New evidence was discovered today of the Refrigerator Gremlin.
Around mid-morning, Eliot, my live-in male companion (also, my pet cat), was peering underneath the refrigerator as if he were stalking something. As I've mentioned here before, he doesn't show any late-night interest in the racket coming from beneath the fridge, so I thought this was significant. I pulled the refrigerator out from its cabinet to let him pursue his prey.
He ran around to the back of the fridge and stuck his head up into the motor, where the latest leak was coming from and I suspected the dead animal smell had been coming from. Although he was clearly chasing something, he couldn't get at it so I shook and rocked the refrigerator as best I could to shake any internal critters loose without destroying my cat in the process. However, despite my best effort, nothing was released.
But that was not the disturbing part. What bothers me is the big pile of feces that I found behind the refrigerator. The turds were too big to be a mouse - at least any mouse that I've ever seen - so I'm guessing that it might be from a chipmunk but also fear that it might be the "big fat rat" my plumbers had reported. And if it shits, it must also eat, and although I've seen no evidence of raided food, it must be eating something to leave a fresh pile of droppings like I found.
I swept up and disposed of the scat, but left the refrigerator out from the wall for several hours to increase the chance of the gremlin making a run for it and of Eliot catching it as it tried to make its escape. However, this plan was as fruitless as my prior attempts to exorcise my refrigerator.
It is clear now what I have to do - place a trap behind the refrigerator and push it back in far enough so that Eliot can't get back there and injure himself but out enough to create a free space behind the fridge and the wall. I don't like trapping animals and I certainly don't like killing, but the current situation with something gnawing away at the inside of my refrigerator is unsustainable.