Citizen complaint of the day: Never mind the CHUDs, it's the rats beneath our feet you have to worry about

A concerned citizen posts a photo of some uneven sidewalk bricks on Beacon Street across from the Common, says it's time for the city to spring for some rat poison, pronto:

Rats under side walk burrowing and causing sink holes.



    Free tagging: 


    Are they sure it's rats?

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    Seriously, this part of the sidewalk has been uneven for *decades*, if not centuries. I'd think nearby tree roots and time would be more likely culprits.


    Same reporter?

    If you use the gas shutoff valve as a reference it appears this sidewalk area has been patched a number of times for rat holes. There appears to be a total of 5 reports with at least some resolved by filling in under the bricks. Maybe they should just put cement underneath.

    Norway Rat

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    These are caused by Norway Rats.

    This isn't uncommon to Beacon Street. WCVB (I think) had a story about some lady in Saugus whose home was destroyed because of the rats burrowing in their foundation.

    At my condo in Chelsea, I've had to seal up at least 8 different holes since early spring because of the rats burrowing in my foundation. I hate to do the old farm trick to fix it (its so not eco friendly) but i may have too. Tired of having holes in my foundation.

    Please tell us

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    What is the old farm trick you refer to? Anything is fair game when it comes to rats, imho.

    They live in holes

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    During the day.... and come out at night.

    We used to do this with vermin on the farm... take turpentine, paint thinner, ammonia, or gasoline and wet a rag with it. Then stuff it in the entrance and exit holes. Then put dirt on the rag to seal it up.

    They pretty much die of asphyxiation and poisonous gasses that come off the rag.

    Its not very eco friendly since you're putting toxins into the ground and not very humane (although the vermin get a nice buzz before they die so they probably have no clue)

    It does stop them from burrowing in that area for a time.. or at least until the stench of the decaying vermin combined with the fumes airs out.

    I've used bleach.

    Dump a jug and seal... chlorine gas.

    Real rat management is a combination of area denial... making it suck for them to skulk around by covering the best ratways,

    And the blue cubes in approved safe black boxes sited along the runways that you leave.

    They'll be back.

    If you can convince them to bother some other slob, you're good.

    In my case the 7/11, S & S and other restaurants give them plenty of food so they mainly use my place to chill under the trash shed.

    It's urban ecology.

    How do they know?

    How do they know rats are causing the problems? Is that a common occurrence? I'd simply assume it was all part of the natural cycle of things, from frost/thaw to erosion from storm runoff to sidewalk shoveling and everything in between.

    Have you ever been to Beacon

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    Have you ever been to Beacon Hill or around the Common? Their are rats the size of puppies all over the place.



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    Question wasn't whether there were rats; rather, whether this sort of subsidence is due solely to rats.

    Curious about that myself.


    Number of repairs done

    Looking at the other reports over the last two years it appears that the city has repaired damage consistant with rodents undermining the area under the bricks. Unless there is a lot of water running in the area, I would say the rats is a pretty good guess.


    No doubt there's rats in Beacon Hill. I'm just trying to imagine why they're borrowing under the brick sidewalks so much. I never would have guessed that was a major reason for brick sidewalks to be filled with ruts.

    ...chipmunk problem? Never

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    ...chipmunk problem? Never encountered a chipmunk problem in the city. Do tell.

    No joke. Chipmunks love to

    No joke. Chipmunks love to burrow in boston too. They redig the holes in my gravel driveway as fast as I can fill them in. We added 4 inches of gravel, then used a vibrator/compactor over the burrow and the next day the hole was bigger than ever.

    No to Rotenticide

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    Please do not use Rodenticide for this problem if it can be helped. It moves up the food chain and the wonderful Red-tailed Hawks (and other wildlife) of the city will die because of it.


    I can tell they are boreal prairie dog cousins or ground squirrels by their behaviors.

    Here's a typical burrow I found along Mine Brook in Walpole last summer.

    About as big around as a golf ball,

    And they are communal with an elaborate warning system that is like a sopranino prairie dog

    One'll notice me from its stone wall perch and squeak crazily to warn the others. It gets antiphonal with chipmunk call and response.

    Woodchucks make big burrows and are larger and persistent, our basic ground marmot.

    It'd be great to run into the little chippers around here but the rats would wipe em out.

    The gray squirrels get over cause rats suck at climbing trees.

    I regularly find em in the trails I'm covering.