Now that the weather has warmed up a smidge and the compost is getting good and rotty, we have had a rat invasion in the back yard. They come through the fence from the sheep farm and burrow under the compost to plan their assault. Then they swarm over the back porch to eat the copious seeds that have fallen from the bird feeder. When Henry was alive, he probably kept them at bay, but now, sadly, we have to battle them without his assistance. Lloyd started sniping them with his pellet gun, but it was a little slow for his liking, and they don't make an automatic assault version. I told him I thought I could convert it with directions from the internet but he didn't like that idea for some reason and went with traps and poison. It's like he fancies himself some big gun expert or something and thinks I have no idea what I'm talking about. You can see one of his ginormous traps in the picture; this particular one set right in the path where their trail from the farm comes under our fence. I could get some stunning dead rat pictures, but I'll spare you. I'm tenderhearted that way, plus I'm getting a little afraid of those crazy PETA people after the whole hamster thing.
Naturally, success in rat-killing leads to a quandary: what to do with the carcasses? They are big, fat, glossy, generously-whiskered creatures and surely would be useful for many things. Seriously, they are the picture of robust, glowing health, except for being dead. One certainly doesn't want to just toss them in the trash; that would be VERY wasteful. But we have to get to them quickly, or the other rats will carry them away. I'm not even kidding. They disappear if you leave them out there; I bet there is a cadre of mortuary rats that pack the dead soldiers away on their shoulders to some kind of ghoulish body shop where they hack their bodies up to make paleolithic body armor and weapons out of bone, skin, sinew and tails.
They're smart, you know, and they learn from their mistakes. If Lloyd had any sense at all, he would let me do the conversion on that pellet gun so he can just mow them down and be done with it. This slow attrition method is risky, like tying Batman to a slowly submerging platform into a shark tank, then walking away, totally sure you've vanquished your enemy. We all know how that ends up, don't we?
In fact, now that I think about it, I'm getting a little concerned. Ever since I read 'Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh', I have been suspicious that rats are more than they appear to be. I bet they could climb right up on this keyboard and start blogging away. You'll know it's them when they start raising money for PETA and pushing for a revolution.