Ratty



Last night in bed, I heard the familiar gnawing of a rat in the attic. Here we go again. For reasons unbeknownst to us, every now and then a brown rat (rattus rattus - seriously) decides to take refuge in our attic and gnaw on our meager insulation (and whatever else they can get their teeth into). This has flummoxed Husband as he hasn't been able to figure out their method of ingress. So we bought a live trap at our favorite hardware store and baited it with peanut butter (as everyone knows, rats love peanut butter) and set it up in the attic. We waited. About three days later we heard the clanking sounds of what we assumed to be a rat caught in the trap. Husband set up the ladder and climbed the rungs, I held on, and then he slowly pulled back the attic cover. Husband just about fell off the ladder. He found himself face to face with a very large brown rat.

Son Charlie was thrilled. Husband had promised him that he'd wake him if we heard a rat caught in the trap. So at 5:00 in the morning, our excited son is thrilled with our acquisition. A few hours later, after having gone back to bed, we drive the rat to a local wilderness area (well, it had trees anyway) and let our rat go. After taking a picture, of course.

We do this three more times with rats of varying size, none as big as the first. Oh, and when we let the first one go, with some trepidation on our parts, he ran directly under the car. We quickly closed the car door, having visions of him trying to catch a ride back with us. A rat loose in the car.

The fifth rat, now he was a special rat, unlike the others. He wasn't wild and seemed genuinely curious about us and what we were doing. We caught him last February, during a very rainy week. Not wanting to release him into the elements, we kept him on our kitchen table. He'd look at us and poke his little hands out of the cage, sniff the air as if to say, "Do you have anything for me?" He'd actually reach his little hands out and grab whatever we'd give him and then hold onto it and eat it, very carefully, one row at a time. (He does this with everything.) He had the most adorable white belly and black eyes, not pink. He had a hole in one ear and was missing a thumb and half of his tail, so he'd obviously seen action of some type.

I kept asking Husband when we were going to release him and he'd say, "Oh, when it stops raining." A year later we still have him. In a much bigger cage now. Unfortunately, he's picked up our bad eating habits. Once happy eating whatever we'd give him (vegetables included) he now prefers salty, sweet, fatty things. Just like us. Recently Husband gave him a piece of leek. He picked it up, took a bite, and threw it down. Then he picked it up again, took another bite to be sure, and threw it down again. (He actually seemed insulted.)

We have a spoiled rat. We call him Ratty. Now, to catch the latest one (and this one we're not keeping, I swear).

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