About 9 pm tonight our chickens started squawking and shrieking like they used to in Michigan if there were a fox or raccoon in the henhouse. I ran out just in time to see the guard prodding the BIGGEST rat I’ve ever seen in my life with the long pool basket.
Now, those of you who know me know that I’m not afraid of spiders, snakes, things that go boo in the night or terrorists, but I do have one big phobia — mice. They’re enough to set me screaming and literally jumping on top of the table. I think the phobia started when I was young and would feed my horses. Despite our best efforts to mouse-proof our tackroom, mice would always get in the feedbags. I always would kick the feedbag before reaching in with a scoop to get oats or whatever just to make sure there was nothing in there. However, about every fifth time one little critter would play dead and make no movements until I had stuck my hand down there to get the feed. Then, it would run up my arm or over some other body part to escape. (I’m literally shuddering right now remembering this! yuk!!!)
So, with that reaction to mice you can imagine what my reaction would be to the King Kong version of mice. Hyperventilation. Arrhythmia. Cold sweats. Shrieks. You get the picture.
The guard kept trying to pick up the thing with the pool basket but it was larger than the 10″ by 10″ net and it would just jump away. Everytime it moved I would let out a scream and jump back ten feet which caused the guard no small amount of delight. Hearing my screams the dogs came roaring out of the house ready to protect their mommy. This rat was at least half as big as Buddy with long pointy teeth and a tail that stretched from here to Cape Town so I scooped Buddy up and threw him in the car. (Coco’s a bit dim about these kinds of things and just jumped in the car with Buddy.) I turned around in time to see the guard beating the creature with a 1″ by 4″ until it stopped moving. For once, (I hate to say it, please forgive me St. Francis) but it didn’t bother me to have him kill this animal.
Here’s the first post-mortem photo. (The resolution of this photo is not good but I can’t take a re-do because the guard already buried it.) Look at the beady eye.
As you can see, this thing is about 13″ long, not including it’s tail. (I have to say that because it was so big and round the thought fleetingly crossed my mind, ‘that’s a lot of protein in a land of poverty, what a waste.’)
It kind of looks like a squirrel here, sans the nice bushy tail, replaced instead with a hideous, repulsive, revolting scaly long tail. (Have I mentioned I can’t stand the sight of rats?)
Thanks goodness our trusty (usually sleeping) night guard Gabriel was there to save the day.
You can see that he thinks my reaction to the rat is pretty funny. I quizzed him and he said, no, he’s never seen a rat on this property, no, this is not normal, and yes, I’ll always check the chickens if I hear a squawk.
After examining this photo I’m revising my size estimate. I seriously think it’s about 15 inches long (not including the tail) because the shovel is about 9 inches wide. (And you can tell from this post that I’m not prone to exaggeration.)