Rat problem on Cape York

Submitted: Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 21:15
ThreadID: 111200 Views:4841 Replies:9 FollowUps:11
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I was talking with a bloke today who advised that I keep a light on under my 4bee because rats get in and chew on the electrics. Can anyone confirm this or is it just rubbish. Heading that way in June
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Reply By: peterdre - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 21:32

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 21:32
No such problems up there last August but I guess it depends where you stay. We stayed at Loyalty Beach Campsite near Seisia.
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Reply By: Member - mark I - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 21:42

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 21:42
I can confirm that rats do love the wiring in my tractors here on the Northern Rivers, have also found a rats nest in the engine bay in my car with fresh babies, but no damage. Keeping the bonnet up over night might be best if security is not a problem. The damage to the tractors has run into a few thousand dollars. Some people have said to keep moth balls in areas where they like to make a nest. Its usually in warm places like an engine bay or transmission tunnel and usually if the vehicle sits in one place for a few days.
The light on might be a good idea.
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Reply By: vk1dx - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 22:45

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 22:45
Grab a couple of smelly, hanging things that go in the toilet and place them under the bonnet. We haven't had any damages since and they are cheap. Maybe we have been lucky or they work. Cheap anyway. Can't recall their name.
AnswerID: 546357

Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 23:39

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 23:39
I agree. Camphor blocks under the engine bay will do the trick.

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Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 00:05

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 00:05
Had a problem on the farm with rats getting into the MiL's Camry and eating the air cleaner and nesting in the box.

Pest control man said to hand naphthalene blocks in the engine bay - bugger me no more rats. He reckons they don't like the smell and it also interferes with the way insects breathe (apparently through holes in their shells/exoskeletons!)

Also hung them through out the house when we spent 7 months going around OZ. Came home to a 'pleasant' smelling you with no bugs, creepy crawlies or mice.

Cheap, no hassle cause there contained in a yellow cage and if your a Grey Nomad it will also help you smell like my grandads dressing gown. LOL


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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 23:56

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 23:56
Hope he didn't say naphthalene Anthony. Nasty stuff.
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Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Monday, Feb 23, 2015 at 00:53

Monday, Feb 23, 2015 at 00:53
Yeah - napthalene flakes was what he said - all I could get was a yellow thing with 4 balls in it. When I tried, the hardware said you can't buy flakes anymore.

Worked a treat!


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Reply By: Hoyks - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 23:04

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 23:04
They most certainly do. Anywhere up that way where there is rainforest and campers that the white tailed rats see as an easy meal ticket.

Talking to a ranger at Tinaroo Dam, they had a Triton and a Navara get taken out on tilt trays after white tailed rats ate the electrics. The ranger at Chili Beach warned us about them too.
I had our toiletry bag stolen stolen from my camp, I found the soap tray and the shaving cream with the lid chewed off the tin. They weren't keen on the tooth paste for some reason.

Years ago I had mates on exercise in the jungle just out of Tully and the rats would eat straight through the side of their packs to get to the food inside. One bloke had his ear lobe bitten.

The white tailed rat doesn't like light, so some people set up some LED strips to provide some illumination. I bought an Osram Spylux battery powered movement activated light and stuck it under the car with the little magnet on the back, 2 would have been better.
We had some visitors during the night and the light would come on and they would leave. A bit of light and good house keeping and they shouldn't have a reason to hang around.


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Follow Up By: Hoyks - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 14:21

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 14:21
They aren't your common brown rat, but a native. The suckers can grow to around 1kg

"These rats are also well known for their ability to raid campsites and houses. They can cause significant damage – for the early settlers to the region, the rats were constantly disturbing and depleting food stores. This often meant the workers had to go without.

The Giant White-tailed Rat loves to chew all sorts of materials such as plastic, rubber, electrical wires, leather, tin and canvas. They will often bite cans open and consume the contents. Some people even believe the rats can read the labels! They have been known to damage and disable vehicles too by biting through fan belts and water hoses."

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Reply By: Member Andys Adventures - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 23:09

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 23:09
Have not heard of any problem up the Cape, but their was a mice plague out on the Cooper Creek and around Birdsville a couple of years ago where a lot of vehicles had wiring chewed.

Been up the Cape a few time now and never had a problem, But a phone call to one of the roadhouses would give you better advice, as you won't know till after the wet season. And by June there would be plenty of people who have already been their to find out.

Cheers Andy

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Reply By: BunderDog - Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 23:59

Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 at 23:59
Chilli Beach was the only place we have seen them.
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Reply By: Member - Tony F8 - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 09:27

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 09:27
I have been going to the Cape since the eighties, and have never had a problem with rats. A tidy camp is the key to keeping them at bay, and with that I mean not to throw the crust from your sandwiches, banana skins etc into the scrub around your site. We were once camped and did not shut the rear door, woke to find a kangaroo rat having a good crack at tub of butter after having a go at the bananas.
AnswerID: 546376

Follow Up By: Member - abqaiq - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 09:58

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 09:58
There was a problem with rats/mice recently at Woy Woy, NSW. Our Troopy was at the mechanics garage for awhile. The rodents chewed up some of the hoses and a bit of the electrical wiring sleeve, even tried to chew the rubber covered AC tubing. Nothing serious for us, just some simple tubing replacements, vacuum hoses windshield washer tubing, etc.

A lady who's car they also service had $2500s rodent damage to her car overnight! They chewed up a major portion of the wiring harness, new ECU needed!

Sounds like the toilet scent trick is a cheap deterrent. Most animals don't like the smell/taste of diesel either, spray on possibly?
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Reply By: Ron N - Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 12:21

Sunday, Feb 22, 2015 at 12:21
Rodents are a constant problem, no matter where you are. I live 5kms from the CBD and we have a constant problems with rats.
As soon as a house is knocked down nearby, you can see rats scurrying along the tops of the boundary fences, even in daylight.
They learn to avoid Ratsak baits, we have had most success with the wax blocks.

As far as vehicles are concerned, rodents seek food, protection from predators via enclosed small dark spaces, warmth, and nest-building spots, in that order.
Thus vehicles carrying food are the equivalent of a KFC store to kids, to rodents.

You can do a lot to discourage rodents by ensuring there's no food scraps left about, by placing stainless steel scourer balls in orifices where they might enter, and by placing lights in dark areas.

Very few of the rodent repellers, by way of strong smells, are 100% effective. Mothballs are probably the best, but be aware napthalene vapours are considered moderately toxic via inhalation by the U.S. EPA. - so you don't want to install mothballs in any ventilation system that provides air to the vehicle interior.

Rodents live in sewers and rubbish dumps, so potent smells have little effect on them.
What does frighten them is urine smells of predators. On that basis, a weak ammonia solution probably has as much effect as anything else.

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 546392

Follow Up By: Bazooka - Monday, Feb 23, 2015 at 00:07

Monday, Feb 23, 2015 at 00:07
Snake poo's the answer apparently Ron. Unfortunately Colesworth and SCA don't stock it and no-one seems to know how much you need to scatter or how long it lasts.

What happened to their natural predators I wonder.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Monday, Feb 23, 2015 at 01:13

Monday, Feb 23, 2015 at 01:13
Yeah, there's the answer, Bazooka. Carry along your own pet python as a passenger - and the rodent problem is fixed! [;-)
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Monday, Feb 23, 2015 at 01:23

Monday, Feb 23, 2015 at 01:23
I must confess, I've never actually sighted snake poo, nor would I even know what it looks like! - despite having lived and worked in the bush most of my life, and having dealt with and dispatched more than a few snakes!
Early childhood days were spent in the swamp country of East Wanneroo, where Tiger Snakes ruled, and I got chased by more than one! Don't recall ever sighting Tiger snake poo, either?

I was under the impression that snakes rarely crap, because their digestive juices are so effective!
I've never seen goanna poo, either, for that matter, and I wonder what that looks like, as well?

Maybe I've actually stumbled over heaps of snake poo, and just didn't recognise it? If I had've, I probably would have crapped myself a lot more than the snake ever did!
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Monday, Feb 23, 2015 at 12:13

Monday, Feb 23, 2015 at 12:13
I think it looks a bit like bird poo.

When the kids were little we took them to a small-time zoo that did a snake show. Part of the deal was mum or dad (guess which one ended up doing it!) could hold a python for the kids to get a close-up look.

My mate did his bit for kids education but was a bit nervous himself and held the snake a bit tight. It crapped on his jeans, Looked exactly like bird poo - white liquid with some dark spotty bits.

Makes sense, I suppose, given their common ancestry.


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Follow Up By: Nifty1 - Monday, Feb 23, 2015 at 14:44

Monday, Feb 23, 2015 at 14:44
Well I can tell you about Blue Tongue Lizard poo! It's enormous for the size of the creature, and it's black and white. Say 3 inches long and half an inch in diameter. Dunno if it puts the rats off though
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Reply By: 858 - Wednesday, Mar 04, 2015 at 18:22

Wednesday, Mar 04, 2015 at 18:22
Thanks for the info folks it will help
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