Friday, 21 May 2010

The rat race, or should I say chase.

(Images sourced from Google images - and

Watching wildlife I must confess is NOT one of my pastimes. Shopping yes. Dinner out yes. But bird watching and the like, no definitely not.

Well I have recently discovered that sitting in the sun-lounge over-looking the garden can provide quite amusing entertainment.

Yet again I was at my grandparents who understandably rather enjoy sitting with a panoramic view of their garden, seeing the birds enjoy the left overs from last night’s dinner, the black birds having a punch up marking the territory as their own, and the pigeons getting a bit too up close and personal.

I was happily sitting in my chair, reading and occasionally gazing out the window when I noticed something move at lightning speed across my nan’s rockery. Perhaps it was a bird you ask? A scurrying squirrel? Well how wrong you are. It was a rat!

Now I know I’m not an expert on wildlife or a garden for that matter as previously mentioned but don’t rats live underground, usually in sewers and not in a garden by the sea?

“I’ve been trying to catch him for days”, my grandad groans, “but with no luck”.

My grandad is not one to give up until a job is done, as you all know from the blasted woofer! So each day he has been trying different foods in a rat trap (a humane one, don’t you worry animal lovers). But ratty has been far too clever. He’ll spot the food, sniff around the cage, and run away.

“Rats are highly intelligent”, informs my nan. But grandad was determined. After all he had managed to beat the seagulls who were dive bombing off the sun-lounge roof into the bird table and gobbling all the food before any other little tweeter had a chance to even browse the shelves. Now they were faced with sticks and meshing to get through and boy did they try! So far though they’re undefeated.

But ratty, he was a different story. He had now braved the grass and believe it or not, the bird table! Not only was grandad faced with seagulls and the occasional squirrel pinching all the food, now the little rat-meister had discovered that by climbing the pole to ‘Tescos for Tweeters’, he could almost reach food without having to risk the trap. However, as smart as he is, he couldn’t quite manage the distance between the top of the pole and the ledge of the table, so instead he just went up and down, up and down, clearly as determined as grandad.

Well you can guess what happened next. Yes the rat succeeded, God knows how! He was now able to run up the pole, jump up and around onto the table and grab what he could whilst the birds and ourselves looked on in disbelief!

“The little perisher!”

Not only had the trap failed, but my grandad was being made a fool of by a rat!

My nan and I looked on in hysterics, and I was surprised at just how entertaining these little creatures could be. The garden wildlife that is, not my grandparents!

In the end, once my weekend stay was over, grandad had taken to the bucket method which requires you to sit holding a rope that is attached to the bucket’s handle and feed it through a window to where you're sitting. With a small gap between the grass and the bucket rim, just enough for ratty to smell the food, it was very much a waiting game. However knowing my grandad, he’d be snoring not long after and the rat would seize his moment and once again, outsmart Mr Rat-Catcher.

And honestly if a 5 inch long, little rat could avoid a rat-trap himself but look on as numerous stupid blackbirds trapped themselves, succeed in reaching the top of a fairly high bird-table, and shun Charlie, the famous feline rat catcher, then undoubtedly he would overcome the bucket scam too. And guess what? He did!

This was almost a month ago now and little ratty is still parading in front of my grandparents, showing off his dexterity and victory in out-doing a human. He’s also taught all his babies how to climb the pole to Tescos too.

So, sorry grandad Ratty 3 VS You 0. But at least his keeping you occupied!

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