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Greetings and salutations!

OmbudsBen asked me to post some stuff about the wildlife around here.  (I haven’t really even met OmbudsBen.  What’s up my dude?)  Since I’ve been too lazy to post lately, and since I’ve had a floating intention to post about my wildlife adventures, I’ll indulge you all.  In fact, there will be two posts.  Aren’t you lucky.

When we first moved into the house, my dog Noggin got the idea that there was something living under the basement stairs.  I didn’t really blame him for thinking that, because once I had seen something that might have been a mole in that general vicinity (the basement stairs are right next to the back door).

After a few months the thing under the stairs really started to mess with Noggin’s head.  Sometimes he’d just stand there, wagging his tail, staring at the stairs.  Sometimes I’d find him in the middle of the night scratching at the bottom step.  Eventually he tore the bottom step right out of the stairwell.  That made me mad, especially when I had to go down to the basement.

One night not to long ago Mr. Rizzuto and I were sitting on the couch, not doing anything in particular.  I was talking to him, facing the kitchen, when all of a sudden a big, huge rat walked into the kitchen from the direction of the basement stairs.  He kinda walked in, looked around, said “hey, how ya doin’?” and went back towards the basement.  Mr. Rizzuto didn’t see, but I just sat there dumbstruck, pointing.  When I finally managed to tell him what happened (and convinced him I wasn’t hallucinating) he put a mouse trap under the stairs where the bottom step used to be.

That night I slept with one eye open.  Not for me so much, because I sleep on the top floor, but I worried about my kids.  I didn’t exactly want them to wake up with a big ass rat chilling in the bed with them, right?  Some time in the middle of the night we heard some kind of commotion.  Mr. Rizzuto went down to check it out and found Noggin curled up in a ball in the bathroom, shaking like a leaf.  Also?  The mouse trap was gone.

The next morning I left early to take Dante to his drama group.  When I got back Janey was bouncing up and down and couldn’t wait to tell me that Daddy had caught a rat.  Mr. Rizzuto was holding a huge bucket and I could hear something crawling around inside of it.

Now, where I come from rats are filthy, dirty, disgusting creatures that live in subway tunnels and only come out when the sanitation workers are on strike.  Needless to say, I hesitated when Mr. Rizzuto brought the bucket over.  But I peeked inside and what I saw was…cute.  I’ll be damned if the rat wasn’t cute as hell.  He also walked kinda funny.  Mr. Rizzuto said the trap broke it’s carriage.  That made me feel bad. 

In the end we decided to take it outside and let Noggin have his way with it.  We figured that would be the most humane thing to do.  We were right, it was all over in about two seconds.

That’s all I have to say about that.  Next I’ll tell you about the deer that Mr. Rizzuto hit.



  1. I know what you need, you know what you need — don’t make me say it. But it’s cold enough there that you could get one of the really big floofy ones, with paws the size of Janey’s hands and a strategizing brain. If you get one I claim naming it. . . I can be its godmother . . .

  2. Just what do you think Noggin would do with it though? And we haven’t had anything else under the stairs since then, I think maybe he’d been there for a few years.

  3. Most dogs are okay with a cat, if you make it clear they must be. You could take him to one of those roadside adoption things and see how he reacts to them.

    You’re better off killing any rats that set up housekeeping. They might be cute, but they’re destructive and can cause fires by chewing through wiring.

  4. Arrrrgghhhh! A rat!

    And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

    Except it reminds me of the rodent family that moved in with me during last winter. I might tell that story one day.

  5. Shawn, my dog would most definitely not be OK with a cat. He’s a big meanie.

    I’d love to hear the rodent story Joders.

  6. Maine Coon, Sissy. They’re BIG, they’re smart — they’ve been described as dogs in cat bodies. I bet Noggin would love one, or at least be subservient to one.

  7. Dude, I would have lost it. A couple winters back we had a few mice in the kitchen, and I wigged the hell out.

  8. Ok, I’ll try to get it done before I go on hols. I have to warn you, it’s not as cute as the roo stories.

  9. Great big Maine Coon cats are great to have around. I guess I am glad (for you) that your animal in the cellar story only involved a rat. I know I’ve told you this before, but there is a weasel that goes through our old stone foundation to hunt mice in the cellar; maybe you need a weasel. Or a shotgun. Something small like a .410 that makes smaller, more easily repaired holes in the floor and walls.

  10. Would a ferret do what weasels do, Quill? She could maybe manage a ferret. And they go have shots and things. A wild weasel would probably have issues.

    Sissy, Maine Coons are great for keeping your feet warm.

  11. I was afraid it was going to be a ghost.

    I have an over abundance of hawks in my backyard this year. I’d be more than happy to send you a few to eat your rats, because, you know. They’re birds and all.

  12. Maybe Sissy could pack you up some rats for them, Ina. You know, like an offering?

  13. Nah. I think I’ll pass on that one. I’d rather send the hawks to her.

  14. This reminds me that I will some day have to write about the time there were mice in my classroom and we had to evacuate til they were destroyed. And the aftermath.

    Yeah, some time I will write about it.

  15. When I was a kid we had rats in the house. Mum left up poison and one day I found one curled up in my beanie all sick.

    Too this day it disturbs me. It was also cute (poor thing).

    Why couldn’t you have taken it out into the bush?

  16. BTW I wouldn’t recommend a cat to take care of rats. I’ve twice found our cat playing with a mouse – the poor thing was frozen in fear and breathing so hard – it was awful to watch. I screamed at Oscar but he grabbed the mouse and ran off into the darkness. Cats are so cruel.

  17. Before I got Spike the Terrible, I had a mouse in my apartment. I called it Osama, because it would do all kinds of damage — chewing a hole in the couch, then the rug — and disappear before I could get hold of him.

    Spike would love it if we had a mouse now. Or a rat. Or anything, really, that he could kill for fun.

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