Saturday, November 30, 2013


As Fall advanced, a row of oak trees in the park began dropping huge acorns with fuzzy caps that remind me of images of I have seen Cossack dancers. Before they became crushed under the feet of people walking and running on the path around the park and the crews sucked them up (or ground them up?) in their leaf gathering gadgets, I gathered some up and brought them home.

We did manage to catch the pack rat that had run amok in our house while we were gone on vacation. We have not yet found its nest and so have not recovered the items it pilfered. I did not get around to buying any more dried red chili peppers to replenish the ones it stole out of the Mexican pottery dish that sits by my spice rack...
  instead, I filled it with some of the acorns from the park.
Our auto mechanic had an interesting pack rat story – well, just about everyone who lives here has an interesting pack rat story: every evening they would fill a dish on the counter in the office with small candy bars, and every morning when they came back, the dish would be empty. At first they thought a customer was taking all of them, but then they realized the candy was missing between the time they closed and opened. So they assumed a pack rat was taking the candy and set a trap baited with candy bars. And for several days in a row the candy would be missing from the trap. Finally, he took a zip tie and anchored the candy to the back of the trap so the rat would not be able to steal it and would have to spring the trap.

And it did.

In our case, we put sunflower seeds in a jar lid on the plate that causes the door to drop when it is pressed. And for several mornings in a row, the lid would be gone from the trap. Finally, Richard got some “3 and 1 oil” and lubricated the mechanism, and even before the sun had gone down, the rat was in the trap.

He is jubilant: I caught the rat!!! Do you want to take it for a ride or should I shoot it? It’s so pretty.

Despite how dangerous these animals are, I could hear the pleading in his voice.

The question is not an unreasonable one on several levels: I am very strongly in favor of “catch and release” whenever practical: I have taken big black snakes that were after my chickens for a ride and let them go far away from the house… I have taken white-footed deer mice on rides and let them go far away from anybody’s house…

And I understand his reluctance: killing something that is “pretty” is much harder than killing something that is “ugly.”

However, after all the grief and financial losses we have suffered at the teeth of pack rats over the years, there is no circumstance in which I would take a pack rat on a ride and let it go given the possibility, however remote, that it would find its way to someone else’s house…

Get the gun dear…

And he did.

1 comment:

Far Side of Fifty said...

From what you have said about the buggers it is just as well:)