Thursday 30 April 2009

A rat a day makes the rifle pay

I took my camera upstairs last night, left it on the bedroom windowsill and waited for morning. I didn't sit up all night of course, though I didn't sleep particularly well, listening from pre-dawn for a heron. Naturally, since I was prepared, no herons deigned to grace our garden.
About half-past six Barry glanced out of the window and spotted a rat. Quietly, he readied his rifle, took aim, fired and fired and fired until the magazine was empty and the rat, killed by the first shot, lay motionless under the lilac. We both watched then for the rat remover but it didn't appear so we went to drink our morning tea. The next time we looked out the rat was in a different location, some yards from where it had met its end. Then down flew a crow and proceeded to tuck into the corpse, which was probably still warm.

At half-past eight, when I hung out the first laundry load, the now mangled body was still on the ground. It was headless but its little paws were still attached, looking rather pathetic. Only two of the dogs took any notice of the fatality. Frodo the Faller approached it cautiously and sniffed while Jenna-the-Labrador, remembering she was a retriever, looked puzzled and wondered if she should pick up. I was pleased that she didn't make any attempt at it.

By ten o'clock the cadaver had disappeared.

Barry wondered why the crow hadn't taken the rat away but chosen to eat at least part of it in the garden, where he was vulnerable; remember, crows are shot at, too! (but not in our garden.) The answer was obvious to me – the body had so much lead in it that it was too heavy to remove until parts of it had been consumed on the killing field. Crows are big strong birds but there's a limit to how much they can carry. Crows would have had to work in tandem to carry it off intact on a stretcher.


  1. I visited your blog because of your comment on my Skywatch photos (which is what it's all about, after all) and I have to say I've laughed myself silly reading through several of the posts. We've got three mogs (down from 5) and two dogs, and a garden, so have something in common with you folks. I'm not much into killing rats myself since I'm much too tender-hearted, and I don't want to cut off the food sources for a pair of red-tailed hawks and a couple of other local raptors (not to mention the very loud barred owls who frequent the place), but then I don't exactly have a visitation of them . . .

    This is just wonderful. I'll be back.

  2. Jenna may be a retriever but I think, for the majority of labradors, that rat would have been considered a tasty little treat! Swallow first...ask questions later.

    "Lead? What lead?!"

  3. Hope you've got a licence for that gun!

  4. All legal and above board - it doesn't need a license because it's an air rifle that doesn't exceed 12 ft. lbs


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