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The war begins ...

Posted by Dave Bull on September 15, 2018 [Permalink]

As frequent viewers of our Twitch channel well know, we have been having rodent trouble here at Mokuhankan recently.

We've known that they were in the building right from the time we began construction here in the summer of 2014, but we thought that we had 'arranged' a stand-off. They stayed in their part of the building (under the floors, over the ceilings, and inside some of the walls), and we stayed in our part (the shop itself).

With our move down to the ground floor, things became a bit unstable, because our construction work closed off some of their entrances, and we also destroyed a huge nest that they had created underneath the rear wall of the building, but overall, I felt that the status quo was basically undisturbed.

That 'truce' has now been broken. They have become much more aggressive, have made attempts to intrude into our part of the building, and two nights ago, staged an attack on our infrastructure - they took down one of the ethernet cables carrying signals down to our new shop. I was trying to get the morning stream started, and couldn't get a signal from the router. I traced things back through the system, and when I pulled away a cabinet in the old Print Party room on the second floor, found this:

A closer view ...

What's the food value in a plastic and metal cable? Why would they do this? Well ... OK ... they want war, they can have war.

Cameron has plenty of experience working in a very old wooden school building out in the country, where they had a real problem with rodents, and says that they were able to keep things basically under control by liberally spreading standard mousetraps around the premises. When I heard this, I had to mention that I think we are dealing with a different creature ... those were little country mice, these are massive - and hugely experienced - city rats.

But anyway, we have to start somewhere, so we got a bunch of good strong traps, baited them with peanut butter stolen from Cameron's lunch bucket, and spread them around the building, including one on each side of the hole in the floor where the chewed cable goes through.

Did we catch any the first night? Not only did we not catch anything, they made an attempt to chew through the second of the two cables! I heard them starting to do this during the night (I sleep in that room), and chased them away ...

In the morning light, I found this:

Now if that second cable goes down, we are in big trouble, because all our infrastructure (cash register, downstairs computers, etc.) runs through it.

I have just made an emergency trip to the Home Centre, and as soon as the shop is closed tonight, Kawai-san and I will move all the furniture out of that room, lift up the tatami mats, open up some of the floorboards, and will put those cables into conduit ...

Purely a defensive measure, I know ... but we have to keep that cable alive! (If there is no live stream tomorrow morning, you'll know what happened ... :~(

I'll keep you posted!




Added by: Stu on September 15, 2018, 9:48 am

I've used capsaicin-based products (brushed onto the cables) in the past in similar situations --- apparently they hate 'hot and spicy foods'! (There may be some specialized products available over there that have capsaicin extract and which don't make the entire shop smell like hot sauce.)


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