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June 13, 2016 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Rats to figs.

2 well dressed rats talking. "WInd in the Willows"1913. Graheme/Bransom, ill. /USPD:, artist life/

Plump figs now steaming to perfection. Easy pickins. Unguarded. Only have to watch out for that one set of jaws.(1913Bransom/USPD/

Rats. It’s the fig tree’s fault. And the back fence.

Life is far too easy here. Hawk eyes sleeping at night. Night owls just able to cover so much territory without backup. Effective hunters, those cats, tethered by authorities.

A microcosm.

While not quite ripe, the fig tree next door is being closely monitored – being checked in order to be first on the branch.

Walking the fence is the perfect path. (Not planned as a rat highway, though.)

This morning an alert Molly Malamute spotted the dirty rat.

Which immediately scampered frantically down the fence line desperate to stay ahead of the dog channeling her inner wolf.

Had mixed feelings whether to assist or impede.

Must get over that.

Rats. Darn.

We’d been smug about doing so well.

Changing so many normal routines and pleasant habits. Like having a welcoming well-stocked bird feeder, eliminated.

All due to the lure of the fruitful bounty.

You can clear the underbrush – the obvious hideouts – but if everyone around isn’t on board with the effort, rats.

You wonder how long you can just be nice about it. 

Hand wringing over rats being live creatures, too.

They have purpose – unfortunately, it just doesn’t coincide with ours.

Maybe it’s only a parent trying to provide for children.

The Sanctity of Life. Only of interest to rats if they are involved.

Rats to that.

rat hiding in little cave in front of water."It was the Water Rat" - caption of front piece illistration. 1913 Wind and the Willows.Graheme/Bransom, ill./USPD:, artist life/

Does FEMA offer mouse house assist? (Bransom/USPD/

Worried. About the rat? Oh, not that. It’s his behavior: his running.

Dangerous clouds growing darker and darker.

The thundering too loud to ignore.


You know that old saying about rats leaving a sinking ship.

Scrambling to safer ground to wait it out.

Historic flooding recently….what does he know….

Not up for drowning – in any sort of torrential turbulence.

Nor ready to be outsmart by any dirty rat.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Now here’s something useful: “Make a No-kill Mouse trap with a Soda Bottle”. Only two concerns with a big rat: 1) might need to use one of those huge plastic water bottles and 2) catch and release might not be a real solution. Rats don’t rehabilitate or take the hint well. But, hey, the trap is humane.

Mickey Mouse as cowboy coming in saloon. Merrie Melodies %22Lady, play your mandolin%22 Schlesinger for Warner Bros, 1931/, cr not renewed/

Wipe that smile off your face. No figgy for puddin’ heads.(1931.Merrie Melodies/ Schlesinger/WB/USPD/









  1. easyweimaraner / Jun 13 2016 7:09 am

    we removed the bird feeder and we found another place for the chicken stable, but they always come back. Like a bad penny :o( I even placed a piece of a grid at the exit of rat-highway (sewer system) and it was bitten through after some weeks….


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 13 2016 8:17 am

      Rodents seem to appear in cycles. It’s summer, vegetable and fruit gardens are growing. And we’ve had lots of rain flooding fields and wetlands (not a long walk from here). They will eat through everything – metal, wood fences, brick. Last summer it was better once 2 neighbors found out they had moved into a rock “cave” they chewed out behind a waterfall of a fish pond and the other found an apartment project where some spent the winter in his pool pump shelter. (that’s when Molly ate a chunk of rat poison one of the rats on the fence dropped it on route to his new home somewhere.) I really miss the bird feeder crowd, but there’s not exactly a lack of food around here. What we need is the city to allow outdoor cats…but it’s a bird sanctuary…but we can’t have bird feeders…sigh. Onward into the rat battle! Thanks for squeaking along


      • easyweimaraner / Jun 13 2016 8:44 am

        that’s my greatest fears… some of our neighbors use rat poison… and what if the poisoned rat dies in our back yard….we have outdoor cats here, even some ferals, but it seems they don’t like “RATatouille” :o(


  2. Kate Crimmins / Jun 13 2016 7:47 am

    We don’t have rats, we have raccoons that require removal of anything that resembles food every night. The birds are not happy because the early bird doesn’t get the birdseed. (Hey I have to have coffee first!) I can ship some down to you if you want.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 13 2016 8:23 am

      We have racoons and possoms which aren’t as annoying as the rats. All of them will move into your attic if you’re not careful. Cost the neighbor across the street a bunch of money when she discovered a zoo up there. (Maybe keeping the place picked up would help suggested the animal removal team).
      I tried putting out birdseed once in the mornings – only a little bit – but saw a little field mouse figured out the schedule. He met me at the bird feeder once. Sorry, birds. Back to nature food. I can deal with racoons and possoms, but rats need to move on….don’t think the neighbor will go with eliminating that fig tree. They never go out in the backyard at night – maybe too afraid of what’s out there? Don’t blame the mosquitoes! Thanks for chirping along

      Liked by 1 person

  3. heylookawriterfellow / Jun 13 2016 7:54 am

    As a former owner of two fancy rats, let me just save you a bit of trouble. Give up. They will win. The rats always win.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Chez Shea / Jun 13 2016 8:28 am

    Oh dear. I sympathise. We had that problem too- and I struggled with the same feelings that they too are living creatures as well as being dirty rats. Then I got another cat…

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 13 2016 8:47 am

      This is a bird sanctuary/migratory bird area so all cats must stay onleashes or indoors. And you see what happens if you mess with the food chain. We did have a secret neighborhood cat, Harley who wasn’t a hunter, but he hopped fences for pets – and his mostly sleeping presence was enough to scare annoying creatures away. Birds took no notice of him. We miss Harley terribly…but have noticed a young black cat from down the block walking carefully in shadows at night. There’s hope! Thanks for adding a catty remark

      Liked by 1 person

      • Chez Shea / Jun 13 2016 1:25 pm

        Your area sounds amazing. Hope the new black cat takes up residence! Our problem seems to have abated- thankfully. I love all the pictures on your post. So sweet!


  5. D. Wallace Peach / Jun 13 2016 8:48 am

    We have rats out here too, big ones, but sort of squirrelly and cute. The problem is they chew through everything! And there is almost nothing we can do about them but stuff their holes with mothballs and steel wool. They don’t like that at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. roughseasinthemed / Jun 13 2016 12:37 pm

    Pippa. Fantastic ratter. Huge dog but got them. Life and death moves on. Guess Snows would if he had the chance. Next doors asked if we had mice. No. They did. Well, if you feed birds and have seed on your terrace …

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 13 2016 3:08 pm

      Pippa was a difficult act to follow. Miss that one. Molly could have gotten that one easily, but now I’m always afraid the rat has eaten rat poison but hasn’t died yet.
      Dogs do enjoy a good hunt. Right now Molly is keeping the frogs and lizards leaping. Practicing up for fig tree season. She’s requesting waders for Christmas…or an ark.
      Thanks for joining the pack


  7. Robin / Jun 13 2016 2:36 pm

    We have rats in the corn fields here who must feed well because they sure are big. Hope you get your rat problem sorted out. All that flooding you’ve been experiencing out your way probably hasn’t helped matters.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 13 2016 3:13 pm

      Wonder if I can rent a black snake anywhere? Thanks for wading in with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

      • Robin / Jun 13 2016 3:20 pm

        I could loan you a few. We have plenty of them around here. That might be why all the rats are in the cornfields rather than in our woods and marshes.


  8. Jane Dougherty / Jun 14 2016 6:22 am

    We live about fifty yards from the huge covered market so there must be thousands of rats around. Never see any though. They must find life so easy over the other side of the boulevard they can’t be bothered crossing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 14 2016 7:29 am

      At the oldest farmer’s market (70’s)and a large hospital complex here there’s a small community of cats that was grandfathered in and overseen by a group of store/cafe owners and hospital workers with one lady in charge. They are all neutered (any kittens from new ones collected to be adopted. The cat community has been monitored for a long time and both the neighborhood and the merchants fight to protect them. Those kitties take care of any rats/mice that are foolish enough to scamper in. Seems like a logical solution – the hawks and owls can’t fly in rain – nor will they sit for hours waiting outside a hole in the fence.
      Sounds like your local rodents have little interest in hitting the road to vacation on your side. Good plan. Thanks for stopping by to chat


      • Jane Dougherty / Jun 14 2016 8:15 am

        That’s what cats do best 🙂 That and keeping computer keyboards warm.


  9. Littlesundog / Jun 14 2016 12:26 pm

    I wonder if there is any place in the world where there are no rats? Last year was the worst year for rats… and this year it seems to be mice… and gophers and moles. 😦


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 14 2016 2:18 pm

      We were about to call the Pied Piper a few years ago, but a united effort (and a neighbor discovering a rat hideout in his pool pump area) pretty well got rid of them…it’s the fig tree calling them and probably all the rain. Fingers crossed that the nearby marina’s traps full of treats will lure that fat one away.
      It does sound like you’ve got you hands full keeping your garden safe and growing. (Watch out for stepping in all those holes – that’s the worse) Thanks for digging up a comment to leave


      • Littlesundog / Jun 14 2016 8:26 pm

        I just planted a fig tree!! Cripes, I hope that isn’t a draw for those sneaky rats.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 15 2016 7:17 am

          Racoons, possoms, squirrels – they all will be thrilled! The back fence becomes a critter highway some years.
          We always had fig trees at the farm and never had mice or rats in house or barn although they probably chose the better neighborhood of the woods – away from annoying people…once they move in there goes the neighborhood. Dad always said to not let the fig tree get too tall for two reasons: make the tree put energy into fruit and not tall growth…and it’s easier to pick figs off a short tree.
          Nothing as much fun as stopping during the day and picking a perfect fig for a snack off your own tree. (but we did have to watch for snakes who were watching the tree for visitors…deer hooves are great deterrent.)
          Thanks for caring for a fig!


  10. heretherebespiders / Jun 14 2016 2:12 pm

    Over here we have Weils’ disease, spread by mice and rats. I can’t have them around my garden, so! I have a big Hav-a-Heart trap I brought over from America – it does work! Even caught a bird once by accident.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 14 2016 2:25 pm

      Not familair with Well’s, but they spread fleas and assorted diseases here, too.
      Those traps do work. Used one to trap a feral cat that had sort of adopted us, but we were moving and weren’t leaving him to a undetermined fate. Beautiful grey that was very gentle after neutered and cleaned up, but sadly he chose another family to live with instead of us…RC was a bit unwelcoming and Olde Tiger was too old to whack some sense into her and allow the new guy to comfortably move in. We caught a skunk once. Tossed a blanket over it and called Mr Skunk to remove that one for relocation. I do have to draw the line somewhere. Thanks for adding a ratty remark

      Liked by 1 person

  11. robincoyle / Jun 14 2016 2:58 pm

    I had a dead rat in my garden last week. Completely grossed me out. If there is one, there is probably the rest of his family somewhere close by! EEK!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 14 2016 5:24 pm

      Finding those lumps are creepy! Heard the old timers would hang a dead snake on the fences as a warning to their kin and relatives. You didn’t…? Whew, good.
      Thanks for shoveling a comment into this yard


  12. Paul / Jun 15 2016 4:58 am

    Sounds like a challenge Phil. I had a colleague who lived on a farm in a rural area. They had a corn field behind the house and he got visits from many critters.One summer there was a pair of raccoons that were causing havoc and he owned a few long guns but his kids begged him to use a humane trap. So he got a raccoon trap and baited it. Sure enough a few nights later there was a loud commotion from the back yard and when he checked there was one raccoon in the trap and one raccoon outside the trap. He figured he’d take the trap to a far forest on his way to work and release the raccoon. When he went to get the trap in the morning it was empty. Apparently the free raccoon figured out a way to release his partner and the two of them fled. They didn’t comeback, although a black bear showed up a few weeks later.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 15 2016 7:30 am

      Farm life is full of comedy – which makes the hard work a little easier. You do learn to laugh at situations and yourself. Racoons are smart (and have those little fingers.) Such characters. You always worry they will just open the door, walk in and make themselves at home – a couple did across the street last winter. Freaked those people out….dog doors are not your friend…
      We trapped a small skunk in a trap once – only to see 4-5 of his sibling run over and start shaking and pawing at the wire cage. But Mr. Skunk ( an animal relocator who has a special connections with skunks) laughed and said they others weren’t trying to help – they were trying to get inside and get some of the peanut butter. Eventually the entire family relocated to state park woods. Rabies are a serious threat araound here and that year the skunk population was dangerous.
      I think my dad’s mom had like 20 cats in the barn/farm. I’ve threatened to go over to the warfs and grab one of those monster cats. But we’d probably have him knocking on the door after a few days asking for breakfast – or Uber. Thanks for scrambling over to chat


      • Paul / Jun 15 2016 7:58 am

        10-4 on the really BIG cat. I had an uncle who had Maine Coon Cats – Yikes! When the cat wanted through,you moved. 4 feet long and 20 pounds, it was move or be moved. Ha!


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 15 2016 8:10 am

          And the earth shook if he stommped down the hall…
          RC is the second cat who chose us who has a good deal of Maine Coon heritage. (There was a prize winning male Maine Coon in the old neighborhood that was quite an escape artist…as a result there were many cute, but extrememly confident kittens available)

          Liked by 1 person

  13. marthaschaefer / Jun 15 2016 8:33 am

    I’m not surprised with all the rain you have had, Phil. Rats are just nasty in my opinion. We have had a horrible season of mice. I agree, they all seem to go in cycles. At the farm they are over run with chipmunks, red and gray squirrels and mice. Outdoor toys that insist on coming in…


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 16 2016 8:11 pm

      Outdoor toys! Why chase a ball when there’s livelier game? Molly definitely agrees. Our own Olympics. Thanks for chasing down a comment to add

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Ally Bean / Jun 16 2016 7:58 am

    Not a fan of rats. We had trouble with squirrels/racoons and our bird feeders, so I took the feeders down reluctantly. But a rat would send me into an immediate fit. All out war, in fact.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 16 2016 7:34 pm

      We used to let Molly lunge at them on the fence – but then we saw her snatch one out of thin air interrupting a leap. Worried a bit one might have already eaten some poison and not died yet. We do allow fierce barking, bush rattling, and pounding on fence boards.Fig season can’t be over soon enough. Thanks for running over to chat


  15. shoreacres / Jun 16 2016 11:37 am

    Well, rats! It seems as even the mousiest mouse is lumped with the rats by the dwellers in houses. A house mouse is cute — until it sends for its 3,482 relatives, of course: including that rat of a brother-in-law who has a pechant for cheesey jokes.

    Sorry. It’s hot out, and my humor’s half-baked. Today, I think I’d even feel sorry enough for a rat to let it in.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 16 2016 7:26 pm

      I know. There used to be a tiny field mouse that would show up at the bird feeder a few years ago – but when it started showing up early on the fence rail waiting for me to dump in the dove’s ration, I thought it might be feeding a family. No more free chow for birds or mice!
      I just saw a limp squirrel draped across some crepe myrtle branches trying to cool down. Horrible hazy weather. Shall we take bets how long before water rationing? Oh, they are making quite a production of the new bike trail under construction along Egret Bay bridge/nature park. Progess inching along – hopefully in time for Oct weather and that first cool front!
      Thanks for melting up a comment to leave


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