Sunday, January 13, 2008

Year of the Rat

Year of the RATS, that is.

Having lived in Midtown for almost twenty (!!) years, I am not scared of rats (like Melissa).

Not as long as I have Warren, that is.

At our old house, we invested in a "Have a Heart" rat trap ($10 on ebay) that catches rats in a small cage without killing them. Once the weather dipped below 40, we started hearing the tell-tale scratchy rat claw noises in the attic.

Warren (aided by Satchel) spread some peanut butter on a piece of bread and set the trap.

The next morning I heard a new noise. Lots of thuds interspersed with jangling. Clearly the sound of a rodent trying to break out of jail. Warren, followed by Satchel and Jiro, went up and excitedly came down with a tiny little rat.

Then they walked out the back door and let it go somewhere in the yard.

The day after that, we had another rat. And then another.

Ok, I know what you are thinking, but it wasn't the same rat. At least not all three times. There were visible size differences.

After several quiet weeks, we thought we had scared them all away. But then last night, we heard the now familiar sound of rodent against metal.

"I know what we can do with this one!" Satchel exclaimed.

"What?" I asked.

"Flush him down the toilet!"

Clearly Dreamworks has led him astray.

At least he didn't suggest letting it cook our snunch*.

In the end, we decided to let the rat go in the park.

Even though we fed it a nice meal of peanut butter and kept it intact, I couldn't help feeling a little guilty about keeping it caged up while we got everything ready for our forest adventure.

First it was ogled by the monkeys.

Then the cat.

It clearly did not like the car ride.

Or the dogs.

When we finally let it go (near a lovely wood pile off of a path less traveled), it raced at the speed of light up the tiniest tree you ever saw and hovered twenty feet above us on a thin little twig of a branch.

"I want to watch and see where it goes," Satchel said as we all stood peering up towards the sky.

"Trust me," I said. "He's not going to come down until he's sure that we're long gone."

I hope that he's come down by now, found a nice snack, a warm place to rest, and had a chance to tell all of the other rodents to stay far, far away from Chez Oster.

Warren says he'll probably get eaten by an owl.

*Snunch--a word Satchel coined today to denote a small lunch that is only slightly larger than a snack. (Nice to see the Greenberg coming out in him!)


Elizabeth Alley said...

Me, personally...I would not coddle them, after seeing what they are capable of eating. Your cat and your dogs had better sleep with one eye open.

RJA said...

If your kids are that attached to these little vermin then you better hope they don't find their way to my house after you set them free. I use the traps that snap their necks.

Chip said...

Sorry. I just can't coddle those vermin either. They creep me out. My abode is only open to INVITED people and animals.

warren said...

Coddle? Or Ogle? Uninvited vermin chez Oster are only ogled. Invited vermin (ie gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs) will be permitted to be coddled, as long as they don't escape and become feral.

Live-catching traps are the way to go. The problem with neck-snapping traps is that they sometimes splatter brains and gore, or maim the rat (or raccoon or squirrel) and they end up dying inside the wall. The sticky traps are inhumane, and rat poison creates more problems than it solves.

RJA said...

So I'm curious, did you have the rat you let go in your backyard sign something promising not to come back into your house? Was there a lawyer involved? How did you tell the two apart?

warren said...

Oh I knew s/he would not come back...I let the kids snip off its dainty feet with toenail clippers. They're serial killers in-training. We're all about maiming and torturing furry animals for entertainment here (blame it on the Wii).

...besides, the one that was just caught had a kink in its tail that the others did not.

Melissa said...

I think it was Warren in my wall.

Shannon said...

that is a big ass rat.

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