F spotted the tiny furry thing grubbing about beneath the bird feeder, trying to rescue crumbs of suet from the mud churned by the feet of a thousand pigeons (OK maybe a dozen pigeons, but lots of them either way). It looked a little wobbly. Viewed from every possible window it was finally revealed to have a distinctly ratty tail, but there was something distinctly not right about the little bundle of fur. F sneaked out the back door for a closer look but the ever present, and ever vigilant, pigeons took to the sky and their flapping departure alerted the tiny creature. It ran. It ran towards F and sat on the steps at the far side of the patio, shaking and cringing, possibly becoming aware that in its panic to flee it had made an unwise choice of direction. Seconds that seemed like moments passed and then it opted to make a right angle into the bushes under the apple tree and was gone from sight.
Human civilization has been both a boon and a nemesis to rats. Where there are humans, there are rats. Humans have given them a truly awful reputation for spreading disease, but let’s face it, humans can spread disease most effectively on their own, and not just to themselves but to all manner of other organisms. Why blame the rats? Why subject them to awful deaths from poisoning and inhumane traps?
Aware that not everyone believes that rats are natural to the environment humans create around ourselves, we do our bit by endeavouring to ensure we don’t contribute to conditions that favour them, and rat-proofing areas we really don’t want to be sharing with them. However it is nearly impossible to prevent the birds spilling seeds and suet crumbs onto the lawn, and the scrubland on the neighbours side of the fence provides perfect environment for small furry scavengers to retreat to between forays.
Is that poor shaking shivering little mammal really such a threat? The local fox will be gleeful about making a meal of him once he is fattened up on scavenged birdseed.
Time for you to patrol your garden more frequently Mr Tigger me thinks. Bird feeders do attract other creatures than just birds. I once saw a fox carrying a dead rat in it's mouth. This showed me they are all part of the food chain.ReplyDelete
We have a bold fox at the allotments that looks exceedingly well fed. We imagine he keeps rats on their toes so we hope no one up there tries to poison any of them. He is a valuable part of the balance of things natural.Delete
wild clapping, I agree 100 percent.. this also is true about our vultures, that are ugly, the possums and racoons. I consider these critters/birds that people despise as Gods Garbage Guys. their JOB is cleaning up trash, the rats are food for those that clean up trash. the cycle of life.ReplyDelete
Well we feed crows and they are scavengers, so why not be a little more tolerant of the rats? One blog poster we follow has them in her home as pets. They seem to be pretty clever creatures and get sad when one of their team goes over that rainbow bridge.Delete
How I wish there were rats to hunt in MY garden.ReplyDelete
Nobby, we believe that Gail is mightily relieved that there are no rats to hunt in your garden. On the basis that you are 'natural' we would gladly have you hunt rats in our neighbour's back yard. Our local rat population is possibly compounded by us living across the road from a stream with 'wild' embankments. xxx Mr T (PS F won't let me hunt rats. She says I'm not quick enough.)Delete
I'm glad you have a calm attitude to rats. Around here we have little field rats which live in the local cornfields and appear when the corn is chopped. They're harmless, scarcely bigger than a mouse, and my city bred neighbors panic, want to go nuclear. I've explained these are not subway rats, they don't attack people, they're hardly likely to carry any worse disease than we do. But I'm a lone voice.ReplyDelete
Nothing deserves 'nuclear' and we are shouting into the storm trying to point out to humans that they are just one part in ecosystems they occupy. Everything in balance - take one out and another replaces it.Delete
Well said, that cat!!! Though, it has to said, that rats are generally speaking, not solitary critters like foxes are, and it is the possibility of numbers of them (greater than pigeons) that tends to have folk panicking and acting less than charitably toward them. One worries, too, that if your Ratty was under the influence of poison (as suggested by F's concern), that this will be passed on to any unsuspecting and hungry fox.
Dad's neighbour in Edinburgh had the birdseed v rodent problem... she rigged up a tarpaulin under the feeders to keep all seed from the ground. Didn't stop the squirrels or pigeons... nor, in the end, did it stop the mouse(s)!!! They sure know how to survive.
What an excellent and thought-provoking post for FFF - ta for joining in, Tigger mate! Hugs and whiskeries, YAM-aunty xxx
Our Rat might have been a young one - we have seen bigger, quicker and more 'rat-like' ones that have 'don't tangle with me' written all over them. This one looked like it had been pushed out into the world without guidance.Delete
Well, so long as they stay well clear of me I shall tolerate them. I am not about to invite them in for tea though.ReplyDelete
They have as much right to he as us. ArilxReplyDelete
I've never seen a fox and luckily the cats don't bring in rats, they seem to love mice and half eaten cicadas, but it's not much fun cleaning them up.ReplyDelete
I don’t mind rats living outside It’s when they try to come into my home that I get a tad upsetReplyDelete
As the summer slowly ebbs away rodents of all shapes and sizes will be looking to make themselves a nice warm comfy home for th winter. This is the time of year to put up the no vacancies signs for us