back to article Squirrel sinks teeth into SAN cabling, drives Netadmin nuts

Ooh! Friday is here! This means it's time for On-Call, in which El Reg acknowledges that misery loves company by sharing stories of jobs gone awry. This week, meet “Allan” who used to work in a place where the server room “had a glass panel wall with a view into the main operations area." "This was sometimes handy," Allan …

  1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Best traps

    The best preventive traps are the glue ones. You fold them up and they form a glue tunnel. Critter of any size from field mouse to a rat goes in and there it remains.

    If you put a normal trap under a raised floor there will be someone missing fingers after they have forgotten it is there and try to run cables. Either that or cables/fiber chopped in half. The glue ones are humane to the human personnel which IMHO is probably more important. You also do not get the mess with poison bait. While rats and mice eat the bait where they find it, squirrels and "edible" doormice* take it somewhere else like on top of a server or NAS grille and eat it there so the crumbs get into the machinery.

    I have seen the glue ones sold in Euriope, but not in the UK. If you are setting up a new building make sure you put a few of them in critical places under the raised floor. Replace annually or when they start to stink (you could have guessed by now - I have had to deal with this one).

    (*) The edible doormouse is the European vermin from hell - everything a rat does + walk on vertical walls and ceilings and dig tunnels as well as chewing through anything except steel mesh on its way as well

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Best traps

      Glue traps will probably be banned soon in the UK. Most definitely not a humane form of pest removal.

    2. Fursty Ferret

      Re: Best traps

      The reason they're not sold in the UK is because it's generally considered anti-social to let an animal die of dehydration and stress, regardless of whether it's a mouse, rat, squirrel, cat, dog etc. Such traps have to be inspected on almost an hourly basis and are definitely inappropriate for an isolated environment.

      I bet you tortured ants with a magnifying glass when you were a child.

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: Best traps

        Agreed, glue is mean. Humanely catching and releasing is impractical and maybe illegal, as noted. Therefore the real humane option is a death trap, plus planning how to execute (humanely) a trapped animal that wasn't killed. I think I had in mind "crush its head flat with a brick", but it didn't arise.

        I had mice. I'm not an unkind person, I think, but I decided that the only way to not have mice was to kill all the mice.

        Dispose of bodies in little tied plastic bags, like dog poo. (although, not hung around tree branches in public parks. Although, would feed birds, of a certain kind, in winter.)

        One mouse may have got away, perhaps mortally injured, since the last time a trap (rat size, guaranteed kill, I got two once) was tripped, there was no mouse and no bait but after that the traps, and also my food supplies, were not disturbed.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Best traps

          Humanely catching and releasing is impractical and maybe illegal

          It's certainly illegal to trap *and release* grey squirrels[1] in the UK.

          [1] Also (I think) applies to anything legally classified as "vermin". So, no trapping and releasing your local politicians..

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Best traps

          I had mice.

          It might not surprise you (given my posting name) that I've never lived in a house with a mouse problem. Or a rat problem.

          Except in the sense of treading on squishy mouse guts at 2am..

          Current generation of cats include 2 ex-feral farm cats. They are formidible hunters but never, ever bring kill into the house - even though we got them at 3 months old they had already learnt that hunting is for stuff to eat. Except for rats. They kill those and leave the corpses in the garden for us (or a passing fox) to dispose of.

          1. AbelSoul

            Re: Best traps

            It might not surprise you (given my posting name) that I've never lived in a house with a mouse problem. Or a rat problem.

            I never had a mouse problem or a rat problem until I got my cat. He was already about a year and a half old and has a habit of catching various creatures and bringing them home, usually (although by no means always) in pretty rude health. Everything from mice, voles and shrews, through frogs and newts, to rats and birds, but mostly mice.

            Last summer he was sometimes bringing in three or four critters a night. This makes for some "hilarious" late night escapades, trying to catch and release the wee beasties.

            I live in the city centre, about half a mile from the nearest water course and had no idea there was so much wildlife outside my back door.

            1. cdegroot

              Re: Best traps

              Given sufficient cats, there will be not much wildlife outside your back door. I decided that cats are indoors pets (fresh air can be obtained by our 3 cats on our catio ;-))

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Best traps

                I quite like the idea of a catio. I have the only house in the area without dogs, so I get all the neighborhood cats, plus my two to fill out their glaring. There is a big male who leaves me "rodental gifts," last summer I got a whole grey squirrel! I have a set of cat doors for my two to get in and out, and a few summers past a rat got in. Not sure if the tuxedo cat brought it in, although I suspect it just came in the cat door. Anyway, she would not hunt it at all. I even cornered the rat behind the fridge, slid it out, and offered up kitty to... she walked away, and the rat ran off! Anyway, it was attracted to water, and I trapped it in my bathroom, then manually grabbed it and took it to my pot shop where I released it to a nearby field and a RV sales lot. It probably took up residence in an old trailer. Fun times with the cats.

            2. J. Cook Silver badge

              Re: Best traps

              @abelsoul: There have been some studies done that suggest that cats do this in order to teach us Terrible Big Things how to Cat properly and how to hunt. :)

        3. el_oscuro

          Re: Best traps

          I had a bat infestation in the attic and called the county for advice. Nothing like having a bat fly into your bedroom at 3am!

          Any the contractor devised some ingenious one-way traps to get rid of the bats - a small pipe attached to the vents which led downward and away from the house. When the bats left to go search for food, they would be able to make it out through the trap, but couldn't get back in. No more bats!

    3. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Best traps

      "Edible dormouse"?

      I think there's quite an obvious way of dealing with them.

      1. Rich 11

        Re: Best traps

        Dormice were a Roman delicacy. Recipes have survived.

    4. Dr Dan Holdsworth

      Re: Best traps

      Clearly the OP doesn't know how to safely and legally trap wildlife.

      Best practice for the UK at least means that all snap traps such as the old Fenn mk4 and mk6 (soon to be banned for squirrels in favour of more certain-to-kill traps) had to be set somewhere that non-target species such as dogs, cats, roving network engineers and the like couldn't accidentally set them off. This generally means setting them inside a tunnel made either of mesh, or of some other durable material.

      Rats, mice, squirrels and the like generally cannot resist the temptation to have a look inside any tunnel, hole or similar thing they come across, in case there is something to eat in there. This propensity can be improved by baiting the trap with peanut butter, in such a way that the bait is beyond the trap along the route the animal has to follow. This generally ensures a kill.

      Mouse traps are a different proposition. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for with mouse traps and the cheap pressed-metal garbage off Fleabay are so insensitive that they don't work. Electrocution traps are best, and some can even be remotely monitored by SNMP to determine when they have caught something. Another interesting design is the Nooski trap, which uses an elastic rubber ring to strangle the poor victim. Not nice, but most effective and doesn't splat guts all over the place.

      The final trick to try is the cellulose-based rodent baits. These work by dehydrating the animal to the point of collapse, but only work on rodents so anything else mooching along and eating the bait won't get killed. This bait has the other advantage of not actually being a poison, so no certification is needed to handle it.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Best traps

        Clearly the OP doesn't know how to safely and legally trap wildlife.

        1. Who told you I have used them in the UK. There are other countries where stuff that chews on your cable is protected only if it is a protected species. If it is not it is fair game and sod the humanity of the method :)

        2. As far as safety, safety of the humans first, safety of the VERMIN second.

        What you forget is that story is about squirrels. Squirrels and doormice are not rats or mice. They are an infestation from hell if you get them.

        You cannot safely install any trap in under-floor space or roof space. It is a recipe for removed fingers because people always end up pushing cables through by touch alone. With squirrels and the f*** edible doormice you cannot use bait safely. They will take it somewhere, eat all of it, die in an obscure but warm place (on top of a power supply usually), then rot through and leak into interesting places. Even if they do not die there, they will drop crumbs into the fan grille into that so you will be ingesting warfarin powder when servicing equipment. This is in addition to dropping their dung into it and it carries a set of diseases you rather not know. A high-end respirator becomes a necessity when working.

        You cannot use normal traps. They ignore them as they move either high above or in the under-floor/ceiling space. They are not rats that scurry next to the wall. They will do it ONLY if there is no other route, otherwise you will see the f*** jumping across racks. The exception here is doormice which will come and steal the bait out of 90% of trap models in front of you completely ignoring you as an irrelevance.

        Last, but not least - due to their hearing and senses being in the same range as humans they are not affected by ultrasound and EMP pet repellent equipment.

        So your choices are glue or patience and a pellet gun. The second one is somewhat humane if used correctly, but you have to have no other job but to sit with it in a server room overnight. You are also limited in terms of having a clean shot in making sure there is no equipment behind the target.

        Most importantly - once you got rid of them (by whatever method needed) do not hesitate to spend the money on a truck roll of chickenwire and rodentproof the whole place.

        1. TomChaton

          @Voland's right hand

          You are Carl Spackler AICMFP

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Best traps

          "So your choices are glue or patience and a pellet gun."

          One of my first jobs was with biological supplier mostly dealing with schools*. One of the products was dead rats for dissection. Over the years a few had escaped and they bred. The head of the microscope slide section decided to stay in one evening with a gun and potted one. Then he remembered rat blood often has trypanosomes and went to fetch a syringe intending to make up some slides. He should have taken the dead rat with him; by the time he got back the others had dragged it away, presumably to eat.

          After a little while they went bust. They'd invested in making microscopes just at the time the Japanese were moving into the school microscope market. It must have been one of the receivers' odder jobs. There would have been some strange assets. One of the set items for A-levels that year was a bull's eye. For weeks I'd been visiting the slaughter house and come back with bags of bulls' eyes. The schools had got wind of the impending doom so hardly any ordered them. There was a big vat of them steeping in formalin.

          *at the same time SWMBO was a teacher. She reckons we still owe her some dissecting scissors.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Best traps

            "He should have taken the dead rat with him; by the time he got back the others had dragged it away, presumably to eat."

            I hope they remembered SIr PTerrys advice, "Make sure you don't eat the green wobbly bit."

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Best traps

          @Behemoth - You sound exactly like a chap I knew who once had to deal with a (rapidly multiplying) family of squirrels which got into the insulation gaps and crawl spaces of his house. He was never the same where squirrels were concerned...

        4. el_oscuro

          Re: Best traps

          Another way is to use one way traps. You have to rodent proof the place anyway, and that means finding out where they are getting in. The one way trap is some sort of pipe that they can fit in that leads down and out, but doesn't allow them back in.

          The contractor that cleared up my bat infestation did this and it worked perfectly.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Best traps

        i>Rats, mice, squirrels and the like generally cannot resist the temptation to have a look inside any

        >tunnel, hole or similar thing they come across

        Shouldn't you have used the Paris icon?

        1. Rattus Rattus

          Re: "Shouldn't you have used the Paris icon?"

          He said tunnel, not hallway.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: "Shouldn't you have used the Paris icon?"

            Someone up there DID mention a cardboard box ...

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Best traps

        ""Electrocution traps are best, and some can even be remotely monitored by SNMP "

        IoT, Internet of Traps? Is that a thing? How good is the security or might hackers cause the mousepocalypse by interfering with them? Would that be a DDoT?

      4. zen1

        Re: Best traps

        SNMP? Have to be a security threat some how...

    5. Kubla Cant

      Re: Best traps

      The edible doormouse is the European vermin from hell

      It's actually illegal to trap your own glis glis (edible dormice) as they're protected. Doesn't make them less of a pest.

    6. mstreet

      Re: Best traps

      A former room-mate of mine once bought a pack of those traps, insisting that they were more humane than the 'quick-kill' variety.

      If a night of listening to a mouse vainly attempt to escape wasn't enough to change her mind, finding the next morning that the mouse had literally torn it's own arm off, as well as the presence of some important looking, formally internal organs embedded in the glue, certainly did.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @VRH, Re: Best traps

      I prefer to buy Kimodo Dragons & let them run wild through the place. If a boss gets uppity, a salesdroid shows up, or someone starts talking in buzzwords, feeding the remains to the Dragons is a great way of getting rid of the evidence.

      Best of all is the fact that you can train them to accept a harness, slip a bit of cabling into the ring, & let them do the cable runs for you! Just have a disposable coworker at the other end with half a dead rat in hand. When the screaming starts the cable is where it needs to be & you're short one annoying coworker.


      I'll get my coat, it's the one with the Dragon treats in the pockets...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: @VRH, Best traps

        "I prefer to buy Kimodo Dragons & let them run wild through the place. If a boss gets uppity, a salesdroid shows up, or someone starts talking in buzzwords, feeding the remains to the Dragons is a great way of getting rid of the evidence."

        You are the BOFH and I claim my £5.

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: @VRH, Best traps

        I'll get my coat, it's the one with the Dragon treats in the pockets...

        According to Mark Carwardine and Douglas Adams, Komodo Dragon treats are rather goat-like, in shape, size as well as appearance. So either you have a coat with Pockets of Holding, or s/c/g/.

    8. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: Best traps

      I have seen the glue ones sold in Euriope, but not in the UK.

      Even when Brexit concludes the UK will still be part of Europe, just not the EU.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Best traps

      All this squirrel love, wait until you get them in your home roof space then you won't care how you kill the little feckers.

      1. Chris King

        Re: Best traps

        Ditto your basement. Nothing like running round a basement for an hour with a cardboard box, trying to catch one particularly skittish squirrel.

        I got him though, and I let him go in the nearby park. The ungrateful bastard promptly ran out into the road and got himself squished under a bus.

        Oh, and he crapped in the box before being let free.

    10. Number6

      Re: Best traps

      Probably not suited to catching squirrels, but for rats and mice, I have three of the best extermination devices Mother Nature can provide. They do have a few downsides, such as clawing the furniture and walking across (or sitting on) my keyboard as I type, but they're cute and that more than makes up for these problems. Not forgetting they're the reason we have such a good internet now (well, them and porn).

      1. PeteA

        Re: Best traps

        Ours are faulty! We've got four, and they're all very good at catching pests and bringing them home but haven't grasped the killing bit. The cuteness bit's broken too, there's nothing cute about a mouthful of rat being paraded into the living room before release under the sofa. We've taken to having (properly enclosed and protected) traps in strategic positions to deal with unwanted live gifts.

    11. drveritgo

      Re: Best traps

      The poster needs more experience with animals, (s)he clearly does not currently understand just how unbelievably horrific glue traps are. I would rather risk my own injury than subject a living creature to tearing it's own limbs off, and leaving its organs behind.

    12. Pat Harkin

      Re: Best traps

      Squirrel traps are HUGE and expensive - they're not "deploy and forget" items; they're for short-term seek and destroy missions only. Apart from anything else, you don't want something the size of a dead squirrel rotting in a forgotten trap. (Said with feeling in relation to two sets of burglar alarm cabling chewed through a year apart) I now have an ultrasonic repellant - I think the little bastards use it like whale song to get their babies to sleep.

  2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge


    Is the A and N in SAN just to make it sound like LAN or WAN?

    I'm labouring under the impression that SAN stands for "Storage Area Network" , if correct its one of the stupidest acronyms since PVR

    Storage - yes , Area - what? network - not really!

    I dont care if your raid arrays are linked by a cable , or a switch , that hardly warrants note in the title of the system, cos everything is - see IOT

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: SAN?

      Storage - yes , Area - what? network - not really!

      "Area" could be server room, data centre, campus, depends on the size of the network.

      "Network" - why 'not really'? A large data centre will have lots of storage arrays linked by fibre to SAN switches so you can dynamically assign LUNs from any array to whatever servers you need. Someone needs a VM with x GB storage? Just provision the VM, create a LUN on a handy array, and configure the SAN switch just as you would for VLANs on the comms network. It's certainly a network.

      1. Bronek Kozicki

        Re: SAN?

        "it is network, but not as we know it"

    2. Blotto Silver badge

      Re: SAN?

      @Prst. V.Jeltz

      its a network of storage systems, as opposed to a single storage device connected to a network aka Network Attached Storage aka NAS.

      a NAS is not a SAN, they are both different but can appear the same to systems that connect to them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: SAN?

        Not only is a proper network, but you can run a SAN over ethernet (FCoE) or IP (FCIP) and even do it the other way around and run ethernet or IP over fiber channel, though the latter did not see much use.

    3. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      Re: SAN?

      I think you're thinking of a NAS same letters but less advanced.

    4. TitterYeNot

      Re: SAN?

      "I'm labouring under the impression that SAN stands for "Storage Area Network" , if correct its one of the stupidest acronyms since PVR"

      I think your confusion stems from the fact that in most small server farms, most non-storage techies would describe the shared storage that they see hooked up to their favourite cluster by fibre as a SAN, whereas it's usually not - it's more likely to be a storage array, which is similar but definitely not a SAN.

      A SAN is indeed a storage array network, independent trays of disks hooked together by fibre or copper interconnect and SAN switches to form a storage network, operating under the control of one (but usually more) SAN controllers, which present an abstracted view of the storage to an external network or server clusters. Usually found in big server farms with lots of blades etc. requiring distributed storage.

      Disclaimer - not a storage techie, but I've been nearly bored to death enough times by those who are* not to make the mistake of getting my storage terminology wrong again.

      * Not knocking storage techies, I've been the recipient of enough glaze eyed stares when I try to explain why I need sticky sessions for my application cluster...

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: SAN?

        ok, ok , its a network

        now what about the A in the middle? I LAN and WAN the A is crucial , the A is what the 2 terms are describing , but whys it in SAN?

        1. John Riddoch

          Re: SAN?

          A SAN can spread a relatively large distance - I've worked in places where the SAN has stretched several miles to the DR datacentre, so you could, for example, run clustering between sites (makes for an easy DR solution, simply fail over the cluster).

        2. Blotto Silver badge

          Re: SAN?

          It's well documented

          Maybe try Wikipedia

      2. Dwarf

        Re: SAN?

        Sticky sessions are on the LAN for front-end connections to the app servers and are not relevant for storage platforms that use proper protocols (FC) where they have multiple concurrent connections to all visible paths to the same LUN's. There is no session stickiness as all working paths are just load balanced.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sqirrel Latrine

    This one reminds me of the time we had to call in the humane pest controllers to deal with sqirrel hiding in the roof above the boss's office.

    He wasn't initially bothered by the rustling in the roof but eventually drew the line when the squirrel decided that his office printer made an ideal latrine.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Sqirrel Latrine

      Replace printer with circular file. Proper place for both Boss and Squirrel output. Sorted.

      Now come up with a way to get rid of racoons shitting in the valley between roof and dormer. Garbage fed racoons shit the most vile smelling shit I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with. Especially when fermented nicely in the morning sun. It permeated about 1200 square feet of a modern, energy tight, air tight building. My solution was to staple strawberry anti-bird netting over that section of roof ...

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Sqirrel Latrine

        staple strawberry anti-bird netting

        Does it come in other flavours? I'm not keen on strawberry - would prefer apple or pear[1]..

        [1] Preferrably fermented. Hmmm.. proper perry[2]..

        [2] Not the cack "pear-flavoured alcohol of indeterminate origin" stuff either. Proper perry. Made from pears, only pears and nothing but the pears..

        1. stungebag


          @CrazyOldCatMan Don't worry. Crap perry normally gives the game away nowadays by claiming to be 'pear cider'.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Perry

            And here I always thought that crap perry gave the game away by calling itself "babycham".

    2. Chris King

      Re: Sqirrel Latrine

      "He wasn't initially bothered by the rustling in the roof but eventually drew the line when the squirrel decided that his office printer made an ideal latrine".

      In a previous On-Call, I had a similar experience with a colony of bats roosting over my head. Fortunately, they picked another part of the building to "go potty".

      I'm guessing that in your boss' case, Tufty was relieving himself when the printer was switched off ?

  4. wolfetone Silver badge

    Reminds me of the Jasper Carrott joke about the 12 bore and the moles.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd rather deal with a squirrel than a huge nest of spiders...

    Especially when you only find out about them once you've picked up a server and they're crawling all over your arm !

    1. Rich 11

      Re: I'd rather deal with a squirrel than a huge nest of spiders...

      Could be worse...

    2. mstreet

      Re: I'd rather deal with a squirrel than a huge nest of spiders...

      Kind of like when you're rock climbing and you reach up for the next hand hold, only to discover too late that said hand-old is actually an ant nest. Not fun when you can't just drop what you are doing :)

      1. John Presland

        Re: I'd rather deal with a squirrel than a huge nest of spiders...

        Putting your hand into a dead sheep lying on a ledge and then belaying your partner while he leads the next pitch leaving you to endure for a very long twenty minutes the aroma of a well-rested corpse is not a lot of fun, either.

  6. Rich 11


    Last year one of our buildings dropped off the network. After shoving aside all the junk which had accumulated in the basement, our network manager found a fibre which had been chewed through by rats. They'd gained access via the pipe the fibre ran through, so after it had been checked for further infestation and the fibre repaired, both ends of the pipe were stuffed firmly full with wire wool.

    So far the little ratbastards haven't come back armed with tiny wire cutters...

    1. Sparkypatrick

      Re: Rats!

      Pest control people may suggest wire wool as a means of dissuading rats, but you should bear in mind that it is a fire hazard. wire wool will burn quite readily, and quite hot. Ducts should be sealed with fire retardant, expanding foam.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: Rats!

        Plus Rats can chew through concrete. So I don't know how long you expect the wire wool to keep them out.

        1. Mage

          Re: Rats!

          Rats have chewed through steel butcher's chill room doors.

          1. Blofeld's Cat

            Re: Rats!

            "... steel butcher's chill room ..."

            I presume that is where a "skilled engineer" like the one who made our custom battery racks, goes to relax after a hard day's bodging.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Rats!

        "wire wool ... is a fire hazard"

        My late cousin-in-law used to work at Holme Moss

        They had a rule that all wire wool was to be stored in closed tins. I suppose stray RF was a bigger pest than rats.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rats!


      They fought the dogs and killed the cat5s,

      And bit the disks in the cradles

      ok, sorry. It's Friday. I'm bored.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I take it by "humane" they thought they would get a cage trap to trap said cuddly creature. In the UK it is an offence to catch and release Grey Squirrels as they're such a bleedy menace.

    1. GlenP Silver badge

      I gather normal practice is to catch them live "humanely" and take them away before dealing with them. It keeps everyone happy that way.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        yep lets imprison it in a small cage for hours going mental then give it a smack. Instant death of a squirrel trap would be better!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "In the UK it is an offence to catch and release Grey Squirrels as they're such a bleedy menace."

      But, they are quite tasty.....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But

        they are indeed! I've shot and eaten loads

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: But

        The Whippets and feral cats agree, squirrels are quite tasty. Only thing the two seem to agree on.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: But

          The Whippets and feral cats agree, squirrels are quite tasty

          As a kid I had a silver tabby that, at 9 months old, lost an argument with a car. As a result, he had a wired together pelvis and no head of femur on one side[1].

          His speciality thereafter was dining on squirrel. How the hell he caught them we never knew since he couldn't climb very well post-squish.

          But he'd always leave the squirrel tail on the doorstep. Sadly, he didn't leave the squirrel fleas there as well..

          [1] Strangely enough, I currently have another cat that lost an arguement with a car and has a bolted-together pelvis and no head of femur. But she can climb, almost as well as she used to. Probably because she's not weighed down by much in the way of brainpower[2]..

          [2] The other 5 cats are all road-wise. She (and her kittens) all have a higher incidence of road accidents.

        2. Chris King

          Re: But

          "The Whippets and feral cats agree, squirrels are quite tasty. Only thing the two seem to agree on".

          And chickens.

      3. Streaker

        Re: But

        Agreed......I'd just like to point out that the damage is invariably carried out by that well known rat with a tail... the GREY squirrel. A definite Vermin

        Unfortunately this is not the RED squirrel that is depicted in the picture associated with the article, which is a protected species. In fact, the Red Squirrel Trust are currently looking for additional assassins to *cough* manage *cough* the grey population.


        1. mstreet

          Re: But

          Curiously, in Canada (AKA The Land of Squirrels), it's the other way around. The reds are all ground squirrels (and seem more closely related to chipmunks), while it's the greys\blacks\browns that haunt the tree tops.

      4. Chris King

        Re: But

        "In the UK it is an offence to catch and release Grey Squirrels as they're such a bleedy menace"

        They're especially bleedy when they run into the road and straight under vehicles.

        Greys have ZERO traffic sense, while Reds tend to stay up in the trees - no doubt sniggering as their more drab cousins get squished.

        1. Putters

          Re: But

          Indeed - no road sense at all. Watched one run along the road in panic beside me as I started to pass it. It then managed to run under the wheels.

          I was surprised given that I was on a pushbike at the time.

          Thump as it went under front wheel, thump (ii) as it went under back - then it ran up a tree. Tough little buggers too ...

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: But

          "Greys have ZERO traffic sense, while Reds tend to stay up in the trees - no doubt sniggering as their more drab cousins get squished."

          Driving into York, as I do a few times per month, it's not unusual to see a grey tree rat run up a tree, across the branches and down a tree on the other side of the road. It helps(!) that the traffic is usually less than walking pace down Clifton Road on the approach to Gillygate.

  8. fruitoftheloon
    Thumb Up

    Mind the gap...

    Fellow commentards,

    when faced with a creature-related hole in a wall/partition, I was advised to put lots of wire wool in situ first (the type that plumbers uses for cleaning joints/ends of pipe with first), THEN fill it with expanding foam.

    Apparently rats have the determination to chew through the foam, but can't if it is also mixed in with the steel wire wool etc...



  9. Mage

    Yes! Mice

    Four Exterior grade heavy duty satellite system distribution cables. The satellite receivers failed.

    Eventually I found that mice had chewed the cables at the wall entry. We caught the mice and repaired cable.

    The cables are regularly treated with tabasco sauce and hot chilli powder as only humans among mammals will eat it. Rodents won't touch it. Birds don't damage chilli seeds, so cunningly the burning taste (capsicum) doesn't affect birds at all.

    1. Dr Dan Holdsworth

      Re: Yes! Mice

      If you look in your local equestrian-orientated shop and ask for something to stop horses gnawing things, then they will show you a produce called Cribox. This is capsicum plus something that tastes vile plus some sort of smelly stenching agent in a grease base.

      It looks bad, it smells bad and it tastes on the far side of appalling, so I am told. It also stings like anything if you get it into an open wound.

      I have used it to stop a frustrated squirrel from gnawing a garden shed; I never saw the animal actually taste it, but it stopped the gnawing alright.

      1. Chris G

        Re: Yes! Mice

        The other ingredient in Cribox is bitter aloes an African variety of Aloe that is used as an emetic and was also commonly used to stop children biting their nails.

        I was wondering does expending foam come in flavours? I have used it to stop rats and mice on several occasions, sometimes it has stopped them completely and at others the little sods have had dinner on me and eaten their way back in.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Yes! Mice

      Birds don't damage chilli seeds, so cunningly the burning taste (capsicum) doesn't affect birds at all.

      In the wild, birds are the major vector for spreading chilli plants since the seeds tend to not get digested by their guts and go straight through to get dispersed in their droppings (along with a bit of handy fertiliser).

      On the other hand, mammalian digestion tends to break down the seeds in such a manner as to make them non-viable. Hence capcasin - which makes the seeds intolerable to sensible mammals[1] - means that only the species that can spread the seeds are immune to the burning effect.

      [1] Obviously not humans.. not after watching coverage of a chilli-eating competition in Bristol..

  10. sandman

    How to blow up a rat

    I worked for one organisation that needed a lot of electricity. Everything was controlled from a shipping container outside the building and walking past one day I noticed smoke coming out of the top of the doors. This is generally considered a bad thing.

    Cautiously cracking open the door revealed nothing but thin smoke and an appalling smell. Getting behind the control panels revealed small fragments of singed rat everywhere and a tiny paw print on one of the 440 volt bus-bars...

    1. Brenda McViking

      Re: How to blow up a rat

      The animals are organised I tell you!

      Successful Cyber War Ops of Squirrels, birds, rats, snakes and racoons to date

  11. jake Silver badge


    Rather than re-typ(o)e it:

  12. Sandtitz Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    "There was an almighty bang and a small piece of the trunking pinged off the back of the trap.”

    I've always wanted to buy the Squirrel Stomper!

  13. earl grey

    mice love to chew

    I've had them chew up gas line on the lawn tractor and chew though the high voltage cable coming off the coil on the old van. Had to have it towed to the garage as i had no way of getting beneath the thing to check it out.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: mice love to chew

      Had to "get beneath" a van to eyeball a coil wire? New one on me, those things are usually as high as possible on the engine, to avoid getting shorted out when it rains.

      But yes, rodents chew. It's kinda their raison d'être.

  14. Pangasinan Philippines

    Use the right tool

    Back in the '70s, during a tea break (remember those?). Sat in the tech workshop when a fellow techie walks in and says " I need a screwdriver quickly. There are rat droppings inside one of the racks and we need to remove all of the panels from every rack."

    "What sort of screwdriver do you need?" I said.

    " A Rat Shit screwdriver of course. He said.

    Cue merriment all round . . . .

  15. PM from Hell


    Earlier in my career I was managing the implementation of the first public access information system in local government (yes that long ago)

    It had been the project from hell from day 1. The system vendor nearly went bust on several occasions, delivery deadlines were consistently missed by them but somehow we managed to hit the published go live date.

    Time was tight, the cabinet provider had delivered the cabinets late and to the wrong address and I'd already had to ferry the cabinets out in my car when we found out the application vendor had also managed to introduce a bug which meant that the client pc's which should have been installed in the cabinets were borked.

    My team and I came up with a quick solution to install the systems server in the bottom of the kiosk and use laptops with terminal emulators to replace the the clients, transparent for the launch and it bought us some time for the vendor to fix the bug before we went truly multi site.

    I then went to retrieve the server from the head office. I noticed that there was a significant amount of white powder on the floor by the server but was in too much of a hurry to think about it, a quick dash across the county and we were set up. I then had to stand through an hours presentation to politicians and the press as the ant poison that had been generously sprayed around was absorbed through my skin. By the time I was able to break away my hands had swelled up to double their normal size and turned a very angry red. This got me some very strange looks as I was shaking hands with the VIP’s.

    A quick scrub in the gents at the pub followed by many pints of lager with the project team soon brought me back to rights.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Ants

      Laptops were a couple decades out when the first public access information system in local government was implemented. Good story otherwise.

  16. Graham Jordan

    Rats, Foxes and Bats

    I used to work for the NHS in Notts. Two massive hospitals over two sites.

    The IT building at one of the trusts had a family of foxes living underneath it. We found this out because we could hear the cubs crying from the server room.

    A few years later the same building had an outbreak of rats underneath. Property Services sent their "all life is futile" guy down who set up traps and cameras, the next day shared the YouTube links where they'd been caught and killed.

    Across the ring road there's two comms rooms. When a massive area of the grounds was being leveled for a car park the building with a lot of legacy kit in wasn't allowed to come down because a family of bats lived in there.

    This was all some time ago, I dare say beavers have moved into the first campus, the second probably has Syrian refugees hiding out.

  17. Alistair

    Squirrels. Mice. Rats.

    small change.

    "It was a Dark and Stormy Night" -- -(well more like a boring drizzly saturday afternoon)

    30 lb raccoon. 1440kva transformer. Phase 1 and Phase 3.


    lights out.

    Crispy Critter.

    The utility folks showed up, reset things in the transformer bay and we were back online in about 13 hours. They did however leave the one leg dangling in place off phase 3. I suspect more because to remove it would have damaged the cable, and they'd already replaced the 45' of drop for phase 1. Wonderful aroma.

    The one thing they DID do was to restring the phases so that the gap between the cables as they came off the post was > 2' each.

    I'm *still* wondering where the birds nest in the 12th floor switchroom (with 3 itty bitty blue eggs) parents went.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Squirrels. Mice. Rats.

      Last year, lights went really dim at home. I popped open the junction box under the meter and found that there was only around 100V instead of 220ish on two phases, and 80V on the other phase. Phone call to ESC AND in a few hours they turned up, verified that it wasn't us. With the house out of circuit (something they can do by measuring before the meter), they confirmed that one or was dead.

      Took them all day to fix it. The scenario - a large bird across the medium voltage lines (what is that, 22kV or something?) shorted which caused an arc powerful enough to sever the wire, which then caused the step down transformer to fail trying to run off only two phases (prob when milking equipment kicked in in nearby farms).

      An animal in the wrong place can cause all sorts of havoc.


    I can trump your squirrels with monkeys.

    We have a number of overseas facilities in countries where monkeys roam freely. We've had issues with their intrusion into the datacentre and offices, so now employ a big man with an even bigger Monkey to act as a deterrent to them. Somewhere we have a photos - I'll try and dig them out.

    Never mind the security guard with the GSD, it's the monkey you need to be scared of!

  19. Chris King


    One server room in my current gig has something that can only be described as a "swamp" next to it.

    Open the emergency exit, and half the insect kingdom descends upon you.

    Mostly the half that stings and bites.

  20. Pirate Dave Silver badge


    Apparently rats find the plastic sheathing on fiber optic cables to be a delicacy. We got a call about 10 years ago that the network had gone out in a building, so inspection of the fiber box in the closet showed that the rats had been making quite a feast of those delicious morsels of plastic. We re-terminated the affected fibers, applied the requisite amount of expanding foam filler to all holes in the fiber box, and even put a few mothballs in for good measure. 10 years later, and the rats have left it alone.

    Oh, I forgot to mention - the building where the rats found the fiber so delicious? Yes, it was none other than the University's dining hall. So kids, tell your parents that even rats find plastic more palatable than school food.

  21. Runty Dog

    I would advise caution in your battle against squirrels, they sometimes get even.

    Chicago Alderman Speaks Against Squirrels, Squirrels Gets Revenge:

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not nearly as bad as some stories

    We discovered some shredded insulation and what appeared to be downy feathers on top of a network rack one day. Shrugged it off and vacuumed the rack, since the wiring closet was open to the roof above and tended to get dusty. Several days later we noticed the material had returned. While pondering the source, we heard peeping noises. We discovered that there was a small gap in the edge of the metal roof in which a bird had nested. Three or four baby birds were recovered from the eave, and relocated to the outdoors. No clue if they survived or not.

  23. Tikimon

    Squirrel evasion tactics

    Squirrels are doomed to react in the wrong way to cars because their behavior evolved to avoid hawks, owls and such. They dart back and forth until the last second to try and throw off the raptor's strike. You see it in other animals too. It's a lifesaver in the wild, but around vehicles it becomes a Suicide Dance and they get killed by something that wasn't even chasing them.

    Also, once they decide to run for it critters tend to flee straight away from pursuit. If a predator's after them, turning lets the pursuer cut the corner and close the distance. It also makes them run ahead of an approaching car rather than turn to the side and get out of the way. Works in the wild, but suicidal around vehicles.

    What looks like utterly stupid behavior is very useful in the wild. Gonna take 'em a while to adapt to humans and cars, methinks...

    1. Dwarf

      Re: Squirrel evasion tactics

      Squirrels - natures natural speed bumps

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not the vermin's fault, really

    I hate squirrels with vengeance after one ate through the wiring loom on my car and built a nest. Bloody tree rats!

    But these types of animals are just doing what they do: finding food and shelter. If we humans given them chances to find that in our buildings, that's on us, not them. We know what they do and we still act surprised when they do it.

    Having said that, if you are going to fight back, I think a quick kill trap is far kinder than a glue trap, or poison. When you decide to take a life it's incumbent on you to do it as quickly and cleanly as possible.

  25. VinceH

    It wasn't my buddy from IT support, then.

  26. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Get your server room a mascot

    A rat terrier.

  27. JimC

    A damn rat got into my house and chewed through near enough every damn UTP cable. Had to completely rewire the place.

  28. Marshalltown


    A year ago all the power in the office went out. Baffled the designated investigator went to check the breakers - nope, no problem there. Well, there's a main breaker outside next to the transformer beside the meter. Hmmm, tripped. Reset - no power in the building nor any repeat trip, that's odd. Call the power company. Crew of two arrives and goes through all the "it must be your fault" dance steps before looking into their side. Finally. Ah hah! one barbecued squirrel in the conduit running under the driveway from the pole - handy, those fibreoptic cameras. Happily, the line from the pole to the building is power co. responsibility, and the beasty had entered by traveling down through the conduit on the pole into the underground bit. For some reason, once there the critter decided to sample 13,8 kV. When the power company extracted the little corpse, all it needed was sauce.

  29. PKjunction

    A while back we had problem with a mouse in the server room that was solved with a glue trap. I felt it was cruel to just toss it in the dumpster where it would die of fear, dehydration, or malnourishment, or a combination of all three. I got a large zipper seal bag from one the chemical labs in the building, soaked a bit of paper towel in Ethyl Ether (used as an early anesthetic) dropped the soaked paper towel into the bag, dropped the glue trapped mouse into the bag, sealed the bag, and dropped the bag into the dumpster.

  30. Queasy Rider


    I once watched a friend pick up a baby mouse caught in a glue trap and crush the mouse's head between his thumb and forefinger. Shudder.

    1. Number6

      Re: Humane?

      Our cat used to bring live mice in to play with in the shower because somehow she'd discovered they couldn't escape up the slippery sides of the shower tray. When she'd finished playing she'd have lunch. Very crunchy sounds would ensue, especially as she chewed on the skull.

      At least it was easy to clean up the remains.

  31. olderfart

    Very Large Vermin

    When I was an apprentice at Bristol Aeroplane Company (in 1957 !) I was helping to build the Bristol Type 175 Britannia airliner. At knocking-off time (around 1730) we heard a frantic tapping coming from the rear of a fuselage in the assembly area. The rear nose cone had been revitted on that afternoon. After the assembly had been dis-assembled - a fellow apprentice was discovered in the space - together with an empty coke bottle and the remains of his sandwich lunch. Nothing odd about this; apprentices were always trying to find places where they could hide from the foreman!

  32. Steve the Cynic

    A colleague left some food in his desk...

    And the mice that were already in the building found it, so he had a desk full of droppings and mouse wee.

    We all laughed, but it did reinforce the message that your work desk drawers are not for storing food overnight.

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