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We don’t have rats. We have the occasional Kangaroo Rat, which is adorable, but smells awful and makes a giant nest, so we let the dogs kill them if they come around. Dogs can’t resist them. Other than those, and the occasional pet rat, I’ve never even seen one.

Mice do enough damage, and those voles. The cats do a good job of that though.
 

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We have pack rats. They LOVE electrical wiring from cars. I've had a couple thousand dollars of damage done. One took up living in the frame of my truck. He died there of poison and his mummified remains were still there when I gave the truck to my BIL. Field mice might be OK but I've never been around one. Pack rats are from Hades.
 

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Oh, we have those too @bsms. They are awful bad. I don’t know why I didn’t think of them. They ruin vehicles if given the chance. Dogs go crazy for them too.
 

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Rodents can spread diseases like hantavirus and damage food, living spaces and wiring etc. Encouraging them by feeding will lead to infestation and health problems. Put your treats on large sticky traps and get rid of those bad boys!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #547 ·
Rodents can spread diseases like hantavirus and damage food, living spaces and wiring etc. Encouraging them by feeding will lead to infestation and health problems. Put your treats on large sticky traps and get rid of those bad boys!!
Rats are subject to a lot of bad press and bias. My two are roof rats.
LOL, humans can and do spread diseases too.




To be clear, I'm not against anyone humanely killing animals if they believe it is necessary.
There is no danger of damage or problems with these rats, however. Roof rats have a very small habitat, often ranging no more than 100 yards from their home nest. The shed where I keep my horse supplies has no electricity and no insulation. There are no cars parked there long term. There are no human habitations within their range.

I believe it is my responsibility to keep horse feed in rat proof containers, so things they could chew on are in metal garbage cans or thick plastic bins. They don't chew on my leather. They do like plastic and wood to sharpen their teeth, and sometimes nibble the edges off buckets.
When I kept bottles with liquid in them, they would try to chew into those, so I put them away. But I realized they were trying to find water sources, so now they have a water dish, and they drink from there.

I don't provide their main food source, only treats. Possibly because they have such a nice environment with a dry nest out of the rain, they defend the territory and don't let other rats move in. There also is not a lot of food available, other than occasional treats, so they have to go out and forage for their own insects, plants and seeds.

The main problems with rat infestations come from when people leave food readily available. Of course if food comes easy, they will eat it and move their relatives in. In cities like New York, they often do not require that garbage is put in cans, and set bags out inches away from sewer grates where rats can come up.
Rats in these conditions often have diseases, eating garbage and rotting food. Rats living in natural conditions are as clean as other animals.


I learned about how great rats are after I bottle fed a couple of orphaned roof rats several years ago, and raised them to adulthood. Then I released them into a natural habitat. Wild rats are wild animals, and do not become tame like domesticated rats.

Like other animals that are breaking down your apple trees or digging holes in your yard, they can be pests. But I think people also should realize rats are very intelligent. Scientists trained them to drive little cars, and I think they drive better than most of my neighbors.

They also show empathy. When scientists taught them what it felt like to be in a tank of water, and then gave them a chance to either eat a treat or save a friend rat from being in a tank of water, they chose to release their friend.
So I'm pro rat, and don't see why a person would kill them if they are not causing any problems.
Rats like to be clean and bathe themselves like cats. They stay clean unless living in a very dirty environment such as a big city. People don't like them, but all they are doing is trying to survive and using their brains to do so, like us. When you get to know them, you find out their personality is like a small dog, and they are very affectionate.

When it comes down to it, they're just cute little animals.



 

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Discussion Starter · #549 ·
Thinking today about how looking back to see how much progress horses have made is so beneficial. I was recalling a ride with my poor friend, where she was riding Cass and ponying Brave.

I've been having so many good rides on Hero lately. Even this bucking earlier this year was minor compared to how he used to be when we first started several years ago.
(What a silly song...no one in their right mind would rather know horses when they were more poorly behaved, or people for that matter).

The ride with Cass and Brave was perhaps the pinnacle of Hero's worst bucking. The little thing he does in the clip above, where he balances on the front and then kicks out the hinds... On this particular ride, we went onto a narrow trail, and I was in front on Hero. I am not exaggerating, Hero did that at least forty times over about 1/8th of a mile. My friend was sincerely worried about the state of my back. My thighs were very sore the next day.

I've had people think I am exaggerating when I talk about horses I've dealt with. For me that would be counter productive. I struggle with confidence the same as everyone else. If I were to imagine that horses were worse than they were, I'd be terrified. It's bad enough in plain, brutal honesty.

Going through those times, I was glad Hero did not have the speed or talent that Amore had, because her bucking was so much more difficult to ride. Since Hero had such a refractory issue with bucking, it was very good that it was something that could be ridden through, and that I could keep his head up.
For me it is so beneficial to think back, and see that yes, he has toned down his spooking and reactions so much, and that he has come so far. It occurred to me that I wouldn't call him green anymore, and his good and sensible rides are far outnumbering ones where he has issues. Progress is a beautiful thing.
 

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This is so very true, and I need to make a point think this way. While I appreciate my horses when they do well (and I let them know) I also tend to dwell on the mistakes or bad behavior.

Yesterday my riding friend commented on how much better Tucker is doing lately- he is more calm and willing to walk quietly on trail now instead of always rushing and being worried. It brought to my attention how much progress we have actually made. When I brought them home in May I was afraid to ride him. Now we ride out all over the place-alone and with friends.

Thanks for this!
 
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