Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Rat

Before I explain the title, I need to tell you about the design of our house.

It is a most peculiar house which was half built as a billiard hall with an apartment upstairs but we have converted the downstairs into a living/dining room, a study, a kitchen and utility room, downstairs bathroom and a dog room.

Upstairs there is another living room, three bedrooms and a bathroom with a wrap around balcony and another balcony.

The roof is the interesting part. It is made of wood with asphalt material on top of it, and sort of balances on a piece of wood in each corner and has a gap of a few feet between the roof and the wall.

Like this:

Most Dominican houses are built like this as it allows all of the hot air to escape and keeps the house cool. Mind you most have zinc roofs and not plywood.

The roof is actually very attractive from underneath - very rustic, apart from the edge bits where it is sort of coming apart and a few holes in it where the internet man walked on it in hob nail boots to fix the 30 foot aerial on the roof.

Anyway, me being British I thought people should have  a bit of privacy in the bedroom and bathroom so when Danilo was designing and finishing off the house before we moved in, I asked him to make the walls on the inside go up to the roof and the ones on the outside still leave a little gap for the hot air to escape.

Here is the little gap at the side of the guest bedroom

The rest of the upstairs has had the gap filled with wood.

Apart from between our bedroom and the guest room - which means that noises, any noises from one bedroom travel to the other.  It wasn't boarded between the two rooms as we were waiting for wardrobes to be fitted, which they now have been for over 3 years.

Here is what it looks like from our room:

And this is from the guest room the other side of the wardrobes.

So now you get the picture, I can begin.

Last night I went to bed and Danilo came downstairs to watch TV. When I go to bed I go to sleep and if there is someone next to me watching TV at Dominican volume and commenting on the programme, which is usually the History Channel or National Geographic, and asking me questions all the time, jabbing me with his elbow if I don't answer, I get grouchy. Extremely grouchy. So the law is when I go to bed, if he wants to keep watching TV, he comes downstairs to watch it.

I am lying in bed in the dark, writing Chapter 5 (yes have done 1-4) of Book Number Two in my head, and I was listening to the noise outside so that I could describe nights in the campo. The crickets squeaking, the limpkins squawking and the occasional noise from the roof. We have always wondered what the noise on the roof was, as nothing can get onto the roof from the house, so it must be a chicken or a bird.

Then there was a noise of something falling in the bedroom. I assumed it was the cat or the puppy, but they didn't answer when I called, so I got out of bed and turned the light on and there it was. A rat. It was on top of our wardrobe, between us and the guest room, and ran around on top of the wall and looked at me.

Now, Dominican rats are not like British rats. I have lived in houses in London where rats in the garden were common place and I think they say that in London you are never more than 10 feet, or is it yards from a rat. British rats are big with thick tails.

They also have very very big teeth and are really appalling. Think bubonic plague. Think around 12 inches long.

However, Dominican rats are actually cute as rats go. Long whiskers, much smaller, not as dark and like halfway the size of a British mouse and a British rat. I googled for a picture of a Dominican rat but I didn't get a picture of the rat which there was in the bedroom, all that came up were pictures of Dominican men - so called "love rats".

At last I found a picture. See they are quite cute as rats go.

Anyway I ran downstairs and said to Danilo: "Rat in the bedroom"and explained where it was. He went upstairs but it had gone, which isn't surprising as it has the whole upstairs to explore, plus balconies and can run around on the tops of all of the walls and if needed duck inside the gaps in the concrete blocks which the walls are made up. But unless rats jump 30 feet to the ground (do they?) it can't get out.

Danilo was his usual blasé self. "All houses have rats. It is no problem. A rat is a rat." Well call me a wuss but I really don't want a rat in my bedroom and where there is one rat there will be more. I think they must be a new arrival as never seen them before and the cats catch everything that moves but they have never brought in a rat. I am deducing it could be linked to Albert's arrival and his habit of eating all day long either in his bedroom or watching the TV and having zero concept of not throwing food or wrappers or fruit peelings on the floor or under the bed.

The trouble is we have visitors arriving in 12 days time who will be staying in the guest room, and I am not sure people from overseas will be quite as chilled at the idea of having a rat watching them from the top of the wardrobe. Especially as the people coming - an American and her Dominican fiancé  have not seen each other for months. I can just see a whole gathering of rats on top of the wardrobe gawking at the activity in the guest room.

So I have to solve the problem. Solution one is to get rid of rats. Now being a kind soul I don't necessarily want to kill them and won't use poison with dogs, cats and people in the house. I can't stand the noise that rat traps make, nor the mess, so I have bought the famous Dominican product - The End to the Rat - or even, The Rat Meets a Sticky End.

This is a sticky pad, which is apparently super sticky and has some sort of impregnated smell which rats love. So once they stand on it they get stuck. I asked the man in the shop what I should do when the rat stuck to the pad. He said you just kill it. And when I asked how I was supposed to do that he said just use a machete. I will ask Danilo to take rat and pad outside and unstick it and let it go.

In the meantime I will ask the carpenter to put the wood up between the two rooms and hope the rat stays in our room if the sticky pad does not work. Danilo assures me I will get used to him/them running around the top of the wall, and says they are actually quite nice company at night. Right. I am not allowed dogs in the bedroom, but rats and chickens are fine!!


  1. Oh, the humanity! I absolutely shudder with horror. I don't know from British rats, but I can tell you that NY rats are the most vile creatures on all of this earth, and so yea, maybe Dominican rats aren't quite as horrid. But a rat is a rat is a rat. The sticky pads do work, but the rats must be killed, bc otherwise they die a slow and lingering death of starvation and dehydration, which I don't think is a bad thing, but others differ. Buena suerte!

    1. Not allowed to use sticky pads so rat still there!

  2. Grrrr, rats, I wouldn't sleep just knowing one was in my bedroom! Good luck with the trap. Maybe take one of your cats to the bedroom and hopefully they will be able to track it.

  3. OMG, I would have died with fright! At least the creature I found looking at me in my bed was only a gecko. Looking at the gap in the roof I'd be far more concerned about porinous spiders and snakes!

    1. have spiders - tarantulas and snakes but neither in the bedroom. Bedroom home to the rat, bats and scorpions!