Thursday, 9 February 2012

Penny is a good ratter

This evening Penny killed another rat. But this time she took a minute to kill it, rather than a couple of seconds, as she did last time.

This rat was in the same place as the last one she killed, under our make-shift water barrel. I had been startled by a rat leaping from a tree to the ground on the other side of the front garden, and decided to let Penny come out and scare it thoroughly. (I'll freely admit I'd rather scare them away than kill them, but I do realise we can't have rats breeding indiscriminately in our garden.)

A tail wave, slow, from side to side, is the sign that she's hunting.

She scared the rat out of its hiding place, and I would have sworn it ran down the side, past a locked gate, to the backyard, but when we headed for the front door to go inside, Penny darted over to our water barrel (a 240 litre wheelie bin). The slow tail wag began once more, and scrabbling at the bottom of the bin - even whining.

What to do? I want to get rid of the rats and I don't want to poison them. But I don't want Penny getting bitten by a rat, and I'm not sure it's good for her to kill.

Well, I decided to empty the water out of the bin and at least see what was under there.

While I was starting the submersible pump and spraying water on our parched front garden, Penny sat there staring, circling, waiting. And trying to dig under the bricks supporting the bin.

Finally, when the water was low, I heaved the bin forward, Penny leaned in and the screaming began. It was so sad. I know we can't have rats running around. (On the other hand, why not, if they stay out there in the garden?) The rat took about a minutes to die, I would say, and it seemed like a lifetime. (Well, for the rat I guess it was.)

I let her bat it around for a minute or two, and sniff it, but when she took it in her mouth, that was too much for me and I told her to 'leave it' and her other human took her inside to have a few treats. Then it was my turn to screw up my courage and smash the rat with the shovel to make sure it was definitely dead, no longer suffering.

One more chance for Penny to come out and sniff it, and see it deposited in the bin, and she went inside again, so we could persuade her to drink and so wash her disgusting-looking face. Ughh!

I guess I'm still feeling conflicted about it all. But at least there's one less rat in our garden stealing our fruit and eating our vegetables.

13 comments:

Lassiter Chase and Benjamin said...

Penny is so brave. You are brave too smacking it with a shovel. Penny is making me look bad. About a year ago, there was a mouse in our house. Mommy actually expected me to go in front of her and check out the noises that we heard under the cabinet. I safely stayed behind Mommy while she investigated the noises. Mommy hopes Benji will be a better hunter than me in case we ever get another mouse in the house.

Oskar said...

We can't help but go after those varmints, it's built into our DNA.

Nubbin wiggles,
Oskar

parlance said...

Lassie, perhaps it's not in your genetic heritage to chase scary little creatures, like Penny and Oskar.
I'm sure it's just as important to give your human company when she needs it!

parlance said...

Oskar, Penny would definitely agree. Lately she's taken to going outside in the evening to patrol the most common rat routes. I sort of hope she kills more, but I actually think rats are intelligent and cute - yeah, I know most people don't think so. It's quite a dilemma for me, because I think the rats have now moved into the roof. Sigh...

curator said...

You know,Parlance, I always feel a little bad for the rats (and mice) too. Still, I bet you were proud of Penny's fighting spirit and her energy!

parlance said...

Curator, we've been out every evening since, chasing rats around the front yard! I'm working on the theory that if they get hassled enough they might move on. Hopefully not into our roof space, though.

Rusty said...

My mom feels the same as your mom...she's conflicted. She doesn't want to hurt those little creatures, but she doesn't want them hanging around either. When Riley or hear one of those things outside we just have to bark and chase it.

Hope you had a Happy Valentines Day!

parlance said...

Rusty, at least it's giving Penny plenty of exercise! And maybe they'll get tired of being chased and go and live elsewhere.

Honey the Great Dane said...

Oh gosh - I would really hate to be in your position and have your dilemma...especially as I really love rodents and think rats are adorable!! Thankfully, Honey would probably be too slow to ever catch one (in fact, remember in Brisbane when they were running rampant around our house at night, right past her nose and the stupid dog just slept through it all? I had the tracks in flour to prove it!!)

Hsin-Yi

parlance said...

Hsin-Yi, I do remember that post! At that time I didn't even realise we too were surrounded by rats.

They are such intelligent creatures it goes against the grain to frighten them, but that's the current strategy - make things so uncomfortable that they'll move. Maybe a bit optimistic...

BTW, congratulations on doing so well in Mango's competition. It's been a fun week with all the voting.

Rusty said...

Mom laughed when she read your comment about me being blond but I just have to say that I consider myself Gold, not Blond......

parlance said...

Rusty, are you aware that gold doesn't rust? However, I'm sure you'll work it out, lol.

Rusty said...

AWWWW! Thanks for your nice comment!