Saturday, 31 January 2015

Rat Watch II

Here is a nice picture of some of the first snowdrops of the still new year. 

And ....again a quick warning - those to whom the sight of certain rodents give the heebeegeebees, please go no further. 

More rats coming ..... by vast popular demand....

The rats continue to be very active this mid winter. They seem pretty oblivious to the biting cold, hail, snow and rain and are climbing up and down their old hollow tree with almost as much ease as a squirrel. 

The ivy and old bark obviously helps but they are very agile.

Old mummy rat.

Going up the trunk but pausing for a snack.

Great claws for climbing on rear foot
rat foot.

The voracious sewer or brown rat in a brief contemplative moment

And the reason for climbing? To get close to a bird feeder in this case...but they just cannot quite reach!

'...the great rat; which though but a new comer to this country has been taken too secure a position to be ever removed. This hateful and rapacious creature... sometimes called the rat of Norway... now infests the extent of the British empire.

It swims with great ease, dives with great celerity, and easily thins the fish-pond. In short, scarcely any of the feebler animals escape its rapacity, except the mouse, whioch shelters itself in its little hole , where the Norway rat is too big to follow.'

From a History Of the Earth and Animated Nature by Oliver Goldsmith, first published in 1774 and subsequently republished in many editions, and arguably the first popular natural history book. 

Goldsmith obviously knew the rat well and he was quite right two hundred and sixty years ago that they were here to stay! Attitudes also seem to have changed little towards them.

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