Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Random Rat Facts Learned the Hard Way

Rats have excellent hearing.

“Honey, our son the weapons expert in Afghanistan, says that we should use a pellet gun,” I said.

“What for?” He was trying to decide on the proper firepower for a night skirmish in our rat infested chicken coop.

“So that the fourteen thousand or more rats living in, under, and around our chicken coop will not be scared off by gun shots when we blow the first one to bits,” I said.

“Maybe I can just buy a silencer on the black market.”

“Like a murderer?  How about we use a plastic diet Pepsi bottle over the end of the gun like on CSI? You know, a poor man’s silencer. I can’t remember if we’re supposed to leave the Pepsi in the bottle or not. Dang it.”

“Shush! They can hear you,” he cautioned.

Norway rats are bigger than roof rats, and their droppings are ¾ inches long and capsule-shaped.

“Are these droppings capsule-shaped?” I asked, trying to pretend I was doing a segment on Norway rats for Animal Planet. My husband and I were inspecting rat pucky.

“You mean capsule-shaped like Tylenol PM or capsule-shaped like the Apollo moon rockets?”

“Dang it. I don’t remember.”

 Hey, where are you going?”

“Back to the house to look at pictures of rat poop on the Internet.”

“Well, as long as it’s not porn or shoes.”

Rats can carry ten different kinds of diseases including bubonic plague, murine typhus, spirochetal jaundice, Leptospirosis, rabies, rat-bite fever, and bacterial food poisoning.

“Honey, I think I have rat-bite fever.”

“Do you want rat-bite fever?”

I felt snarkiness boil up like sap in the spring. “Yes, Sherwood, I want rat-bite fever. I’m starting a collection.”

He sighed. “Do you have a rat bite?”

“No, but I have a zit.”

He started to look interested.

“Is it on your . . .”

“Careful, I could be a carrier.”

Rats are crazy smart.

“The rats have adapted, and I think they could be plotting.”

“What do you mean they’ve adapted?”

“I mean they’re avoiding the La Brea Tar Pit sticky traps like they can talk to each other about paleontology. They don’t run around the rafters anymore. And they’ve written graffiti on the bait boxes full of poison.”

“What did they write?” He knows better than to question my version of any story.

“It says, ‘We’re out here, and we’re crazy smart.’”

Norway rats are burrowers and can undermine foundations of buildings.

“Hey, Babe, where do you think the chicken coop got to?”

Our rats may be vampire rats.

No comment.

Linda (Knowledge is Power) Zern     

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