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Tuesday 08/21/2007 2:35 PM

I can't imagine ever feeling the need to share a picture of a dead animal with you again. Please accept my apology if you are offended by today's image (or if it made you puke).

I've lived in Tallahassee since just before my seventh birthday, and until we moved to our current house, I never believed there were rats in this town. Let me tell you, though, they are all over our neighborhood. Every spring when it gets hot for the first time, we get some. Then every fall when it gets cold, we get some more. I can't tell you how many times I've been running at night and seen one of these little rascals scurry across the street ahead of me. Small wonder why the raccoons and owls and snakes love our neighborhood so much.

The first time we had to deal with one of these creatures, it was in the house. In the kitchen. Chaunce and I cornered it only to discover these things have a four-foot vertical leap (the Orkin guy says these are roof rats and the way they jump around can "spook you"). Mickey scurried across the kitchen counter with Candy screaming and me and The Red Dog in hot pursuit.

We re-cornered it in the back of the house by pulling a long cooler across the open walkway to the Florida room. I reached out and grabbed the first thing I could find: a heavy iron weightlifting bar used for benching and curling and such. I jabbed it in behind Candy's desk while Chaunce waited (ears alert) on the other side of the corner.

Finally, Templeton made a break for it. I brought the bar down on the cooler as he was in mid-leap, and I connected in that perfect kind of way that I couldn't do it again for a million dollars if they gave me a hundred gos at it.

After that I went to Home Depot and got a roll of 1/2" spaced chicken wire and some tin snips. Got home and tore apart the kitchen cabinets and sealed everything up so no more Steamboat Willies could get in.

These days it's just routine: Put some traps out under the house a few times a year and wait to collect the bodies.

Now it's not like I've been logging the rat stats over the years, but when I checked the traps this afternoon, I found the Rodent of Unusual Size.

And I just had to share.


Future rat stories:

File Under: Candy; Chauncey; Dead Animal; For Later; Rats
Music: Gordon Lightfoot "Complete Greatest Hits"

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