The shitter eating critter
For over ten years we have had a composting toilet at the barn. In the bathroom there is a conventional looking toilet seat. This is connected to a base unit in the room below via a flexible black rubber tube (Poo pipe). There is a chimney vent from the back of the unit with another black rubber tube connecting to a PVC vent pipe on the outside of the building. In the ten years it has been in operation we have never had a problem with animals eating the apparatus. Either we have new critters, or the old ones are super hungry and have developed a taste for black rubber tubing.
When we got back from the North everything was fine. Then overnight both the tube connecting the shitter to the base and the vent tube were eaten through. Something had been on the base unit and eaten holes in both tubes. We do have a lot of mice at the moment and these are the prime suspects. The main barn is mouse proof but the base unit is in the workshop which has more holes than Dutch cheese. Having gaffa taped up the holes I put down some poison and a humane trap baited with a speculos biscuit. Ariege mice like speculos biscuits. We have some stale ones, and they seem to work, so maybe it is just stale ones they like. In the morning the poison was gone, as was the biscuit in the trap (but no mouse), and there were more holes in both rubber tubes. So, how did the culprit get into the trap to get the biscuit, and then get out again? Houdini. Next came the glue. I made a cardboard ledge to go over the base unit and applied mouse glue. This then had bits of biscuit added. The concept is that the mouse gets stuck on the board and then can be removed from the area. Next morning, biscuit has gone, no mice on the glue and there is another hole in the rubber vent pipe. More gaffa tape.
Breezy read that mice do not like spicy oil. As it happens we put about 50 cayenne peppers into some olive oil about 4 years ago. It is potent. So spicy oil slavered over the rubber pipes and another stale speculos biscuit in the trap. Next morning no culprit to be found and the vent pipe now has more holes in it than tube, and more gaffa than rubber. Maybe this critter is not a mouse? This critter could be a loir (door mouse). We have had loir before, though not the rubber eating variety. Last time Breezy found one in the drawer containing rawl plugs and it got tipped out onto the grass (along with the rawl plugs). I then took it for a long walk to a neighbour’s barn.
The rubber vent pipe has now been replaced with zinc down pipe and the main shitter pipe has an external plastic shield around the base. Let’s see if that gets around the critter eating the shitter. Now we just need to catch and relocate the critter.
Next day, no more holes and no critter in the trap. Either the critter has left (permanently, I hope), or the new adaptions have succeeded.