To read about F's and my London trip, start here and click "newer post" to continue the story.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

We have an unauthorized household animal that has moved in, probably to get away from the cooler weather. Probably either a raccoon or a really large rat.

We've had the smaller roofrats before, but you can barely hear them scampering and gnawing on whatever it is they gnaw on. They come in through the basement, we guess, and up through the walls and into the space between the kitchen ceiling and F's bedroom upstairs. R puts the live-animal trap up there when we think we have a visitor and within a day or two we hear it spring. He has to put on heavy gloves and climb the ladder to get the trap down, with the trapped rat lunging at him through the bars, then walk through the house with the cats trotting alongside - "Let me have him! Just for a minute!" (We're very glad to have those cats, because we think their presence deters the rats from coming into the living portions of the house.) R sometimes baits the trap with peanut butter crackers, but sometimes he doesn't have to bait it; they have a little path they like to run along, for whatever reason a rat ever does anything, and all he has to do is line the trap up with it and in runs the rat of the moment. I don't know what R does with the rats he traps; I suppose he turns them loose somewhere. He's too softhearted to kill them.

But our current unauthorized animal doesn't scamper and gnaw. We wake up at night hearing sounds like furniture being dragged, or heavy balls rolling. And we can't make out where it is. We thought it was in the crawl space next to F's bedroom upstairs, but R put an infrared camera in there and that's not it. We have got to figure out what and where it is and get rid of it before F comes home for Thanksgiving. I do not want to be in this house if she wakes up and hears that.

The strange thing is that the cats don't seem to notice.

...trying very hard not to think of Stephen King's "The Rats in the Walls"...

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