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
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.