Something Lurking in my Loft

We're thinking of having a new bathroom put in the attic of our house. It'll add value to our home and give me somewhere to escape to contemplate my home insurance policies. The attic was converted in the 1960's but there's plenty of space and it's very solid up there.

But, obviously, I wanted to check the joists to make sure the roof would take a full bath and me in it ­ and I wouldn't come crashing through the ceiling (and having to claim on my home insurance). So, we lifted some floor boards to check, only to find what can only (and accurately) be described as thousands of petrified pellets of poo. Loads of it. Bags full, filling the cavity between the floorboards and the ceiling below. The house I should say is over 100 years old and, although I'm no expert at poo dating, these deposits did look VERY ancient indeed.

At first I thought, judging by the size and shape of the mini-Malteser shaped fossilized faeces, that some child had once kept a rabbit in the attic and, being too lazy to clean out its hutch properly, had merely hidden its droppings under the boards. Seemed strange but perhaps that's what Edwardian children did? Or perhaps a squirrel had once taken up residence?

But then, just last night, reading Bill Bryson's excellent 'At Home' - a fascinating history of the British house - I found my answer. Basically in the UK there are two types of rats... Brown Rats who tend to live on the ground (and sewers) and Black Rats who prefer to climb and which are also known as... Roof Rats.

I must admit, I never knew any rats lived in roofs but apparently, they love it and for some time, many years ago, a family of Roof Rats obviously lived, loved and went to the toilet a lot in my attic. Only for me to discover the evidence many, many years later.

So, if you ever find something unwanted in the loft of your house, hopefully having searched 'there's lots of poo in my loft' on the web you'll find this blog and you'll know why.

This public service blog was brought to you by Performance Direct, providers of fine home insurance, building and contents cover to home owners and landlords across the UK.

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