ideas for mice and rats

Submitted: Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011 at 18:47
ThreadID: 88519 Views:6104 Replies:12 FollowUps:13
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hi all, we head off next week for birdsville, red centre etc for 8 weeks. Friends have just arrived back from similar and warned be prepared for the plague. They were camped on the cooper and had to sleep in their car , not the tent ,because of the rats. they woke during the night to hear them coming up through the engine bay trying to get the food. Next morning they found electrical wiring, radiator hoses etc, to the value of over $600 destroyed. They have numerous other stories and ended up keeping all food on roof rack. We only have a camper trailer and wont keep them out. People have suggested citronella oil or snake poo around the camp. Any other ideas?: please
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Reply By: Marksom - Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011 at 19:05

Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011 at 19:05
Hi P, Mark from Ballina, just got back from central Oz last month, had mouse problems over there, we sprinkled napthalene round base, took mouse traps incase they got into car or cupboards, make sure food is in good containers, dont leave garbage out, etc.
AnswerID: 462814

Follow Up By: lancie49 - Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011 at 19:27

Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011 at 19:27
With regards to the napthalene, we had heard about that and tried it at Kalgerra a month ago.
Didn't work I'm afraid. We even did a test by circling a bread crust with the flakes and they wandered right through it.

Concerning damage under the bonnet, it was suggested to me that the warmth and dark is what attracts them into the engine compartment.
I was told to leave the bonnet up. I did that and had no issues.
Who's to say if I would have had issues if I left the bonnet down though.

FollowupID: 736608

Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011 at 19:58

Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011 at 19:58
Mark, where exactly did you strike the rodents and were they rats or mice?

In 2 weeks time I will be camped out in the West Mac ranges for a few nights.
Maximum rodent protection I'll have will be a very small lightweight tent as I will be on foot.
FollowupID: 736610

Follow Up By: Marksom - Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 08:33

Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 08:33
Hi Mark Tamworth, Mark Ballina here again, jeez pesky little varmints, we only seen little field mice, no rats.We stayed at Glen Helen Resort, none there? Kings Canyon Resort had heaps, have Jayco Dove ob, only 2 got in via the wife cleaning the butane cooker inside the van, stow aways jumped out, done a tap dance & scarpered outside, thank christ. Heard heaps of squeals thru the night from tenters, some had holes chewed thru. We didnt let it stop the trip or fun. Talked to hikers doing that walk from West Mac to Alice, they didnt leave food in tent, had good containers & tins, assume you having the food drop at points....A thousand suggestions for deterents, just enjoy the trip......
FollowupID: 736628

Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 11:13

Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 11:13
Thanks Mark, walked 80km on the track last year with no problems, just slept out under the starts, doing the next 80km end next week.
Will definitely take the tent this time and hopefully have trees to hang the packs from.
FollowupID: 736649

Reply By: Grungle - Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011 at 19:20

Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011 at 19:20
Strychnine ->

We used to use it around a piggery may years ago but may be banned now.

In all honesty though, why would you risk the damage if you are so worried. Are you honestly going to be baiting for 8 weeks to keep them away? What about the native animals?

I for one would not risk my rig and camper - especially baiting with snake poo!

Good luck.

AnswerID: 462817

Follow Up By: Shaker - Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 09:49

Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 09:49
Exactly, & who's going to catch & squeeze the snakes anyway??

FollowupID: 736640

Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011 at 19:43

Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011 at 19:43

We have just returned from the Cooper, Birdsville and the Simpson. We were told that there were still rats on the northern side of the Cooper, so camped on the southern side. The first camp site on the southern side was free of all rodents and we felt quite pleased with that.

Next stop Birdsville and again no problems at all. Then out into the Simpson for 3 nights. First night at Annandale, north of the Eyre Creek Crossing point and again did not see one rodent.

Next camp on the banks of Eyre Creek, and what a perfect location it was......until dust, then out came the rats! Not much fun during the night, with them on the swag and running behind our headboard.

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For such a very quaint location, the rats put a real dampener to the spot. Back into Birdsville and there was a local in the Park advising us and others to open the bonnet at night to stop the rats from doing any damage to wiring etc. We did this each night and the first night, not on rat footprint over our dusty engine back, even though we did see them near the camp kitchen. Doing the same the next night, I was very surprised to see footprints under the bonnet the next morning, so just as well we did this.

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Back down to the Cooper for 2 more nights, again on the southern side, but in a different location. As we were staying longer this time, we put the tent up and we had visitors during the night, and on the second night chewed a very small hole about the size of a pea in the tent (I was not very happy about that)

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There is only so much that you can do, but to save any damage to your vehicle, lift the bonnet each night, as it will not be a cosy location for the little buggers.

Have a great trip and if you are able, make sure that you visit the Cooper Creek Ferry over the Birdsville Track, for me being the highlight of the trip.


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AnswerID: 462820

Follow Up By: muffin man - Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011 at 20:58

Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011 at 20:58
We recently camped on the Northern side and had plenty of rats. No damage done and interesting point about the bonnet, would never have thought of that, and I was concerned about the many things they could chew.
Only annoyance was at night they for some reason wanted to climb the tent. This would wake us but a short jab and they were gone for a while.
Before setting camp we sought advice from the ferry operators and they reckon there were plenty of rats both sides.
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Reply By: Member - Joe n Mel n kids (FNQ - Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011 at 20:01

Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011 at 20:01
are you serious ?? Snake poo ??
Collecting it would be fun

Maybe eat them, they would be very clean and healthy having only eaten seeds, grass ect, it would mean you have very fresh food and would not need to carry any meat, they would soon work it out and keep well clear of you ...
It works for Shrek, 1/2 the worlds poorer people and Bear Gryllis .....

On the Syricnine (however you spell it) DONT even think it or go anyware near it, i doubt you could get any but some older farmers do still have it but it is very nasty stuff ......

Ok i will share an idea that i used many years ago, it is "extream" and it "may" work but is a bit risky, i got a car ign coil, condenser and few other bits and made up a system that set off a nice spark every second, basically had the earth of the coil to ground and the HV to the bumper of the car, the car having rubber tyres it was insulated UNTIL something touched it and completed the circuit to ground and ZAP, ZAP, ZAP it went off, exactly like an electric fence, you could actually use one of them i guess .... so why did i do it, i had a workshop and the mongral dog from over the road kepf pi$$ing on the wheels of my customers cars and it was gross and stunk, at wits end after many complaints i tried this out and it was AWSOME, we hid and watched it come bolting accross the road thinking we had gone, sniffed around the cars, nose proudly pointed to the sky whilst cocking up a leg and let it rip .... words cant explain how funny it was it howled, yelped, squeeled and everything in between and all we could see was a cloud of dust and a fading "yelp, yelp" ......... sorry but i had to share it, yes if any person touches it they will get zapped but it is funny
AnswerID: 462827

Follow Up By: The Landy - Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 11:59

Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 11:59
That made laugh....

Good write up on the roll cloud BTW....

Ceers, Bazx..
FollowupID: 736650

Follow Up By: The Landy - Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 11:59

Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 11:59
That made laugh....

Good write up on the roll cloud BTW....

Cheers, Baz..
FollowupID: 736651

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011 at 21:12

Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011 at 21:12
We did a trip to Marree in late June, and camped at Moongarra Channels & Birdsville 'van park, and while there were rats at Moongarra, they didn't do any damage, except chew our shade cloth flooring.

The mice at Muloorina & Claytons were more entertainment than a nuisance.

However, a friend from down the Diamantina didn't use his 80 series for some weeks, then did a trip to Townsville, and almost cooked his engine on return trip. Rats had chewed the small coolant hoses that run to the turbo. Some thousands of $$$$ repairs for sake of a $4.50 hose.

As well as leaving the bonnet up when parked, we wondered if a brew of chillis might stop the rodents. Boil up a kg or so of chillis, in litre or two of water, and spray this over the engine, hoses wiring etc. If it didn't stop the rats, would still make for a "hot" engine!!!

I've been working on a station down the Diamantina over past 4 months, and while the rats are bad, haven't been lifting the bonnet on my 79 series, but also haven't any rodent damage .......yet!

Back in 1974-76, when rats were bad on the Barkly Tablelands, one stock inspector had the wiring chewed so badly on his HQ ute, that they had to buy complete loom for the Holden,. Wasn't cheap, even back then.

You haven't got any friends with a Jack Russell, or a foxy that you could borrow for your trip.......great little rat catchers.

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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AnswerID: 462835

Follow Up By: p_marns - Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011 at 22:25

Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011 at 22:25
hey bob, we do intend doing the diamontina river road up to to old cork station, do you know how things are along there?
FollowupID: 736614

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 07:12

Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 07:12
Travelled up part of the River road on Census Day, and it's in pretty good order. Not sure what it's like south of the Mayne, but north of there, Winton council has been active, cementing flood ways, and grading the road.

The road from Old Cork, past Cork Station, across to Lark Quarry is also very good. And if you're thinking of coming into Winton from Lark Quarry, the Winton - Jundah road is good.

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: p_marns - Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 19:34

Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 19:34
thanks bob
FollowupID: 736704

Reply By: GoneTroppo Member (FNQ) - Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 08:09

Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 08:09
Never tried it but I would think an electric fence like you use for stock fencing would work a treat. Just have to work out a way of stringing it up a couple of inches off the ground.

be quick to set up each time, the whole lot would cost maybe $100 to $150
but cheaper than replacing chewed wires canvas etc

AnswerID: 462850

Reply By: Member - John and Lynne - Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 08:26

Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 08:26
I was about to suggest "Travel with a Jack Russell"! We were out that way in May and June and the mice were driving everyone crazy, especially around Innamincka and through to Maree. Our Jack Russell was in heaven, even though she is nearly 13 now she reverted to youth and knew just what to do! We had no mice in or around our van with her on constant guard. She told us when one got into the engine of the car so we were able to get rid of it and then left the bonnet open - that seemed to do the trick!
They are attracted by warmth and love campfires so it is a good idea to make your fire a good distance from your tent or van or they will swarm around you during the night.
Everyone was telling us then that the cold weather would get rid of them. It has been cold out that way since so perhaps the problem is much less now. Lynne
AnswerID: 462851

Reply By: Member - Rob D (NSW) - Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 08:43

Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 08:43
Just returned from our Simpson Desert trip. My son and I camped in Malamoo 3 second tents at the Dig Tree camp ground on the 9th and Cullyamurra Water Hole on the 10th and 11th August. Others in our convoy slept in roof top tents and in their trucks. There were native long haired rats, but they did not bother us other than thinking it was fun to run around between the tent fly and the inner tent. A quick smack on the tent wall sent them scurrying.

Lots of mice at Dalhousie Springs, but again did not attempt to break in to our tent. The only damage was some small chunks taken out of my rubber thongs.

One of the people with us had mice invade his truck. He did leave food out in the truck.
If you relax at a faster pace you can get more relaxation in for a given time.
Regards Rob

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AnswerID: 462853

Reply By: guy007 - Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 14:57

Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 14:57
Several years ago we had a rat and mice plague around Mudgee.
Played havoc with the cars. One Mercedes had its computer wiring trashed.
One Mini Cooper S had heater hoses and brake fluid cap eaten. Honda CRV heater hoses and windscreen washer bottle eaten. Rodeo $6000.00 damage when lady owner drove with no water as hoses eaten. Landcruiser 80 washer bottle eaten.
We were told that much of the rubber these days may contain items such as soya bean meal or other byproducts!
Leaving the bonnet up is a good idea and works.Moth balls ,napthalene and camphor all work to a certain extent.
We also used the sweet smelling sheets that you insert into the clothes dryer. These work really well under the bonnet as the give off their fragrance when the engine is warm!I think the are called Spree or Free. Goggle and you will find!
We were recently at Birdsville and although in a caravan we were really concerned with the rats and left our bonnets up for no damage.
Sitting around the campfire and they would come in bold as brass and sit under our camp chairs.
Happy hunting
AnswerID: 462868

Follow Up By: Fatso - Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 20:39

Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 20:39
My nephew took his kids up to Wonga Beach & stayed in the van park last year in his shiny new Patrol.
A rat chewed one of his cars wiring looms.
Outcome was a tow truck back to the dealer in Cairns & a $3,500 insurance claim for a new loom & 3 weeks without the car.
FollowupID: 736711

Reply By: Member - Rick P (NT) - Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 15:55

Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 15:55
Try this, bucket 1/2 filled with water, 600ml water or coke bottle with a hole in the other end as well, rope through both ends and some peanut paste in the middle of the bottle. They can't help themselves and we got 32 one night and 84 the night before.

Image Could Not Be Found
AnswerID: 462873

Follow Up By: Grungle - Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 19:33

Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 19:33
Great trap that one. We used the same technique many years ago with great results. Would stick a tally beer bottle in the side of a BBQ that was built into the wall. Rubbed marg over the neck and put a big blob of peanut butter on the end. We also had a 20l drum under it filled 1/3 with water and we would get so many that they would be running over the dead ones and jumping out.

Top photo. Brings back memories that.

Regards David
FollowupID: 736702

Reply By: p_marns - Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 19:31

Thursday, Aug 18, 2011 at 19:31
thanks everyone, that was great, and regarding the snake poo i do work with 30 or 40 of them so collecting it was not a problem.
AnswerID: 462893

Reply By: gordon_adel - Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 17:51

Tuesday, Sep 06, 2011 at 17:51
Speaking of rodent problems, any thoughts on them during november crossing the nullabor?
AnswerID: 464369

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