As I previously posted, a favorite hobby of mine is feeding the birds. I hand-pick several different kinds of food to attract the different birds I want. Plus they have a sweet little bird bath and I give them drinks with little umbrellas in them and massages every day at 4. My backyard is the Club Med of birdland. The birds where YOU live talk about their vacations to Club Russo and my backyard oasis.
"But Beth," you're asking, "That doesn't sound so disgusting - why the distress?" Well, feeding birds doesn't just attract birds as I DISGUSTINGLY found out the other day. I was having a pleasant conversation with my mom on the phone, and looking out at the backyard. I saw something walking under the steps. Was it a big squirrel without fluff on his tail??? UHHHH, not quite. In other words...A...RATTTTTT. "No, Beth, surely it was a mouse," you say. I'm TELLING you this thing was the size of a small country or a pony and the MOST disgusting thing that has EVER been in my yard, not counting some weird neighbors, but that's another story. We live near a creek and that combined with the backyard buffet makes it the perfect RAT hang-out apparently. This thing was not only chowing down on some bird food that had spilled out from one of the feeders, but he was drinking some rainwater that had collected in a tray that fell off the BBQ pit.
I did what any decent woman would do and hyperventilate and panic and start calling my husband on every phone number where he could possibly be and yell at my kids to call their friends and find out what to do. OK, I know that now, why would their friends have even the slightest idea what to do in this situation?? And now their families know we have a rat. Good thinkin' there, Beth. That's when the word "DISGUSTING" started flying around like nobody's business. I finally reached my brother who was very supportive and started laughing and said to let the dogs out. Uh yeah, thanks Dopey.
Finally I called the police (the local number, not 911 - I did maintain a sliver of composure) and told them to please connect me with whomever has a job in the city getting rid of gross, DISGUSTING vermin. No problemo. She sent the city health department out. I somehow expected everyone to have the same reaction as I did, but he acted like it was no big deal. He said with the creek there and the bird food, it's not uncommon. YEAH, IN MY WORLD IT IS!
He walked in with a little animal crate thing and a glove - a...glove. I'm like, "Are you kidding me? What are you going to do?" He said he was going to try to catch it and asked if I had a BB gun, while he, too, had a little chuckle. Yeah, good one. He put some poison in the hole in the deck where it was hiding (surprise, he couldn't catch it!) and then propped the crate up while he went to get a trap.
The professional set-up is amazing isn't it?? I told him it was hard to take him seriously as a professional with an "I ♥ Hooters" sticker on his clipboard - where someone humorously put "Jenny's" above the "Hooter's", as in "I ♥ Jenny's Hooters"! Yes, it's true. I feel like I'm trapped in an episode of Green Acres and they sent Cousin Eb to try and catch my varmint.
He went and got the trap and we had to set it up just so, with heavy bricks around it, otherwise our dogs would get into it. In the morning...no rat. By the afternoon, the dog was going crazy at the window and what do we see but Mr. Rat quietly eating his dinner where?? In front of his trap of course! I spend a lot of time just shaking my head, I really do. I know he doesn't look very big in this picture, but I'd say he's about the size of a house phone.
So tonight we'll make another go of it and hopefully we'll have him caught in the morning. Then what? Who knows. What if it has babies? Who knows. Here's what I know - CLUB RUSSO IS NOW CLOSED! Sadly, my bird feeding hobby is a thing of the past, and so is ever setting foot in the backyard again.