If, on the outside chance you've had a rat problem at home, and it was ongoing for years, and you had a flair for zoology, you might notice, as did I, that rats come in many sizes, and have a spectrum of behaviors unique to family groupings of the prolific SOBs. They had to go, and the first few things I did didn't work. They were treading around the glue traps I put out, and were shrewd at stealing the bait off spring traps, such as seen on the Three Stooges.
For a while I resorted to using 'humane' no-kill box traps, to rid the home front of the rodents, and this threw a hefty pipe wrench into a former world veiw of 'humane,' but the traps made it feasible to observe the creatures, albiet in captivity. Much like the way the police love taking mug shots of drunk-driving celebrities, a rat in a humane box trap doesn't look it's smartest.
For the fast skinny on rats I caught in mechanical boxes, there were limpid, quiet rats. At their extreme, they passed away within a half hour of being caught. Like a brash state motto in New England. "Live free or die." Any schmuck would conclude these are gentle-hearted rats. Same as people who don't seek revenge, and either kill them selves or accept loss, when the things most valued are stolen. No other explanation is possible.
Alright, maybe they were half starved to death before they took the initiative to find food in my ugly kitchen. Needs modernized in the worst way. In any case, limpid rats appeared docile. Well mannered. Civilized and in crisis. They are cute, and this made my end of the deal such a ball buster.
There are ordinary, mediocre, average size rats, and like the middle class, are both diverse and non-descript at the same time. If they were people, many would work for the city, or in a social service. Others would be good with their hands, and apply themselves to some type of trade. Since it's rats, though, you'll notice things like articulated clicking sounds, said to be a form of communication. Word has it that their pheramones inform communities more practically than CBS. Not unlike jail birds, their response to confinement may range from despair to grudging compliance. Some of these buggers are more aggressive than others, ranging from interactive to pugilistic, and they don't all look alike. I hate when bastards fail to notice multiplicities. Then there are the rats that remind me most of Godzilla.
I'll drop this catagory to the one that gave my worst experience of all, but not before mentioning that I was getting muscular rats, body builders, if you will, with legs the diameter of a Swiss model's upper arm. But with muscle definition. Picture Charles Atlas shrunk to about a foot long, going sideways. That's not including tail. The rat that changed my outlook the most was a screamer. It was the loudest screamer of them all. Few rats do it, and of those that do, screaming is as much the personality as doing crosswords in pen.
Three in morning I got hungry and wagged tail downstairs. Earlier, I had set some of the box traps, and placed them near the holes the rats were partial to, but I forgot to place the last of the three traps. It was in the kitchen, since that was where the rats were getting in, and I left a trap, carefully set, on the kitchen table, forgetting to put it someplace else. Some rats can leap like ballerinas.
The screaming began while I was half way through frying eggs, and right then the simplicity of it was altered. It made jangling yokes and whites seem like the Ipcress File. It was a paralyzing . This fucker was a barbarian. I forgot about having left the the trap on the table, two feet from the stove in my shit hole 'kitchenette." I hate fucking kichenettes. It was inconceivable that a rat could make that much noise, and it took at least a minute to understand that the worst fucker I ever saw was caught in a trap, just at an odd angle to the salt shaker and fake posies. Imagine getting a suspicious package from the Middle East. OTOH, I was not in a great position to judge character or luck.
The rat was impressive for ferocity. Right off the top, a fellow like me would never be as bold in the hoosegow as my prisoner was in my trap. I'd probably be the the grudgingly compliant type,given my history. Maybe I'm more limpid than even that. It was a much stronger type of animal than myself, gram for pound. And the reminder of what people are: technicians. I have an air rifle. How fucking ennobling to shoot caged animals with one. What I had been doing all along had been bringing me down, in spite of practical necessity. Along with the specious humanity of a box trap, the best way to dispose of the rats was to shoot them, through the wire and thin sheet metal, and throw their matted buns in the trash.
Pest control, over a goodly stretch of time, was a spiritual downward trajectory. Not far to fall, the biggest rat did the best job making sure I knew the order of ethics, relativity, courage, and power. The screaming was an act of combat, and not from fear. It looked at me the whole time it made every possible attempt to break free of the trap, and came dangerously close to succeeding. The traps were flimsy. The rat hated my guts, and communicated this. After a few scary minutes of trying to escape, it exhausted itself, and lay back upright against the back of the cage, like a boxer covering up, but it was looking me right in the eye, with all the hate that can be mustered, irrespective of size or species. Who could blame the nasty vermin for saying "A prick like you needs a gun."
It was the big rat that started me putting out rat poison. I didn't want to go that route because it's bad environmentalism, strewing poison who knows where, and the crap accumulates. But it was the expedient to less emotional trouble from shooting animals in a cage. Using poison was against my principles, and I compromised, as the middle class so often does. A solution to my problem, it removes from eradication the sight of what is going on. I'm sending out a public apology, and affirmations, to the rats. They were eloquent.