Monday, May 10, 2010

To Kill a Rat

I was doing some yard work yesterday and noticed in the small closet in my garage a very big pile of rodent droppings. They were very large, not the small field mice droppings, I figured we had either a very large rat or a small possum living in there. I began to pull stuff out and clean up when the rat darted out to run behind the hot water heater. His body was from my finger tips to mid wrist and tail would extend to my elbow. Big wolf rat.

This closet is only a 3 ft by 5 ft space, crammed with junk and Christmas decorations. I grabbed a machete and closed the door locking myself in a confined space with the rat. I went to battle Conan style with full primal blood lust and the exhilaration of the hunt. I was actually growling as I hacked and slashed at this thing, sparks flying off the concrete and blood spattering off grazing blows. Finally he made a dash for the space under the door and I broke both his back legs as he squeezed his body under the gap. I snatched open the door as he was dragging his body across the garage. I calmly walked up to him and brought the blade down on his neck.

The idea was to cut his head off but the blade was so dull all I did was break his neck paralyzing him. As I watched him sitting there bleeding with his ears still twitching and his eyes blinking and watching me in fear I felt a curious mix of triumph and guilt for what I did even as my hands still shook from the adrenaline.

I carried him into the back yard and dug a hole to bury him. I felt the cowardly thing to do would be to let him slowly suffocate from being buried alive, so I used the shovel to bash his head in killing him before I finally covered him with dirt. In true primate fashion I then went to my mate and reenacted the battle with gusto and props to show my alpha maleness in a modern world.

I am not passing judgment on any of the emotions I experienced during all this, but I find them very interesting from a anthropological prospective.


Rufus Opus said...


Congrats on protecting the hearth and home from the invading pestilent verminic horde.

Ready to perform a Cross of a Frog now?

The Scribbler said...

I lived on a micro-farm in the middle of nowhere in the Sacramento Valley for five years. We raised poultry and cage birds, so there was lots of grain around to attract rats. I recall the war with the rats was never won, I only managed to keep them somewhat careful and respectful.

My method of choice was to fill a lever-action 22 with bird shot and lay a maglite flashlight up against the side of the barrel with the beam focused to the same width as the shot pattern. That meant that anything in the beam would get peppered with lead. I'd go out after dark and tip-toe around the poultry runs without turning any lights on. If I heard the tell-tale sounds of rodent activity, I would carefully aim the rifle in that direction and click the maglite on with my thumb. The rat would freeze long enough to be a sitting duck. Blam! Since the average range I got them at was, say, two-to-three yards, I usually didn't even have to reload. They would be twitching in death throes. I'd leave the corpse there long enough for the other rats to witness what the dangers were of hangin' around my farm.

I also had to battle rats in one house I lived in in West Virginia. The sound of wood being gnawed while you're trying to sleep is not comforting.

The battle against rats is a battle of wills and a war of attrition. I think you reacted to deep instincts. Our primal memory tells us that rats need to be evicted fast, and with conviction.

Hail to thee, victorious warrior!