The year of the rat AKA Our very first wildlife movie at the new place!

rat1aOK, nothing’s as cute as a baby gerbil in his NATURAL habitat…gerbil-lovers everywhere know exactly what I mean by this…




However rats can be cute too – really!  I have had 3 rats over the years, and I loved every one of their cute pink twitching noses. 


My last rat was special as I tricked my mom into letting me have him.  My senior year of high school, I made sure to pick the 30-day “living organism”  study project in my sociology class because I was starved for furry companionship.  This meant my mom was OBLIGATED to grumble all the way to the pet store to buy me a RAT to help me get an “A” on the project, or bare the brunt of one of my many infamous high school “bad” grade situations (news  she somehow always managed to leave out of her yearly “Why my kids are so much better than your kids, and by the way Merry Christmas!” letters.)  Underhanded?  You bet!  Crazy to want a rat – even for 30 days? Like a fox!

This particular rat was also remarkable for the fact that not only did I get that “A” (and a guest mention in Mom’s holiday letter), but I guess she was pregnant by immaculate conception when we bought her.  Fifteen days into new rat ownership, returning drunk from a racous news years eve party, I stumbled into my bedroom around 3 am, opened her cage to rub her nose and stuck my hand right into a litter of 8 new born ratletts.   Mama didn’t even flinch and not one of the ratletts got eaten due to a “nasty” human cooty infection either.!  Those little ratletts were passed out to various friends and acquaitances and went on to reproduce like …well, rats.  And as far as I know their descendants are STILL replicating themselves – back in the 80’s my rat’s progeny count was already in the hundreds a mere couple of months later…


So I guess you can say I have a fondness for them.

Where is this leading? Why to the very first story in our brand new place, of course!

We finally got to stay over for the first time at our new place around 4:30 am on a saturday, after arriving with our final load of furniture and prompty falling into a “been moving ALL week sleep” that lasted about 4  hours. 

Todd woke up first to let Fluffy out onto his very own enlosed patio to take his very first official “poop” in his personal ivy bed out back. As I walked up behind him to witness Fluffy’s ceremonial dump, Todd halted Fluffy at the door and rushed off to get our movie camera. I thought this was touching, if kind of weird,  until Todd pointed out that there was a BIG RAT sleeping smack dab in the middle of the sidewalk – peacefully unaware of the giant monster dog that was about to be unleashed on it’s solitude.

I asked Todd if this was to be our first home movie – Fluffy killing an innocent sleeping rat who had probably lived here for at least few months,  harming no one in his quest for soaking up a little well-deserved sun. 


Todd said no, he just wanted to film the rat for awhile and see how long it would take for it to wake up and realize it was being filmed before it freaked out and ran off.  So I went about the business of taking care of all the glamorous chores of moving into a new place – placing toilet paper on the roll in the bathroom, washing down the sink and scrubbing out the already clean toilet – you know, stuff like that.

As I worked, Todd stood filming the peaceful creature, who really wasn’t all that big and rather cute.  I kept checking in on our movie subject. He was about 6 inches long, with fluffy downy furr and a long tail.  He looked at us with huge unblinking eyes that seemed show no fear. 

Todd was mostly silent for the next 15 minutes he filmed the little guy, only speaking from time to time exclaim in wonder at how the rat seemed so comfortable and at ease in his surroundings – and didn’t seem to fear that the humans who were scrutinizing him could turn on him at any moment.  All of a sudden I felt a sense of calm and acceptance of our new neighborhood, and I felt for the first time that everything would be alright – Todd and I would both find really great jobs, our finances would improve, no one would steal my rims.  The gangsters and hookers on our street would become trusted friends. I wanted to break into a rousing verse of “This land is your land, this land is my land”, in honor of our new furry friend, that by his trusting acceptance of our intrusion on his environment, was a positive sign that all was right in our universe.

Until Todd suddenly put the video camera down,went to get the shovel and announced that he would now kill the rat.  What?!!!  No, I cried.  Why do you want to terminate the life of an innocent creature whose done nothing to you?  Because they’re full of disease and germs, Todd replied. Well, I guess I couldn’t argue that point. But still it hurt me to think that this creature who had more or less accepted our presence is  his environment and looked at us with such rat-trust, was now to die by our hands.

And not wanting to hear the clang of metal against a tiny rat skull, I went into the living room and turned the TV up loud.  Several boring newcasts later I could make out the sounds of Todd grunting and swearing. Visions of a tiny furred warrior fighting back against man and shovel running through my mind, I cautiously peeked around the corner – just in time to see Todd kneeling over the rat’s body, chuckling.

“What’s so funny Todd? Do you think it’s funny that you killed Willard?”, I was totally steamed at the heartlessness of the man I loved. Did you whack his head off? Are their rat entrails lacing the ivy? What? WHAT is so funny?

Todd stood up.  Brushing the dirt off himself he informed me that the rat’s peaceful accepting manner to it’s human intruders, along with it’s huge unblinking eyes, and the surprising  lack of reaction to the shovel assault was due to the fact it had been dead about 3 days. 

I don’t think it’s any coincedence that I was born in the year of the Rat.



7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Twitted by smithynews
  2. thinkinfyou
    Sep 03, 2009 @ 14:39:25

    LOL! You are too funny! I can’t believe y’all didn’t realize the rat was dead. It didn’t smell?


    • surveygirl46
      Sep 05, 2009 @ 01:56:56

      I actually never got that close to begin with but i swear it didn’t LOOK dead…i have the film somewhere if Todd ever gets around to downloading it to my computer, i will post it…


  3. FreakSmack
    Sep 04, 2009 @ 04:15:48

    I hope you guys didn’t waste it, hibachi guy could have eaten it, or used it to catch more cats for the hibachi. Mmm Hibachi cat on a bed of rice Mmm


  4. surveygirl46
    Sep 05, 2009 @ 02:05:15

    Actually I’m pretty sure the hibachi guy left him as a rejected “welcome wagon” present for us. I guess the quality of the meat wasn’t hibachi “grade A”..


  5. Woodsterman
    Sep 06, 2009 @ 13:39:03

    Welcome to your new palace.


  6. surveygirl46
    Sep 06, 2009 @ 15:49:37

    Thanks WSTMN:)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: