The Pest Control Blog Ireland

You Dirty Rat As Said By James Cagney


Pests are not only part of our lives (whether we like it or not) but they are also a part of our language. I often use the term “blind as a bat” or call someone a “busy bee”. There are in fact a great many pest similes out there that people use quite freely.

taxiDid you know that the expression “dirty rat” is one of the most misquoted lines from a film from the James Cagney movie “Taxi”. The closest he got to it was: “Come out and take it, you dirty, yellow-bellied rat, or I’ll give it to you through the door!” Anyway, there are loads of pest sayings, but how much truth is there in them? And how much of a nuisance can the mentioned pest actually be?

  • Free as a bird = correct. This is a rather nice simile, quite truthful and the title of a Beatles track I think. Bird mites, unsightly droppings, damaged woodwork. Need I continue?
  • Slimey as a snake = false. Snakes have quite dry skin in fact. Not such a problem in Ireland, but for other countries it can be an issue and a dangerous one if you happen to come fact to face with one.
  • Quiet as a mouse = debatable. Yes, mice can be quiet, but if you have a house mouse in your home, which has taken a fancy to chewing through your wiring or living in your loft, you may well disagree!
  • Fruit batBlind as a bat = false. Bats are born blind, but gain their eyesight within weeks. Though their eyesight may not be brilliant, they are not blind. They are also a protected species, and you should never personally attempt to remove them from your home.
  • Dirty as a rat = false. Rats are in fact very clean animals – grooming is important to them. However, it is the environment in which they live, e.g. sewers, that make them dirty allowing them to transfer bacteria from one place to another.
  • House flyLike flies to honey = correct. Flies are indeed attracted to food sources. They are a real nuisance in the spring and summer months…buzzing noises, flies hovering round the dinner table, dead flies on window sills – sound like a familiar problem? (Yes, I hold my hands up, this is not technically a simile, but a common phrase nonetheless and worth a mention – so, shoot me!)

Other pest similes that I have come across also make me wonder, such as…. As loose as a goose?? As poor as a church mouse?? As bald as a badger?? As blind as a mole?? Do you know of any others?

This entry was posted in Debugged - the lighter side of pest control, Ireland and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Posted March 4, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    I like loose as a goose, not sure what it means but funny. Is it because they roam free or have you seen all that goose poop. LOL

  2. Posted March 4, 2010 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    You’re just as cute as a bugs ear!

    Great article.

  3. Cara
    Posted March 10, 2010 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    Hey I like this :) Interesting facts

One Trackback

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

  • Need some advice?

    Talk to one of our experts:

    For your Home

    1890 666 444

    For your Business

    1890 555 222