This Halloween I had a much-too-close encounter with a pack rat.
Ed and I were alone in the house…I was cooking dinner when out of the blue a very large rodent, definitely NOT a mouse ran down the adobe wall just to the left of the kitchen sink.
Of course, animal lover that I am, there was no freak-out, right?
Wrong. I let out a blood curdling screech that roused my husband from the studio. It takes a lot to disengage him from the computer once he’s deep into spread sheets or news sites. My scream was impressive. “What happened?”
“A huge rat just ran down the wall! Look, there it is!” Trying to be invisible, it huddled in the corner by the trash can.
“Looks like a pack rat,” he observed, unperturbed.
“How do we get rid of it?” I felt my blood pressure rising.
The rat chose that moment to spring for freedom. He scrambled vertically up the wall, retracing his steps and headed downward towards a hole under the kitchen sink.
I screeched again. “Oh, sorry Ed.” He understood. “It’s OK, honey.” My husband is the best.
Afterwards, we set a spring rat trap under the sink, hoping for an instant, painless execution. The next morning I heard the trap “go off,” and anticipating rat meat for the grandkid’s half grown kittens, I peeked at the trap. Empty.
But something caught my eye to the left on the counter top. I screamed again. The rat was sitting calmly on the wooden counter. Roused from sleep, Ed sauntered in to observe. Confused, the rat began running in circles around the tea pot. My sympathetic nature won over my natural aversion and when he dove to the floor this time, I was pensive.
“We should capture him and release him in the woods.” Ed agreed. Conveniently, we live not more than two miles from the National Forest.
I remembered a HaveAHeart trap sitting on a shelf in the barn. Ed grabbed it, started to clean it up. I told him “Don’t bother…he’s a pack rat! He’d be more at home with the straw and cobwebs.” But it would be a trick getting him into it.
Back in the house I found the packrat sitting calmly on the floor.
The rat, unbelievably, cooperated – remaining calm while Ed gently set the this unconventional trap over him.
On the way to his forest freedom, I observed him closely, realizing that he looked a lot more like a cuddly chinchilla with a thinner tail than a city rat. In fact, he was actually cute. “
Several miles closer to the mountains we took the pack rat from the van and released him. “Good luck, little guy!” I whispered to him.
Overnight I went from a freaked out female back to my best persona, the animal loving artist. Maybe I’ll even design some pack rat jewelry to go with my other rat creations!