by, April 17th, 2009 at 06:59 PM (1768 Views)
The above little fellow is kind of cute, I suppose, what pet shop dealers call "a fancy rat."
True, the rat that has infested my house goes by the same Linnaean name: Rattus norvegicus. But he probably should not be confused with his big-eared, big-eyed, domesticated cousin. My unwanted Rattus norvegicus is most likely feral, a greedy little creature upon whose oily coat hop about the sort of fleas whose own passengers once killed half of Europe.
If you would have told me three days ago that I would have a rat infestatin, I would have not believed you. My house is reasonably sanitary; our neighborhood is good; the neighbors not the sort to provoke suspicions that they have laid out an enticing chain of breadcrumbs from the sewer to my door.
Now, I suspect them all.
I heard the skittering above the ceiling, back and forth, punctuated with gnawing sounds. I tried to tell myself it was nothing--a piece of loosened insulation blowing around in the night breeze.
Then the stench of rat urine became way too much to ignore. Sawdust and plaster falls like snow. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, tell-tale pellets are everywhere, and every unguarded crust bears teeth marks.
I cannot catch him in the act. He is a conservative little fiend, very secretive, hiding and lurking as I tug my hair out and wonder about the future of my house and health. I think his numbers are proliferating. Rats breed like fire; their appetite for destruction is exhilarating.
I have taken all the usual steps: mowed the unkempt clumps of heather surrounding my estate; searched on Craig's list for rat tarriers to let; considered even the possibility of an allergic life of running eyes and nose in exchange for one devoid of rats. How quickly would Geoffrey dispatch these devils!
For he made a great figure in Egypt for his signal services.
For he killed the Ichneumon-rat very pernicious by land.
I know, of course, that once entrenched, it is very difficult to unhouse a rat; it is, in fact, hard to even espy him.
But it is true, as well, that the lurking rat prefers his anonymity. Much better for him the life before his presence is known--suspected, perhaps, maybe even dreaded, but not entirely 100 percent surely confirmed.
That there is a rat wandering about in my community is no longer the stuff of paranoia and suspicion. I have heard him skittering, smelled his piss, seen his toothmarks, understand sans doute his capacity for destruction.
It has even become clear to me now that sometimes the fancy rat uses his fanciness as a disguise for his feral nature.
Happy the rat that conducts his business in secrecy! Less content willl he be now that his presence is understood.
Back to your sewer, I warn you, for I am dedicated to your extermination.