Dorm Rats: Where Are Those Owls When You Need Them?

Rice University Facilities, Engineering, and Planning department spokesperson Susann Glenn denies there’s been any increase in the number of reported on-campus sightings of rats over the last 2 years. But senior Marina Masciale tells the Rice Thresher rats have “pretty much infiltrated” the new section of Hanszen College. Her evidence: “rat turds all over the floor of my room and even on my bed.”

A sticky rat trap was put up in her room to try and catch the rat, but the trap only caught a cockroach which Masciale believes the rat then proceeded to eat, as it was gone the next day. “Housing and Dining has since then upgraded to heavy-duty rat traps – the ones that snap,” Masciale says.

After some holes were patched, Masciale is sleeping in her own room again. But she tells reporter Brooke Bullock

she can still hear the rats scratching in the A/C unit. The girls across the hall have heard it in their room as well, according to Masciale.

“It’s still alive, and it’s trying to escape,” Masciale said.

Photo of Hanszen College New Section: Wikipedia [license]

13 Comment

  • The rats must have fought off the squirrels to establish their presence on campus. No small feat, considering Rice squirrels are the largest, most aggressive, and least fearful squirrels I’ve ever seen.

  • It’s tricky dealing with rats and ants from an institutional perspective. Only licensed exterminators can apply pesticides. Additionally, liberal application of household type bug sprays can really mess up your indoor air quality. Mice and rats, if poisoned, can die in inaccessible places. Many building occupants are very squeamish about glue traps or snap traps.

    Ants, especially, are a fact of life. Back when I lived in the old section of Hanszen a generation ago, when the weather got nice (as it now is) the ants would perk up and start coming inside, even to the third and fourth floors. I used to call it “Ants In College!”

    A small correction: the Facilities, Engineering, and Planning spokesperson spells her first name “Susann,” with two “n’s.”

  • A lot of the time what people think are rat turds are actually cockroach turds. Cockroach turds are cylindrical while rat turds are more oval shaped. The fact that she caught a cockroach in her rat trap kind of confirms that suspicion.

  • @marmer: Corrected now, thanks!

  • @marmer, what years? I lived in old section Hanszen (the BEST section IMHO) 1983-1986.

  • Baker College, old section, 5th floor aerie, had ants. They were attracted by the instant ramen-noodle cups kept by the girls in the other suite. The ants ate through the shrinkwrap to get to the goodness inside. One girl prepared her cup o’ ramen even with the ants clearly visible. She said they only made the dish saltier.

  • @GoogleMaster: You and I would have been there together in the old section in 83-84. I was a five-year student and lived off campus in the 84-85 school year, graduating that spring. Prior to that, however, I did something rather uncommon: I lived in the old section for all four years with the same roommate. And the old section was unquestionably better. The new section was like a bad fifties motel. ;-)

  • Rats at Rice a longstanding tradition! When a rat jumped on me in one of the closets in the Chemistry building, the prof I worked for refused to believe it…until one jumped on him the next week. THEN we got the exterminators in. Possibly it’s those rats’ mutant descendants still scratching in Hanszen?

    I was in Roy Jones’ office in Rayzor Hall once when a rat walked by on the electric line outside in broad daylight. Rather startling. I think we both forgot what we were discussing.

  • Quite some years ago some Shepherd School friends and I were heading back to Rice from a fine evening at the Athens Bar & Grill. Having no stomach for retsina, I was the designated driver. Coming down Calhoun (now St. Joseph Parkway, yeah right) at 2 in the morning I saw quite clearly by streetlight a rat the size of a large housecat calmly walking across one of those streets between some St Joe hospital buildings. The rodent was crossing under one of the bridges between the buildings, for extra protection and lighting. It was huge.

  • I do my daily run around Rice every morning at 4.30 – unbelievable how many rats are scurrying around on the path that circles the campus. Had one run over my foot one morning.

    And a slightly off topic question to yous Rice alumni – what is the activity where students run around the campus at night slathered only in shaving cream? Does that still happen? I witnessed this a couple times, many years ago.

  • @Brooke:

    OK, I almost certainly know you in real life, if you’re old enough to have been to Athens Bar and Grill and young enough to known the concept of a designated driver. Especially if you were hanging with music majors. I don’t know what you saw since I wasn’t there, but I’m guessing it was a possum. They’re pretty common here and they look like really big, pointy-faced, rats.


    I did not know about the path rats. I guess I’m too busy trying not to hit the runners wearing dark clothing. The activity you describe still happens. It is called Club 13 and tends to happen on the 13th of the month. Or the 31st. Or the 26th. Or whenever enough of them feel like it to create critical mass. It used to be called Baker 13 because the organizers were primarily from Baker College. After Baker started being fined for minor damage (primarily shaving cream cleanup) they distanced themselves and requested the name change to Club 13. Colleges which have convenient balconies sometimes greet the 13’ers with garbage-can-fulls of water.

  • @marmer, you may be right about that St. Joseph varmint. Come to think of it, it did plod like a possum. And if you think you know my civilian identity here is one more pertinent clue: I was in the first co-ed Club 13 run. Contact me privately somehow if we want to reveal the mystery.

  • When I was an undergrad, Baker 13 runners would run on the 13th, the 26th and the 31st (13 backwards).

    I lived in an utter hellhole (old Wiess, 83-85) but never saw rats there. I went steam-tunnelling quite a few times and never saw rats there either…