised.
    Reducing food doesn't work. Once they're established, you can't keep the place clean enough. I have no idea how wild mice manage to find nutrition but they do. We keep all our food in sealed containers and vacuum and roomba every other day, and neither the dog nor the sometimes cat deter the mice in the slightest. The mice do, however, drive the dog and the cat completely insane, so if you want to have your predator madly clawing at the wall where it can either hear or smell a mouse, go for it. Both dogs and clawed cats can dig through standard drywall, and then you have a repair to do. (and they remember it and keep trying. Pitbulls are very, very retentive dogs and she'll dig through 12mm thick plywood to get to where she remembers a mouse or rat or squirrel to have hidden, once, six months ago.)

    hate to say it but d-con and other awful poisons are probably the best way to go, as far as eradication, and flexible conduit to protect the lines you can't easily replace.

    As I said elsewhere, glue traps are probably more evil than poison, and oftentimes live traps are as well, because you don't check them often enough and the animal dies of dehydration. And if you're really lucky the animal will manage to drag the glue trap into a place you can't get to and if you're young and still have good ears you can hear its little high-pitched screams for a couple days before it does die.

  • by buss_error (142273) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @07:39PM (#26837111) Homepage Journal

    Had a customer with a motorcycle shop that had a rat problem. His dog (Jack Russel) went nuts one day, and the owner pulled out a sawed off shotgun and promptly put a hole through the wall.

    Exit one rat, four servers, a 440 volt three phase power line, air conditioning condenser, and five twinax runs. Add to damages the vet bill (pellets hit the dog), the doctor bill (pellets hit the owner), and my added expense to replace the servers, bring them from cold to hot, re-running the twin-ax cables, and the $5,000.00 USD (and this was back 15 years or so ago, call it about 8,000 USD today) for, and I quote:

    "Extraordinary charge recovery for work location
    in a free fire zone without body armor or hearing
    protection".

    He paid it.

    The rat? We buried it without honors or marking it's grave.

If you're not careful, you're going to catch something.

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