Oh Rats

1192629188Rats are gross, and nobody knows that better than Globe readers. The paper has taken to reporting on them like a rodent takes to tearing open a bag of fetid garbage, running two stories on the growing rat population in our fair city this week. At least the accompanying pictures of the rats looking relatively cute, so we didn’t have a repeat of the giant colon incident.

The Globe’s fascination with rats began in Sunday’s edition, with the news that even the rich aren’t safe from the plague of rodents. There’s plenty of creep-out stories in the piece by Carey Goldberg, many of which have been told before. But she adds a new twist to the rat up the water pipe story:

. . . I was once again washing extra loads of laundry when I noticed a nasty, fruity smell in the washing machine. I ran the same load again with more detergent – it only got worse. I left the house to do errands, and when I got home, Sprax met me in the kitchen with a face pale as death. He had investigated the smell, and found a rat corpse in the innards of the washing machine, so stiff with rigor mortis he had to dismember it to get it out.

If that doesn’t end up in a horror movie, Hollywood isn’t paying attention. And we can’t imagine how a dead rat smells “fruity.” Hopefully we never find out.

For those who didn’t get put off their Sunday brunch, the daily tries to ruin breakfast again today with a story about Boston’s booming population of Norway rats, complete with a list of fun facts about the rodents. Cut it out and give it to the kids!

Unlike the earlier story of one family’s battle against vermin, this one seeks to reassure us that city is working to kill the rats by any means necessary.

There are the smoke bombs, effective in pipes and sewers, which release a cloud of sulfur and choke the rats.

There are the wax-coated blocks of poison, lowered into catch basins, where they slowly kill. “Over 48 to 72 hours, it clots their blood, and then they suffocate,” he said.

There are also the little bags of bait and tracking powder, which work in much the same way as the wax blocks. The most efficient weapons are the Victor Snap Traps, especially when baited with a slice of pepperoni, which Norway rats can smell up to 30 feet away.

“Death comes instantly,” [rat killer Chuck] Trainito said.

We’ve lived in apartments where we became all too familiar with the appearance of rat droppings and the sound of the huge rodents scampering around at night, so we’re happy to know the city wants to kill these bastards in any way they can.