Which household pests do people hate the most? Most would go for cockroaches. I would too. Those insects always come back no matter what you do to them. Rats would come a close second in the list of most hated pests.
Recently, I ended the life of one rat that had made my nights a living hell. I’d be sound asleep dreaming the dream of someone without a single care in the world and suddenly I’d be wide awake, my heart racing.
A scratchy noise had woken me up.
My imaginative mind would ask all the wrong questions about the origin of that noise. Were thieves trying to pick the front lock of my apartment? Had a snake somehow found its way inside and was slithering around towards the bed?
I think of ghosts too. And that’s not because I live on a regular diet of bad Nollywood movies. If you had a Christian upbringing like I did, ghosts, devils and evil spirits are never far from your thoughts when it gets pitched dark and the whole world is sleeping.
Sunday schools and the bible burned those scary images in my mind.
With these thoughts, you can understand why I’d wake up with a racing heart, my body all stiff like a corpse experiencing the onset of rigor mortis.
Have you ever wondered why loud sounds like that of a passing car or people talking outside are ignored by your sleeping form, but a tiny sound made by a rodent or a cockroach would have you awake in an instant?
After that rat had done that a few times, I decided it was time to kill it. I can’t have that nasty thing disturbing my beauty sleep each night.
Here is the thing about killing rats. It is hard.
With cockroaches and other insects, fumigation with the right insecticide or chemical would effectively do the job. I do fumigate the kitchen at regular intervals when I can stand the sight of too many roaches.
To be honest, one cockroach is even too much.
Rats can hide as if their lives depend on it. One moment, you think you have them trapped in a corner, only to go there and see nothing except the accumulated dust and bit of dirt that you’d have to clean now you’ve seen it. They have disappeared into thin air.
It is as if they are versed in the act of magic like first-grade graduates of a rat version of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
If you are determined to chase, trap and kill the rat, rest assured the room would be in shambles as if a mini tornado just passed through. Again you’ll have a lot of work to do putting the room in order.
I’m speaking from experience.
If you don’t want to go down that route, you’d have to spend money on traps, chemicals, etc.
So, how much does it take to kill a rat in Nigeria?
By the time I finally killed that pesky rat in my room several days after initiating ‘Operation rat must die’, I’d spend ₦150.
Surprised? Guessed you thought this was going to be like one of those analogies about government’s incompetency that goes like this, ‘How long does it take to change a light bulb in Nigeria?’ This was the real deal.
Many people would spend a lot less than I did. Indocid, an indomethacin-based anti-inflammatory drug, sprinkled on food would kill them effectively. You can get more than enough capsules for just ₦20.
The problem with this method is you have to wait for the dead body to decompose before knowing the targeted rat is dead. Then it becomes a matter of chasing the smell with your nose around the apartment until you find the dead, smelling, and bloated rat carcass.
Removing it can get messy and the awful smell of decaying flesh could linger for some time before dissipating. Too bad if you don’t have air freshener.
And from reports floating around, rats have upgraded their survival skills. The Indocid trick doesn’t work as it used to. They avoid food garnished with the drug the way earthworms avoid salt.
Mechanical rat traps had proved unreliable for me for me in the past. The rodents avoid them too these days. They are smart like that.
That left me with the ‘rat gum‘ as the best option.
The ‘rat gum‘ is the latest fad in town as far as murdering rats go. They are everywhere. I won’t be surprised if fake ones are being sold as some clever Nigerian attempts to cash in on this hot-selling product.
The concept of the ‘rat gum’ is simple. Glue smeared on cardboard is what the contraception is all about. When an unfortunate rat steps on it for whatever reason, it is done for.
The more the rat struggles, the more the glue sticks to its body further pinning it to the cardboard. There is no escaping it no matter the size of the rat.
And this simple, very effective contraption costs just ₦150. It is clean, it is hassle free and you don’t have to stress yourself. Some people even reuse the device over and over again after removing any captured rat.
The trick to using it is simply to place one or a couple of them along their regular route(s).
But I’ve heard tales that rats are getting smart to this killer. I think it is when you go into the business of killing rats you’d get a rude awakening that rats are rather intelligent.
And because of their growing intelligence, the cost of killing a rat in Nigeria, just like inflation, is going to keep rising.