Is There A Plague Of Rats In The UK?

 In Health

Is there a plague of rats in the UK? I had to ask that question after hearing rats in my sewer pipes in the dead of night. I was aware that a rat nest had caused problems for one neighbour and another had a rat pop up in the toilet. Yes, that does happen. Who is responsible? Google seemed undecided so I called Wessex Water to tell them the rats were in the sewer. Did that make them responsible? Nobody was saying but they booked my drains for an inspection.

Into the Drains

I had to play my part. Firstly, to find the exit manhole from the property. This was under the waste bin and I had to use a knife to clear the joint around the concrete cover. Using two keys borrowed from a neighbour, I lifted the heavy cover to one side. The visible chamber and pipes, fortunately, were in good condition. Leaving the chamber open, I used a block of wood to shut off the pipe to our ensuite toilet. The rat sounds stopped but we could not use this toilet.

Splat the Rat

I looked into the chamber every time I walked by. On one occasion, a rat appeared. He, or she, virtually filled the four inch sewer pipe. Ignoring me, it leaped out of the chamber and grabbed a twig; I realised that it was nesting! It was far too quick for me to kill. I played ‘splat the rat’ at Stourpaine Fete and I was useless. One nil to the rat.

The Ratman

Luke, from Wessex Water, proved to know his rats. He ran a camera down the pipes and found no rodents. But, it confirmed what I suspected; that no rat gates were fitted when our waste pipes were joined to the main sewer. This meant that the rats were free to use our drains as a rat run. Luke baited the chamber, put back the cover and returned one week later. I think he was surprised that all the bait had gone, droppings were everywhere but no dead bodies.

The Ratflap

In the week I was waiting for Luke, I did my research. Our exit drain needed a one way pass; sewage out but blocked to rats coming back up from the sewer. The Google reviews were clear; avoid plastic. I had to buy a stainless steel ratflap for £104, and it duly arrived. Pushed into the exit pipe, the cylinder suspends a loose, vertical flap. This allows sewage out but when a rat pushes the flap backwards, the curved flap falls against its frame and the rat cannot proceed.

Is there a plague of rats in the UK?

I think there is but for me, success; no more rats. But that is after weeks of a nauseating stench as the rat bodies decayed. Baiting the rats is a mistake as they crawl into the system and die. Many stories on the internet describe the futile and often very expensive attempts to find the dead rats. I thought of asking Zuri but nobody seems sure whether rats were here in 2200 BC. That said, I bet she could splat a rat!

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