fyi, this is an article that was posted in 1990 about "Willard"
WASHINGTON -- A foot-long rat dubbed 'Willard' by office workers ate the innards ofa $93,000 Xerox machine in which he was living on Capitol Hill and killed the photocopier, congressional workers said Thursday.
Willard was later tracked down by exterminators and succumbed to poison.
The replacement machine set taxpayers back $107,000, less the $10,000 trade-in on the scrap metal Willard left behind.
Lynne Richardson, office manager for the House Legislative Counsel's office, said for several weeks before the huge machine ground to a halt workers noticed that something was chewing up the computer and telephone cables in the office, and food left out overnight was disappearing. Staffers and cleaning personnel working late at night occasionally spotted Willard, but exterminators could not get him.
Then, in the week before Congress adjourned in November -- perhaps the busiest week for the office which helps members draft legislation -- the Xerox 9900 machine ground to a halt.
Inside the 9-feet-long-by-4-feet-high machine was a nest of shredded paper and banana peels, corncobs and a sealed plastic bag with a Hostess Twinkie.
But Willard -- who had eaten wiring inside the computerized machine but avoided those with large amounts of current, including some with enough to electrocute humans -- was nowhere to be found. He eluded baits, sticky pads and steel traps.
'It's amazing he could evade the best efforts to catch him for so long, but it's like one of our attorneys said, 'Rats haven't been around for 10,000 years for no good reason,'' Richardson said.
As for Willard, although a positive identification was impossible, three rats were found dead two weeks ago from walking through poison powder near the office in the Cannon House Office Building, and at least one was suspected of being the rat that ate the Xerox machine.
While Willard's official size was never determined with finality -- Capitol Hill's newspaper Roll Call put it at a foot -- Richardson said, 'The more (people) saw it, the bigger they thought it was getting. At the end they imagined he was as big as a house.'
Richardson said that while Willard was on the lam after killing the machine, Xerox came to the office's rescue. She said the firm found a backup machine and had it installed in three days, unusual because that model is so large it must be dismantled for moving and outside riggers had to be used to get it to a truck.