You Little Rat

I am keeping a secret from my husband and son, a secret which has the power to rock them to their very foundations. You see, my husband and son although definitely of the male persuasion, are a couple of pansies when it comes to certain things. One of these things is rats.

Now I’m not saying I like rats. I defy anyone not to feel like climbing on to a chair and screaming when faced with the feral black Sydney rat. It is a horrible sight that even now, when I think about it, is sending chills up my backbone.

I have only seen a couple in all the years I have lived in Sydney and it is not a sight I want to repeat any time soon. They hiss and they lunge. And they’re huge. ‘Nuff said.

But this little fella, he’s a different story –

Bush Rat

This is a little Aussie Bush Rat. Isn’t he cute? He lives in the ferns and shrubbery in our garden. I have caught him nibbling on some of the seeds I put out for the birds. He rarely comes into view. He is a little Aussie Speedy Gonzales.

However, I am worried. He appeared twice today. Well before sunset. Munching away merrily on sunflower seeds. The birds didn’t finish them off because there was a storm and they flew off to find shelter.

I am worried that if he appeared twice today he might appear twice again tomorrow, and that my son might see him. Or even worse – my husband. Have you ever seen a grown man scream at the sight of a small, furry mammal? Three words. It ain’t pretty.

All hell will break loose if he sees it. The traps will be out before I can say native australian animal. And I couldn’t stand to see my little chubby nibbling friend caught in a trap, because I kind of like him. So I’m hoping that from now on he stays well hidden so that we all miss out on a sound from which we may never recover; the excruciating, terrifying scream of the Wimpus Horribilus – the Fully Grown Pansy.

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24 thoughts on “You Little Rat

  1. He is such a cutie… is there a risk of infestation or anything.

    Big old sewer rats are definitely up there on the creepy scale.

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  2. I’m not a big fan of rodents, but there are exceptions. You have one of those exceptions there. Plus, he’s outside and not in your attic making nests in your grannie’s trunk.

    We’ve got a couple of Wimpii here, but the main trigger is spiders. Big spiders. Big, super-fast, brown house spiders. Big, super-fast, get-me-the-hell-outta-here-NOW!, brown house spiders.

    Um, did I mention I’m one of the wimpii? yeah…

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  3. I love all the little creatures here in the forest. But Selma, I do not tolerate rats on any level. Here, their urine contains leptospirosis . Snails that eat rat feces leave a deadly virus in their slime. He may be cute , but he can be deadly .

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  4. I’m with you Selma…..I would hate to see that little guy in a trap. He’s adorable….well he is as long as he stays outside. They lose a bit of their cuteness once they step over the threshold I always find although normal rats are disgusting wherever they roam.

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  5. My family has, for ages, owned a little camping place accessible only during summer months. Spring finds tracks of winter’s tenants. Always have to do a disinfect, re-disinfect and keep on the alert for rodents on the move. Cute and deadly here, as well. I’ve been known to shriek but I’m not so old I can’t remember having pets that looked very similar. 🙂

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  6. NAT:
    I don’t think there is. We have more of an infestation of possums than anything else. They are cute but are real pests, Still, it’s a little unnerving to think there is a rat out there….

    KAREN:
    You would be more than welcome among my Wimpii. I am chief spider catcher here. I am a little Buddhist about spiders. I think it’s bad luck to kill them, unless of course they are the venomous Red Backs or Funnelwebs. People have died from their bites. Luckily, we don’t see many of them in the inner city.

    DEOLA:
    He is cute but I know what you mean about rats being brats. I think his days are numbered. The neighbour’s cat has been sniffing around. He is big and bad. We call him Gangsta Cat.

    PUNATIK:
    Now that is gross. I certainly won’t be encouraging him to hang around. A friend of mine actually got very sick when she came into contact with the urine of a fruit bat. They thought she had Meningitis. Turned out to be a fever and infection brought on by the urine. Now I’m freaking out…..

    ROMANY:
    When I lived in Glebe right by the racetrack there were rats galore at night. We had one come up the drainpipe and into the bedroom one night. A big black ugly monster. I have to tell you, I would rather have had a serial killer with an axe come through the window. It was bloomin’ horrible. Ick!

    TUMBLEWORDS:
    Whenever I see a rat I always think ‘Bubonic Plague.’ My friend used to have a pet rat when we were at Uni together (she was a fully fledged punk). I hated that rat – gave me chills for an entire year until my other friend’s cat disposed of it. I’m going out to disinfect the garden now!

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  7. These little fellers are one of the reasons I have always been part of the anti-cat league. I have nothing against cats as animals but they don’t belong in Australia and the sooner we have a cat must be neutered law, the better. This time of year the whole world is coming to life. Rain is good.

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  8. Our cat brought a rat into the house one day and it climbed up the inside of the curtains. I turned into a right girl and ran away screaming. The rat then started crying as well – such a noise and the cat ran away as well. In the end Al clubbed it to death with a wooden spoon (which he just stuck straight back in the drawer in the kitchen). Washing it was not enough – I had to burn it on the fire, rat blood urgh!!!

    I am a full grown woos! My hand shakes as I go to swat the cockroaches!!!

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  9. Thanks for the memory, although my memory is not that of a small, cute rat-like creature but of a skunk. For the years my husband and I lived on our first farm, a mother skunk made her home in a recessed area of our small slaughter house where we prepared chickens for marketing twice a week. Never once, although my husband and I were within a few feet of her, did she show any signs of fear and we never once feared being sprayed. She would seize what to her was a tasty chicken’s head, and then retreat from sight.

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  10. I’m hurt!

    It’s only one species that spreads bubonic plague, and eats the fruit from your bowl and such, and it gets the rest of us a bad name.

    Thing is, those cute little critters like squirrels, possums are related, and nobody says anything bad about them.

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  11. lol! I have to sympathize with your husband – I’m right there with him. Like travelrat, I only see a germ infestation waiting to happen. I know, I’m supposed to love all of God’s creatures, but maybe that will happen when I warm up to snakes, crocodiles, and roaches.

    Ew. ew, ew.

    *giggles*

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  12. Rats that hiss and lunge????? That’s like a horror movie I do not want to see. YUCKO!

    Here’s my rule:
    In the house- dead rodents
    Outside- living rodents.

    They’re supposed to be outside that’s they’re place. I have my fingers crossed for your little guy.

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  13. Lauri – I’d go with the rule of in the hosue – no rodents!
    He’s rather cute though, doesn’t look like a rat. I guess I imagine them all black and hissing and lunching too.

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  14. PAUL:
    Years ago I had a falling out with one of my neighbours when her brute of a cat killed one of the wrens that frequently came to my garden. I cried for weeks about that poor little bird. I am a cat lover but don’t believe they should be allowed to roam wherever they please. They are decimating our native bird population. Probably our bush rats too.

    RELUCS:
    I would have passed out if that had happened to me. Gross. Double ick. I don’t blame you for being a woos. Swatting Aussie cockroaches is not for the faint-hearted. It could be worse, you could have a rat and a cockroach in the room at the same time. 😯

    MARY:
    I have never seen a skunk up close. I only know them from television. What an amazing story. Wasn’t she well-behaved?

    TRAVELRAT:
    It’s true. God only knows what you can catch from possums. They are everywhere in Sydney. The poor rat is very much maligned. But the Travelrat is the exception. He is the coolest of rats. 😀

    TEXASBLU:
    I cannot deny the ‘ew’ element. Snakes freak me out too, particularly as we have several deadly ones native to Australia. No thank you!

    IRON FIST:
    Definite pansies. 😆

    LAURI:
    I fully endorse and support that rule. Let’s hope little Chubba rat knows about it. I tell you, those lunging rats make your blood turn cold. There is nothing to do but scream and run. I would make a great extra in a horror movie.

    VIC:
    Rats definitely have to stay out of the house. He is a cute little guy. I am hoping he doesn’t develop a habit of lunging!!

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  15. Selma! save the native aussie rat! If your fam really hate the rats (even ones as cute as that) you will have to get rid of the bird seed…once the food source is gone, he’ll go away. Then you can bring the seed back for the birds.

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  16. The fastest I’ve ever seen my wife move was when she found a mouse in the birdseed. It was actually kind of funny. She wanted me to run it over with the car. I took him to the woods and let him go.

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  17. Aww cute little bugger isn’t he? He looks like a hamster. I could keep him as a pet.

    BTW the image of ur son & hubby screaming in high pitch is embedded in my brain now. You r funneee!

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  18. Kinda reminds me of Mr. Jingles from The Green Mile. Although I must admit, I’d rather stay away from rodents, no matter what country they come from. I guess I’m a little pansy myself, that way.

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  19. POET:
    I did what you said and it worked. I loved seeing him but I didn’t want to risk him getting eaten by the cat or worse – deafened by my hubby’s scream. 😀

    MELEAH:
    He is a little cutie. Even though he is a rat!

    RICHARD:
    Oh God, that is cracking me up. Why do some of us panic when we see little furry things? My hubby’s shop is in a basement and he sometimes gets the big, fugly rats in there. He sprayed one with an entire can of flyspray once. It turned on him, screaming for blood. I couldn’t help him I was laughing so much!

    ROSHAN:
    Those guys could shatter glass. Seriously. They should take up opera singing!

    CHRIS:
    We all have a bit of pansy in us when it comes to certain things. hey, it’s great to hear from you. How have you been?

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  20. I am having exactly the same issue at the moment! Although it took me a while to really admit that my little rodent HAD to be a rat of some type as he was WAY too big to be a mouse.
    He comes and eats the seed I put out for the birds – usually between 4 and 6pm – and he eats at the same time as the gallahs, rosellas, doves… but has stayed out of the way of the magpies (maybe he saw his sister rat get picked up by a magpie, taken away, and then teased and poked to death for 3 hours by the bird like I did! You have a real ‘nature vs be nice’ debate with yourself when you see that…)
    My little rat friend is also taking 2 peaches off the ground each day back to his nest… so I reckon he’s going to get seriously big at this rate!
    But… whether to encourage him to move along or not… not sure…

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  21. SQUIGGLE:
    This made me laugh because I was exactly the same. There was no way the cute little furry guy coming into my garden could be a rodent. No way.

    I am so jealous you have galahs and rosellas. How wonderful. Such beautiful birds. I don’t blame you for leaving food out for them. Your little rat takes 2 peaches away every day? He’s going to be huge. Or maybe he’s feeding his family. Yikes. Let us know what happens with him. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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