A couple of nights ago, I stepped out my back door for a minute, and saw a rat. It jumped from my neighbor’s boat to his roof and ran in the opposite direction from me. It was a big one – but I’m sure it wasn’t a possum. It could just as easily have jumped onto my roof from where it was. Arrgh.
I love most animals, but I don’t love rats. I’m not wild about most rodents, actually. I’ve never been tempted to have a guinea pig or hamster or mice as pets. I don’t mind squirrels, but I have a feeling that we’re going to become adversaries once my garden gets going. Rats are another matter. Especially big ones.
One of my most vivid memories from late childhood is of my across-the-street neighbor on her front porch, beating a big rat to death with a shovel. Acckkk.
When I first moved to my neighborhood, there were a good many feral cats around. They had their individual territories staked out, and a couple of them patrolled my property. That was a good thing. Two or three years ago, the cats left. The lady who was feeding them quit doing that (I think she got sick), and I guess they headed for greener pastures.
Until a couple of years ago, I also had a family of black racers (snakes) living around my house somewhere. As animals go, I’m not wild about snakes either, but the black racers are good snakes. They don’t bite, they’re not poisonous, and they eat vermin. Like rats. I don’t know where the snakes went, but I haven’t seen one or a shed skin anywhere for at least a year.
A third recent development is that the guy two doors down has had his very small yard declared a wildlife sanctuary, or whatever that’s called. That’s very noble, but what it means in reality is that he doesn’t cut his grass. So it’s a jungle over there. Maybe that’s where my snakes went. I bet it’s also a good hiding place for rats. That’s the direction in which the rat was headed when I startled it.
So, to recap, the cats are gone, the snakes are gone, Sanctuary Dude has opened a rodent haven two doors down, and I’ve just seen a really big rat.
Coincidence? I think not.