My wise old grandmother adopted me in December 1965 when I was three months short of 11. She was the only person who wanted me since I was a juvenile delinquent and then residing in the Troubled Youth program at the Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital in Ogden, Utah.
I learned a lot from her about life, responsibility, gardening, plants, and compassion for animals. She was the person who captured flies and returned them to the outdoors. Captured snakes, rats, mice, roaches, spiders, and lizards, and returned them to the outdoors.
When she knew that she was dying, she asked me if there was anything I wanted to ask her. I did. I wanted to know how she kept ants from getting into the house. She practiced things like rinsing off dishes immediately after a meal, keeping sugar in a container rather than in the store package, keeping cereal in containers as well, rinsing honey residue off the container before putting it back in the cupboard, and spreading fine mulch around the exterior of the house. Her experiential evidence indicated that ants and snails didn’t like crawling on fine mulch. Larger sizes didn’t bother them.
I follow in her footsteps, capturing anything inside that belongs outside and returning it outside. I have watched the Nature Channel and many nature documentaries. I know how cruel and unforgiving the food chain can be, but I guess as long as I don’t have to watch it in person, I’m okay.
Yesterday, Little Queen Olivia took a position in front of the dresser, refusing to budge. Very strange behavior, so I got the idea that, perhaps, there was a lizard behind the dresser. Instead I found a young rat. I know it was a young rat because it was only about four inches long with just a four-inch tail. The rats we have out here in the East San Diego County boondocks are huge, the size of opossums.
I tried capturing the rat, but all I did was encourage it to move to a different corner behind the bed where it was much more difficult to try to get to, especially for one person. I called pest control hoping for a humane way to capture the rat and move it outside. They recommended glue traps. The rat gets stuck to the glue trap and then they take it back to their office, use a mineral oil to soften and remove the glue, and then return the creature to the outside.
However, due to the arrangement of the room, as well as the furniture, he also set a few regular snap traps just in case the rat avoided the glue traps. Well, said rat did avoid the glue traps but didn’t make it past the snap tracks.
I felt so bad. While the rat was squished behind the bed headbord, I had been shining a light on it, making eye contact, and talking to it, ensuring it that I would help it get back to the outdoors. The poor little rat was so frightened, and it’s little eyes seemed to plead with me not to kill it.
Sadly, now it is dead.
I interrupted the food chain. There might be a coyote or raptor that went hungry yesterday.
Do I worry too much?
All during the ordeal, Little Queen Olivia was endeavoring to help. I didn’t get the impression that she wanted to kill it. I thought that she simply wanted it removed from her domain.
I know how the rat got in, and I’ve taken care of that.
I also believe that the rat got in sometime on Saturday, January 11. Little Queen Olivia was telling me because she took a position during the day next to the entry spot. At night she didn’t sleep on the bed like she usually does, preferring to run up and down the hall. I now believe she was chasing the rat. There also was the fact that suddenly she was eating half a bowl of dry food during the night. I’m thinking the rat was eating the food.
Last night, Little Queen Olivia slept on the bed again, not running up and down the hallway, and not eating half a bowl of dry food.
Little Queen Olivia is back to her pre-rat self. Problems solved. Still sad.