View Full Version : Greek Rats?

18-01-08, 13:48
Sitting here bored at work, and my mind has drifted to the flotilla holiday we have booked in the Sporades in August.

Last year in the Ionian, we noticed that many people had cut the bottoms off mineral water bottles, and threaded their moorings lines through. Does the team think that this would actually be effective? I donít really think that rats will be a real problem - unless we raft to a garbage scow. And, I saw no evidence of rodent activity, but that may have been because of all the cats. But if ATM (Attila the Mum) is concerned so must I be.

By the way, I keep mice out of a sailing dinghy and glider trailer with moth balls. No trouble in years while all around me succumb. No I donít throw them at the pesky critters, I just leave a few in saucer under the covers. And before someone suggests it, no, I wonít be balancing my balls on a mooring line. Nor do I have trouble catching donor mothsÖ

18-01-08, 14:01
I have quite a few memories of rats on boats in the Ionian (never on ours fortunately) particularly when moored alongside in Frikes and at Port Atheni. I don't remember anyone worrying about them in the Sporades though when we were there a couple of years ago.

18-01-08, 14:16
No problems with rats in Port Atheni, only a Breton bagpipe player at 7am Ė but nothing a hosepipe couldnít sort out.

18-01-08, 14:25
Have you read this month's YM? I suspect Turkish and Greek ship's rats are closely related. Rats are intelligent, inventive and like chewing things. Much more so in all respects than your average mouse/gerbil/squirrel - or whatever lesser rodent you have experience of. Just be glad that these guys (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7189341.stm) aren't around any more!!

18-01-08, 14:25
A friend thought to interest his wife in sailing by chartering a boat. She refused to countenance local Scottish weather, so he chartered in Greece.
She awoke one night to the sound of gnawing. Once fully awake, she realised that it was a rat gnawing her finger. Horrified, she flicked it off the bunk, and it was never seen again.
She did have great trouble finding a doctor or chemist's that could provide her with appropriate medicaments to deal with the wound. She is a pharmacist, and knew what she wanted, but it was the weekend, and Greece was asleep, apparently.
The plot failed, or succeeded, depending on your point of view; she is not interested in sailing at all.

18-01-08, 15:09
Our one flotilla sailing holiday in the Ionian many years ago was enlivened one evening by an intruding rat.

We had gone ashore, with the crew of the other yacht we were paired with, for supper in a pleasant taverna up the hill, and after a very enjoyable evening returned to our craft.

We said goodnight, as as I was going aboard mine heard a feminine shriek from the other yacht "There's a rat" the lady fled to the safety of our boat, and I joined her husband in the search. (Meanwhile the lady's dad, had sensibly locked himself in the heads /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif )

The rat was running around the saloon trying to get out, but the companionway steps were too high. Fortunately it took refuge behind some curtains where I was able to clock it with a winch handle.

Having disposed of the intruder we then had to reassure the ladies by singling up the mooring lines so that only one from each boat went ashore at the bow, over which we had threaded the fuel funnels. Certainly the rat must have boarded along a mooring line, and we hoped our defences would deter any friends and relations.

We had no further bother but no-one slept much that night.

18-01-08, 15:35
Dont be so soft! ees no rat ees hamster meester Fawlty. /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

18-01-08, 15:53
Those are the first first hand accounts I've heard of rats aboard in Greece. All other accounts have been 'a friend said . . . ', and we know how reliable those are . . .

18-01-08, 16:09
We had a rat aboard on two successive nights in Meganisi (or two rats on successive nights?) The first night it left evidence of its presence but we saw no damage. The second night I heard it gnawing. In the morning we found that a few almonds in a polythene bag had been eaten but the biggest consumption was of Duck Tape that was stuck on to an old, split, can cooler.

We were anchored with long lines ashore. I must assume that it (they?) came aboard along one of the lines. When I discussed this with other, more experienced Ionian sailors, every one had first hand experience of them. In Port Atheni one was seen swimming out to a boat and boarding up the anchor chain. A lady chased one around her deck, upon which it jumped overboard and swam to another boat, which it boarded in the same way.

The story is that Meganisi was overrun with cats a few years ago. The authorities wiped them out, giving the rats plenty of opportunity to flourish. Cats are now returning in increasing numbers, so maybe the rats will be reduced in number.

18-01-08, 16:26
In Port Atheni one was seen swimming out to a boat and boarding up the anchor chain. A lady chased one around her deck, upon which it jumped overboard and swam to another boat, which it boarded in the same way.

[/ QUOTE ]

I guess we should have put a funnel on our stern lines as well - if we had had 2 more that is - but we had only 1 per yacht.

The one that had been aboard was about half grown, and had raided the peanut packets and crisps as far as I recall, so not much mess.

So if cruising in Ionian essential gear is at least 3 fuel funnels?

And don't anchor too close inshore?

18-01-08, 16:31
So if cruising in Ionian essential gear is at least 3 fuel funnels?

And don't anchor too close inshore?

[/ QUOTE ]

Or anchor quite close and throw peanuts onto their decks after they've retired?

18-01-08, 16:54
Well, I won't stop anchoring close inshore, as for me this is the best place to be in most circumstances. Quays are usually high-stress areas, loads of opportunity for collisions, crossed anchor rodes, neighbour boats leaning on you when their anchor drags, others tripping your anchor, all of which happened to me last year. Give me a nice beach or cliff any day, especially if I can get my transom into the wind.

Otherwise yes, three large funnels or something similar are on my list of things to take back this year. One alternative for shore lines is old 2 litre water bottles. Cut a pair of holes, opposite each other about half way up the bottle and the size of the rope. Cut a slit between them on one side, so you can get it over the rope. Put a little water in the bottle. It will now hang vertically. If a rat attempts to climb over it, it will rotate and the rat will fall off. Apparently this method has been seen working.

18-01-08, 18:12
we have been boarded at night by rats on several occasions,in Port Atheni,Kalamos ,Kioni and Assos to name but a few places. They generally can't get downstairs as I have made mossie screens which effectively stop them,however we can sonetimes hear them scratching about on deck. I made plywood discs which fit over the mooring lines and anchor chain..this seems to work,but if we are berthed next to other boats they can and do jump from boat to boat. The chandlers in Greece sell a glue stuff which you put on a bit of card along with some bait. I have heard that this is effective. To be honest,the mossies are more of a problem than the rats.

18-01-08, 20:32
Never had any problems with rats, not on boats, anyway, but I did find a grey squirrel on board Jissel once - on a deep water mooring 200 yards from the shore.

It scared the sh!t out of me when I took the cockpit cover off!

I tried to catch it to take it ashore, but it jumped ship and was las seen swimming further out into the harbour. Maybe it thought Rame Head was a safer bet!

19-01-08, 14:20
I have seen rats in Poros [Keph], Meganisi, Lakka and Preveza [Lots]. In Lakka we were anchored at least 200 metres off shore and were boarded via the swim platform.

The plastic anchor 'balls' drilled in the centre, slip over mooring lines without untying.

Assume rats everywhere and you won't be surprised.

19-01-08, 16:19
<<< The chandlers in Greece sell a glue stuff which you put on a bit of card along with some bait. I have heard that this is effective. >>>

After we were boarded, a lady on the boat adjacent to us said that they had not had success with these glue pads (they had been boarded several times, too). She found plenty of evidence that the rats had been on the pads but they didn't stick to them.

19-01-08, 16:46
That's very interesting...I was recommended to use it by a flotilla skipper ..(sailing hols) they keep some with them and seem to find it works,however I have not tried it myself.so can't vouch for it.

19-01-08, 18:12
We've just bought a mammoth 'Little Nipper' to take back. There's no arguing with one of them - ours would kill a medium-sized dog!

19-01-08, 18:33
As a relative local have you heard about the newish Etap ashore in Kalamata last winter? Owners returned to find it chewed out from stem to stern by mummy rat and her offspring. Insurers say no dice and marina position is it must have been onboard and pregnant when the boat arrived. All third hand of course.

I've never seen any rats there, though there are plenty of mangy cats around that are not adverse to hopping from boat to boat when ashore.


19-01-08, 20:47
on no account would that idea keep the pie rats off! "see sailing hollidays newsletter sent out with 2008 brochoures"
/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

20-01-08, 10:28
Yanni Varkas, the local engineer (very good value for money!), was making an estimate of damage for the insurance company. He asked me aboard to have a look and get some education. I was astonished. All the wiring visible had been damaged, several poly pipes had been chewed, and hardly a shred of cotton remained. His first action was to pull out the batteries in case a short occurred upstream of the isolator switches. One locker, which presumably had contained clothes, was just a heap of cotton wool and a few buttons and zips.

They sure do a lot of damage when confined . . . that boat wasn't going to sail again until completely rewired . . . and it had a load of extra stuff on board; generator, air conditioning, television, you mention it.

21-01-08, 10:10
Thanks for the info.

I was hoping that tales of Greek rats swimming out to anchored boats were just an urban myth.

I wonít be showing ATM this thread. We didnít actually see any rats last summer in the Ionian, but then Iím sure they would prefer to be aboard the bigger posher yachts, rather than the tatty jag we had.

Iím assuming that there will be rats in the Spoarades, so I will go armed with moth balls, fuel funnels, poison , rat traps, a cat and a copy of YM with which to thump them.

21-01-08, 11:52
Here are two first hand experiences for the jimbaerselman and other sceptics !
The first experience was when I stuck my head out of the hatch in the middle of the night after hearing a noise and was suprised to see a large patch of dried leaves at the far end of the boat blow onto the next boat.
I then realised that there was no wind and the dark shapes were not leaves but about 20 rats !
I had disturbed them........but not as much as they had disturbed me !
Our other experience was when moored bows to and returning from the taverna late at night, feeling no pain, we were climbing over the pulpit, legs akimbo, one foot ashore and one over the toerail, hauling ourselves over the pulpit when we met several rats going the other way, leaving the boat, in a scurry of tails and glinting eyes !
Not a good position to be in when meeting rats !
It was few years ago but I am pretty certain that the "leaves" were at Spartahori on Meganissi. The "akimbo" moment was at Sivota on Lefkas.
Suprisingly Sunsail did not mention the opportunity for close rat encounters anywhere in their brochure.

21-01-08, 21:07
As most responses confirm, rats are a problem in the Ionian for sure and probably elsewhere if they don't have a good cat population.

Apart from chewing clothes and fingers, rats LOVE the insulation around electric cables and co-axial cable. I spent some hours helping a friend in Corfu fix a problem with his B&G instruments/autopilot. Eventually traced to one of the yellow network cables being knawed through in 2 places. At the same time I found the main cable loom had been attacked but mainly only the binding tape and some insulation, no conductors cut. The rat had used this for a nice nest near to the hot water tank. In my TV studio days, it was common to find co-ax cables running in basements or ducts to be chewed through. If your electronics start to act up, this could be the cause.

The sticky goop sold to catch rats had no effect and it was hard to find a trap. They eventually bought a trap and caught the little blighter after 5 days. There is a kitchen/laundry goods shop down opposite the old harbour in Corfu which does a great trade in funnels for mooring ropes. I went there and was looking at the different sizes and without any prior discussion (other than "kalimera" (sp)) the shop keeper came up and asked if I had rats and what size ropes I had!

The stories of rats swimming to the anchor chain or other mooring ropes and climbing up is a bit scary. When I run stern ropes to shore I use chains to submerged rocks for preference over tying to trees but I can see that is not foolproof, maybe reduces the risk a bit.

If you do get rats on board, look for the warmest place, near the engine or hot water tank, to find their nest/sleepover spot. The trouble is it still doesn't catch them. A beefy trap is certainly the best - pack a couple with your swimsuits before you go!

22-01-08, 09:15
Just to add to the joys of boat ownership, or should that be rat ownership, itís not just the physical damage caused by the little brown darlings we have to worry about. My understanding is that they are blessed with a week bladder and they trail a film of urine wherever they walk. Leptospirosis, Lyme disease and Salmonellosis are all vectored by rats, as well of course plague and Typhus. Note that the bacteria that cause these diseases can survive in dried urine. So think next time when you take a swig from an unwashed can or bottle thatís been sitting in a cellar.

Mind you, char grilled rat is a prime source of protein along the Mekong River. Kebab anyone?

22-01-08, 11:31
Correct re Leptospirosis, and perhaps Salmonella, Lyme disease however is vectored by ticks mainly from deer , Plague is associated with rats, but again it is not the urine but the rat flea which is the vector. (there is some recent work which casts some doubt on this, but that is the long established belief)

Typhus is a human to human spread disease, again fleas and lice are the vectors, mainly found in places where there are large numbers of people with poor living standards and access to washing etc.
Nazi concentration camps were full of Typhus victims, and at the end of the war many of the volunteers who worked there contracted the disease.

22-01-08, 14:11
I should have known that I should be careful how I phrase things on a quick reply.

Murine ďrat borneĒ typhus is transmitted to humans by rat bite or by their fleas. I also seem to remember reading that there is evidence that urban rats can act as reservoir hosts for Lyme disease spirochetes - ticks then do the transmitting as with deer. I would also like to add ďrat-bite feverĒ into the mix.

A quick Google suggests that rats are responsible for carrying nearly 70 different disease types http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s781304.htm No wonder that most of us seem to have a primeval hatred for them?

22-01-08, 23:50
Maybe you were thinking of Weil's Disease( another name for Leptospirosis), rather than Lyme disease?