It’s interesting the pests you eliminate and the ones you introduce on the quest to grow your own produce, become self-sustainable and practice – natures way. I think I have mentioned before the generations of squirrels that have taken up residence in my attic for the past century. I have tried numerous tactics to extradite them from this old house but they feel a sense of entitlement that has been hard to eradicate. A sense that my beloved German Shepherd has managed to turn on it’s heels in the last few years with her compulsive hate for bushy tailed rodents.
Last fall I had enough produce to finally fill my coffers.I chose to store it in my son’s old bedroom – if you can call it that. An old kitchen off the west wall, with a separate foundation. It’s a large room, with noteworthy charm, but cold as hell in the winter and much more accessible than manhandling the 50 pound trap door to access the basement, where who-knows-what-dwells.
It was well into the winter before I began to see the tell tale signs of something nibbling on my harvest. It was shortly after that when I began to hear something larger than a mouse but smaller than a moose. This is when I began to turn the volume up on my computer.
Spring arrived and the random noises continued. As summer has progressed the ‘larger than a mouse’ noises persisted and moved into the kitchen. I saw the signs; holes in the bags of flour, the dogs sniffing about. I turned up the computer.
This past week I decided to deal with this unwanted pest….and yes, I suspected it was a rat but like head lice, I remained in denial. Likely a chubby chipmunk with heavy feet I reasoned. I asked my pest control guy from work to hook me up with a trap. I told him only that it was bigger than a mouse. That’s when he gave me JAWS. He left a plastic contraption on my desk. It looked unimposing, sleek and efficient. I thought there would be a big learning curve but it was simple to set and bait and after testing, gave a ferocious snap. I assumed this was a trap designed to kill – instantly.
Well, you know, things are never what you assume. I baited JAWS with some peanut butter and wedged it beside the stove. I dreaded checking it the next morning but was relieved it was untouched. I pictured trapping something ‘larger than a mouse’ and having the distasteful and brief guilt of disposing of the mysterious rodent. What I didn’t expect is what took place the next night.
I woke at 3:00 am. Nothing untoward, just a random, restless wake up call and the frustration of trying to get back to sleep. Then the snap! Then the dogs racing to the kitchen. I wasn’t near the computer so I turned up the TV. My ever helpful daughter felt the need to investigate and was in tears.
“There’s a kitten in the trap! It’s purring!!”
No kitten. It was a rat and as rats are want, it was deceivingly guileless with it’s poor head in the trap, whining with an endearing and heart wrenching squeaking. I tried to walk away and return to my bed, thinking it would be over soon but I could hear the poor thing fighting and whimpering in desperation. My daughter was in her room crying and I, in all good conscious could not let the horror continue.
As a sidebar I should mention – during any level of anxiety in this house my daughter’s two- year old black lab hides between your legs. I am wearing a loose fitting nighty.
Clad in my nighty, flip flops and donning gloves, the lab following between my legs, head in my crotch, I pull the whining, squirming, rat-in-a-trap from beside the stove and briefly consider putting it back in my son’s room with a block of cheese and my never ending apologies. Sanity prevailed and I headed for the front door, lab still up my crotch, the rat flailing in the trap and flung it onto the neighbour’s lawn.I know it will probably come right back in but I am not loading it up in the car and driving at 4am in my nighty, with a lab under my skirts.
So if any of my neighbours were looking out their window in the wee hours of the morning here is what they saw: that crazy rat made a bee-line straight back to my property and I stomped my feet and chased it down the road screaming like a crazed woman. I don’t think a rat has ever booked it like that thing did down any street, especially one with whiplash.
My trap is set again but I am wearing fleece pants to bed for the next week and I am going to watch Ben.