The Rat.

Image-1White cockatoo

A few months ago we started to feed birds. Our area is populated by large flocks of native Australian birds, especially the white cockatoo. Their loud screeches wake us up very early despite the double glazing. They can graze a fully foliaged tree bare within hours and don’t mind stripping timber windows from their sills. I have been told they, like rats, have to keep chewing on things to prevent their beaks or teeth from growing outlandishly large.

After establishing our elevated dish of special parrot mix on top of the Mexican Chimenea, lots of different birds soon became used to our generosity and became more and more demanding. They would start to queue up before we were ready and while still in our pyjamas, looked in through the windows urging us to hurry up. Even Milo became irritated. It got to a stage whereby when spending time in the garden they would swoop over our heads. After reading something about birds getting spoilt by well meaning bird lovers we thought of stopping the procedure. What really gave our decision to stop and gave us some teeth, was when rats appeared to want to get fed as well.   There were suspicious droppings around our barbeque. One day I spotted a rat looking at me before scurrying away. It had a nasty glint in its left eye. We stopped the bird feeding!

While, after a while the birds stopped coming, not so the rats. We had to take action and went to the local pet shop in search of a good rat trap. We have a large pet shop near us. They are the Costco of pet needs and there is an enormous variety of pet articles, a vast display of aquariums with lots of fish and fishes,  dog and cat medications, shelves full of flea powders, puppy nappies, talcum powders, dog poo scoops and soft bottom wipes. We looked around and I watched a glass cage with motionless pet pythons, all sound asleep, softly snoring. It had a notice taped on the glass cage not to wake up the sleeping snakes. Helvi prefers not to look at snakes, let alone pet them.

We could not find their rat trap division. I asked one of the many shop girls to direct us to rat traps. She said; ” we are a ‘pro-life’ pet shop and only sell humane rat cages.” She demonstrated a small metal wire cage with a trap door that would catch the rat alive without killing it. A normal rat trap breaks the rat’s neck when sampling a bit of cheese with some peanut butter spread over it. It is a spring loaded affair which is set-up with some care! We often used them on the farm with good effect. They work better than lazy cats.

After studying the humane rat cage trap we were told it was $19.90. We then asked what would happen to the rat after it gets caught. Would they take the rat and sell it as a pet to children? I know that we had white mice as pets and we loved them and nurtured them. The shop-girl said, “you are very welcome to give us the rat, and we will care for them”. I asked; ” is there a market for wild rats?”  She answered, “no, but if we can’t dispose of them we feed them to the pet pythons!

What? Feed  live rats to snakes? We shook out heads. What about, we are ‘pro-life’ pet shop with humane cages! We went to Bunnings and bought a wooden old fashioned rat trap that so far has been avoided by a very cunning rat. We check each morning, but no rat so far.

We are not surprised those pythons in the shop looked so happy, snoring away, digesting the latest rat. They are not so worried about the ‘pro-life’ stance of the shop.

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14 Responses to “The Rat.”

  1. Robert Parker Says:

    That shop has an interesting definition of “pro-life,” not sure most people would choose to have a creature suffocated and swallowed, or perhaps swallowed alive. Kind of an odd humanitarian option – – I believe if I could choose my own method of execution, I’d rather it was a lingering death, over 101 years, from wine, women, and song.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Oh, gosh! Pesky birds who invited pesky rats to your place! Yikes! 😮
    I bet Milo said, “No way! This is not good!”

    BTW: I’m reading a paragraph and then commenting before reading the next paragraph….

    If you bought a python…it could get rid of the rats for you! 😉 😛

    “Rat trap division”…I snort-laughed! 😀

    $19.90! wowza! It’s been awhile since I’ve had to buy a mouse/rat trap!

    “Pro-life”, but they let the poor little rats get eaten alive by big snakes! Yeowza!

    Yes, rats are clever! Let us know who “wins”! 😉

    Your last sentence made me laugh loudly! Yes, the pythons have quite the life!
    HUGS!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Julia Lund Says:

    I’m with Helvi re peeking at the pythons! And it would appear that not all deaths are equal in that pro life pet shop’s manifesto.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I am rather fascinated by snakes but do not hug or pet them at all. On the farm we often came across snakes. The brown snake can get very nasty when trodden upon and they are highly venomous.
      Helvi gets very upset when near a snake and runs away with surprising agility and speed.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. shoreacres Says:

    Well, pythons have to eat, too. I don’t see any conflict at all between their philosophy and their care for their pythons. It may be that seeing nature in action’s what offends us. Gulls and pelicans swallow fish alive and whole. Owls and hawks carry live prey back to their nests. Baby ducklings are plucked from the surface of the water and carried away by hawks. It’s the rule, rather than the exception. We’re the odd ones, with our grilling and baking and frying!

    Besides, if the pet shop didn’t feed their pythons according to the pythons’ needs, they would die. That’s not very pro-life!

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I am with you there, Linda.
      It was just that the angle from the shop girl’s ‘humane’ trap that got me to write this little piece.
      The only raw creature that I can eat alive are fresh oysters prised from the seashore rocks gulped down with some lemon juice. And then there are mussels still alive when boiled and scooped out of their shells.
      I don’t think I will ever reach the stage of eating a life rat.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Big M Says:

    Is no rat, is hamster, Mr Fawlty.

    Liked by 3 people

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