Rats are part of city life, of course. We come home from the bar at 2:30 am and they scurry across the road. One time we were with friends and we watched one flee and jump up inside the undercarriage of Cha's car.
But now we have rats in our ceiling, between the roof and the drywall of the master bedroom. At least I presume they're rats, because squirrels aren't nocturnal, and pigeons coo. They wake me at night with their scrabbling around, those little claws scraping the sheetrock. Occasionally they'll gnaw on something and make a more significant sound. I suppose they're gnawing joists. I've heard two at one time, but of course there might be more than that. Cha sleeps through it, though she was up late enough the other evening to hear them for the first time, and she made a perfectly understandable scrunched-up face.
We've not had any mice in the house, and there's no evidence of rats in the basement or inside the living areas of the house at all, but the idea of rats inside the ceiling makes me uncomfortable. Sometimes I fall back asleep after they waken me with their mysterious to-and-fro. Then they'll quiet down and I dream about them. Last night my pillow was sliding down the bed frame and making a clicking sound. In my dream I thought this was a rat coming through the wall and into the pillow, and I awoke terrified. Of course the walls are brick with drywall over top from the roof to the cellar, so it's impossible for anything to travel inside the walls. There are, however, walls around the stairwell which would allow access to the ceilings in the first and second floors.
I can find no access point around the foundation, so these rats are coming in from the roof, or perhaps from one of the neighbor's houses. It's possible they're climbing down what used to be a chimney for an old coal-burning forced-air system. I don't see any other holes in the roof. I don't want to use poison and have dead creatures rotting inside the roof. I went through that at my parents' old farm house in Red Lion, PA. The house backed up to a hill which over the years via erosion had come to touch the eaves at the back of an addition. Through this contact snakes moved into the ceiling of the first floor; we were unaware of this, despite the occasional appearance of a five-foot black snake in the living room or kitchen, until a plumber took down part of the kitchen ceiling and found a dozen twisting serpents entwined around the pipes.
Needless to say he was off his step-ladder rather quickly.
Only then did I notice the stealthy sound of snakes slithering above the plaster ceilings. My parents had the hill dug back from the addition and the eaves sealed, and within a week the entire house stunk to high heaven as dozens of snakes decayed inside the ceilings and walls. I'd rather not have dead rats do the same here. I also don't want to take down the ceiling and trap them. So I'll have to find their route and block it off at a time when they're not inside, if possible, which means getting a pro in, and paying money for it. My experience with pest control companies--all of it commercial experience--doesn't give me confidence in their ability to solve this problem. But I don't want a colony building nests above my bedroom, with the inevitable eventual gnawed access holes through the walls, so professionials it shall be.
In the meantime, we live an HPL tale, presumably without the subterranean antediluvian shrines to Yog-Sothoth.
And--speaking of Yog-Sothoth: