Rat Wars . . . a scientific investigation
Long time readers will recall that since early August I have been fighting an infestation of Wood Rats. During the worst period last fall, there would be at least two dozen running all over the cabin . . . inside its walls, up and down the surfaces of interior walls, across ceiling beams right over my computer, inside the kitchen cabinets and about everywhere else. As of this morning I have killed 68 of them. That does not include those killed by rat snakes and my female herd dog . . . plus a rat snake that was killed in a rat trap. Because it smelled like a rat, the snake attempted to strangle the trap and then stuck his head in the trap to eat it. Female rats even built nests in my silverware and knife drawers in the kitchen.
Wood Rats are a very close relative of the Lemming of Lappland. They are almost identical in appearance and size to a Lemming. They have brown, tan, beige, tan and white fur . . . quite a bit more handsome than the Wharf Rat aka known as the Norway Rat . . . and are also substantially smaller. Nevertheless, because they are essentially wild, woodland animals, they can be much more destructive than Wharf Rats. They will literally eat wood, if they can’t find insects, field mice and voles to eat. They also like natural rubber. Last fall they ate the rubber handles of two can openers in succession, until I was forced to keep the third can opener, that I purchased, in a metal box.
The observed scientific phenomena were:
- They were very rarely seen or heard in the daytime, but would appear in vast numbers just before I hit the sack.
- Gangs of Wood Rats would fight and kill each other before my very eyes.
- Gangs of Wood Rats were observed coming in from the woods at night . . . climbing the walls onto the metal roof and then entering holes in the roof, left by the tornado last March.
- On some evenings I would hear the pitterpat of perhaps a dozen to two dozen rats scurrying across the metal roof.
- During the past two mornings, I have observed herds of Wood Rats departing this hovel just before sunrise and heading back into the woods. The groups of rats went in different directions . . . thus indicating that Wood Rats are territorial hunter-gatherers.
- During the late fall, skunks began coming into the crawl space to hunt rats a night. The rats have torn apart the heating ducts of the non-functioning furnace. A skunk crawled up the air return duct and was being chased around the house by my female dogs, when I woke up in the morning. Don’t try this experiment at home, alone!
- I have found that the best way to clear the rats from the living areas of the cabin (while I am awake) is to make the sound of a Barred Owl. I learned how to make various owl sounds in 2010, because the Nazi’s planning attacks on my campsite at night communicated with owl sounds. If you do some historical research, you will find that one of the secret, paramilitary, racist organizations that appeared during the 1800s in the Southeast was the Hoot Owl Society. Most all Native American tribes, except the Creeks, are afraid of owl sounds and thought it was a sign that someone was about to die. The Creeks traditionally believed that especially righteous elders chose to become owls instead of going to heaven, in order to protect Creek towns from Nazis and Cherokees. So when the Nazi’s here in the Appalachians thought they were terrifying a Cherokee lad, they were actually providing an opportunity for a Creek lad to lure them into night-time ambushes.
Get thee hither abominable rats!
Eureka! I have figured out what is going on. Most of the animals, such as skunks, foxes, coyotes and owls, who hut wild rodents, hunt at night. Over the thirty+ years that this cabin has existed, some especially smart Chesse Mekko (King Rat) figured out that if his particular village came into this structure at night, the predators could not catch them. Even a skunk can’t squeeze into a 4″ interior wall. Now several competing Wood Rat Tribes are aware of the potential sanctuary of this hovel at night. They explains why newcomer rats keep on walking into the traps that I set for their predecessors.
Now you know!
PS – I have no idea who owns or operates this website now. If you have complaints, there is nothing I can do. I have been unable to get a response from our long time webmaster either by email or telephone, since late October. The server computer is now in Missouri.
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