Thursday, August 6, 2009

Rabbit Fink

According to the local paper, Altadena is having its worst rat infestation in years. A mouse in the house would really, really bother me. Still, I’m pretty sure the creature in my attic is something else – a squirrel, a chipmunk, a bunny.

I’ve named him Rex. I know it’s a guy because he doesn’t have a family with him. He just drags his sleeping bag upstairs every evening after a night on the town with the boys, and takes off for his deconstruction job sometime before dawn.

Now that my boxer is deaf, she doesn’t care who's up there. And Albert never did. My friends don’t want to check it out, and I’m not going up there alone. So, for now, co-existence seems the only answer. Accompanied by visualization.

I see my attic as a scene from Wind in the Willows. The animals in that book lived in attics and basements, but were tidy and friendly and kept their food in tins. They wore suits. They drank wine. They had a way with words, and said things like “facetious.”

Funny thing is, this animal – this bunny, I think – occupies the ceiling above my den, and does not sound like he's planning an expansion. Maybe he finds the “click click” I make well into the night soothing. My neighbors, who have a rat rather than rabbit problem, have resorted to active measures. Some are trying glue traps, exterminators, poison pellets. I’d never use the last, but in any case, it ain’t working. One neighbor complains that not only do the rats eat all the poison, they like it, and they’re telling friends.

So, I don’t know. Sometimes my visualization technique suffers a momentary lapse, and I wonder how a rabbit can climb that high. Floor to chair, sure, but floor to roof? That's a 20 foot hop.

Fortunately, with a little yoga, I regain my concentration and composure. This is Altadena, we’re capable of anything. It’s home of the madcap Zorthian, Professor Thaddeus Lowe, and Richard Feynman. We are not ordinary people.

Surely, this is no ordinary rabbit.

(possible nocturnal sighting)


  1. the big thing is to plug up any holes your "rabbit" might be using to get into the house. "rabbits" can use 1/2 inch hole surrounding a pipe feeding a hose.

    NEVER use poison---EVERY friend or client who has used poison has ended up with having to air out some part of their home---sometimes for WEEKS--after the "rabbit" ate the poison and didn't QUITE get out of the house before expiring, usually preferring to crawl into the least accessible for human space there is in the house. Even Citrus Magic doesn't help enough to get rid of THAT smell.

    Best bet is a trapping exterminator and/or spend a good amount of time plugging EVERY hole or gap you can find with steel wool or a filling foam.

    Good luck with the "rabbit" and uhm, just leave the cheese out for him since they don't eat much of the greens like regular bunnies do.

  2. Have you considered an 800-pound gorilla?

    This is another winner, AH. Thanks.

    As for how he got there, I'm not sure, but I've watched cats and squirrels do things that I thought defied laws of gravity, physics, and decency.

  3. Ugh. Silly rabbit.

    I'm sorry to hear about your new pet.

    This post made me laugh.

  4. The rabbit in your post looks like he's wearing a tuxedo. Quite a spiffy houseguest, even though uninvited.

    Maybe adding a young terrier to your dog family might help, if you'd like to encourage this rabbit to live elsewhere.

  5. Wow. Norman Vincent Peale (author of the Power of Positive Thinking) could really learn a thing or two from you.
    Great post!

  6. We had some home-loving skunks for a while. One liked to snooze by the water heater. Very cute, as they are such pretty creatures.

    For a while they were coming up on the front porch, but would leave when I jingled my keys.

    I was told that moth balls would keep them away. So we put moth balls out there. I haven't seen any for a long time. Actually, I miss them.

  7. "no ordinary rabbit"

    How can you tell, when you haven't seen him?

    As I understand, the attached picture is only an assumption.


  8. We've seen hints of rabbits in the garage, too. Possibly the wine cellar. Not sure what to do about them but you've given me a great idea for a children's book!

  9. From what I hear, Dutchies are the snarkiest of buns. Mostly likely, his kBD (kilobuns of disapproval) have reached critical mass and you're suffering from df (disapproval fallout). You may have to resort to treats, possibly imported from, say, Oxbow? I hope Mr Burly took the time to be tickled. Rex is a treat all on his own.

  10. Rabbits in the toolshed, and possible rabbit infestation in the crawl space.


  11. I like Jean's terrier idea. My own solution when faced with bunny infestations is called money. You call an exterminator and you pay them money to solve this problem. They even have a thing called "we will now take the stinking dead bunny away from your house." Of course, the problem with the money solution is that it costs money, which is often in short supple, but I find that I am happier without the bunny and willing to forego the cash in exchange for a happier me. Do I sound horribly gauche?

  12. Don't worry, no rabbits (or cheese) were hurt in the making of this post. The photo is just a local supermodel.

    T, I bought some steel wool.

    (Banjo, separately or together?)

  13. I like the Wind in the Willows visual . . . could have used that in our last house. We saw a tiny mouse one night after we used poison and my husband felt so bad he fed it tortilla chips. That didn't help things.

  14. Well, there are rabbits, and there are rabbits.

    There's an actual grey rabbit who shows up in our yard occasionally. We've since found out that he belongs to the kids two doors down, and he's a bit of an escape artist, but likes to hang around in our yard. I helped them trap him with a laundry basket last week, but I fully expect to see him again soon.

    Then there's the recent not-a-rabbit infestation. We've had incursions of mice in the house before, and have dealt with them (in one long siege, we eliminated 11 of them in two weeks). So I expect to repel occasional mice incursions.

    But last Monday, I was sitting in my big dad chair watching TV and saw a dark streak shoot from the crack in the closet door to the space under my chair - did I mention I was sitting in the chair? And it was no mouse. I set up a trap. That morning, my wife saw the not-a-mouse in the trap -- about 12 feet from where we originlly placed the trap -- expired, apparently in an epic battle, leaving two pools of urine in its wake.

    So you have my sympathy. My friends have a creature in their upstairs attic that they've named "Cloverfield" for the destruction its left behind.

  15. Why don't you just make up your own choise?

    Anyway, how is the weather by you?


  16. You did a good job getting the skunk shot.

  17. Not to fear! I've pulled out the kitty taxi and as soon as I can get Peoples in it, I'm on my way over. Keep him as long as you like...

    well, at least a week. I'm heading out of town

    no...I don't have a number you'll be able to reach me at.

    see you in a bit

  18. Do you want the phone number of my exterminator guy?

    He'll tell you to plug the holes when your bunny has gone out to his deconstruction site, so he can't get back in. THEN you set out the poison.

    You and your neighbors may have bunnies because of the construction on your street. My guy gave me the lowdown. That brings 'em out. Drought, too.

    Incidentally, we've got folks all along the block cleaning out the brush, woodpiles and cr@p in their yards. You might want to enlist your neighbors.

  19. Dat prolly ain' no wabbit, Elmer!

  20. I was all prepared to say something about the Madrabbit in the Attic, but you say he's a he...

    I have terriers, myself.

  21. What have we got here -- three votes for a terrier and one offer of free (but deeply disturbed) cat?

    That's right Vanda! He's not a rat, he's not a rabbit. He is a gentleman.

  22. I'm thinking your "rabbit" is more likely a squirrel. They tend to go for the higher up places. But not to worry--they look just as handsome and gentlemanly in those tiny suits.

  23. You mite wanna bring a coyote back with you from de Huntington in San Marino. But, if you tell the coyote you're moving him to AltaDena he'll probably jump outta your car - tasty wabbit or not.

  24. I have visions of Monty Python's RABBIT - glad yours ain't Dynamite.
    I saw his cousin pop out of the shrubs going down Hawthorne on Thrs morning - nearly skidded to a stop but thought it would scare him off. Then there was the black one off of Anaheim on the edge of Harbor Park. They are everywhere...

  25. Crazy, I know, but I would feel slightly honoured if a furry critter took up residence in my attic. (Except in the case of rats...sorry guys...I know you get a lot of undeserved bad press..still...) I wouldn't use poison or other barbaric means of ridding myself of unwelcome squatters.

    I old boyfriend had birds who nested in the eaves right over his bedroom. The chirping and scratching drove him crazy. Me? I loved it. It always made me smile when I heard them.

    I'm not sure you've got a rabbit living in your attic though...a raccoon perhaps? Sounds like he's not causing any harm.

    P.S. I love your writing style.


  26. I want a quiet rabbit in our attic. We only seem to get gigantic tree rats. At least, they sound gigantic. I certainly never dare to stick my head up there and take a peek.

  27. Sitting on the deck
    Saw a rat on the roof
    S/He scampered down the side of the wall
    Disappeared under the roof overhang
    The wife suffered a fit of temporary vapors
    I sprung into action, as would any macho, protective Hubby
    Quickly to the phone
    Call the Rodent Pro
    He arrived with 24 traps
    Secured the basement, underground and attic
    Placed screen over all openings accessible to the elements
    Returned once a week for four weeks
    Said Zelda Rubenstein,
    In The Poltergeist,
    At the end of a long day,
    “This house is clean.”

  28. we had "rabbits" in the attic in a place we used to live in. Landlord didn't care a lick. A contractor lived in one of the apartments---which, btw, shared the attic and under apartment space. In one day Steve brought out 9 dead "rabbits" from above and below. Another dozen or so over the next few days.

    have a client who has 2 houses being built next door. "rabbits are all over their yard, displaced by the digging for the basements.

    Only problem with poison is you have to ensure all the holes are plugged. A client hired a guy to "get rid of" "rabbits". Guy said he'd come back and pick up anything that died. Problem is "rabbits" like to crawl into inaccessible areas of crawl spaces and walls to die and then---like with this specific client, it died under their walk in pantry (only other option was to start tearing out walls, guessing where it was)---it was a MONTH before anyone could walk in there without a gas mask and they had to toss the food---it ALL reeked of dead "rabbit".

    Plug, cover, stuff steel wool are the safe ways. Traps are good too. At least you can control WHERE they die and stink.

  29. I notice that my comment was deleted. I'm sorry if it offended you.

  30. Pierre, you are pulling ma jambe. I have never deleted a comment yet.

  31. I once met a pet rat in my vet's office. Her name was Violet and she was very friendly and very serene and I was allowed to pet her tail. I was very impressed.

    When I've had bird feeders they've attracted rats, in fact it has been my observation that they keep a regular schedule. I think the key is going to be the time clock, or else an out and out purge.

    And V is home.

  32. Girl,
    Let me just tell you sumpin'. That ain't no bunny and you call somebody and let them deal with him. I haven't been "right" since I carried a crate of books down my pull down stairs from my attic when I moved and a RAT jumped over my arm and was loose in Chez Virg! I had the biggest hissy fit you ever saw. Bobby the Bugman came and took care of him after I had packed a bag went for shock therapy. Show no mercy, take no prisoners. And as far as your pooches are concerned, your little friend has probably been feasting on their vittles!
    I won't sleep a wink tonight.
    PS I agree that the poison route has some unpleasant side effects but my theory is that a dead smelly rat is far better than one on the hoof.

  33. Just a couple of days ago I came across a fine poem, “Bird’s Eye,” by Amanda Rachelle Warren. I’d never seen her work before, but this one fits nicely with the darker aspects of the animal kingdom in your Bunny Post, especially the extermination . . . motif . . . ? Hope somebody else likes it, though it is not a warm-fuzzy. Because I don’t know copyright protocols, I’ll just say you can find it at:

    It’s the second poem on the page, Nov. 1, 2007

  34. Banjo, sad. At first I was reading the lines straight across, and that was kind of interesting too.

    I think my attic rat moved after seeing all these comments. I haven't heard from him in two days. Of course, he might just be on vacation. It's that time of year.

  35. Rodents can be cute but I'm sure they're a pain as pests. I wonder how the little guy got there in for first place, maybe it's Bunnicula?

  36. If it is a bunny in your attic, please don't hurt him. Bunnies are very cute and lovable pets. Do you have veggies going bad, hey give them to your "pet". Take care of him..cristina

  37. Cristina, don't worry. This was a joke. There was a rat in my attic, not a bunny. My rabbit is alive and well and has an entire guest room to himself and is very happy. His name is Bobalu.