Friday, December 21, 2012

Non-apocalyptic rat race

Last night around 10 p.m., I stepped onto our cold back patio only to watch a rat make a mad dash across my path, coming within six inches of my right foot.  Although I've seen a hawk kill a rat in an adjacent yard, this is the first time I've had to deal directly with one within two feet of my own back door.

And I wondered why the sudden bold appearance here.  Rodents, of course, are not my favorite things.  I figured last night's encounter might have occurred because our neighbor with the outdoor cat undoubtedly took the poor thing inside last night given the freezing temperatures.  So the feline policeman was not on duty per usual. 

But the cold light of dawn revealed another potential explanation.
Something predatory sitting atop the light pole near the intersection of West Walker and Centerpointe Drive first thing this frosty morning.  Let's have a closer look.
He's giving me the cold shoulder, literally and figuratively.  A hawk, probably a red-tail, on the look-out for breakfast, but refusing to make eye contact with me, whom he knew was nearby but did not care to engage. 
That bird may have moved into this immediate area and may be driving the local rats to seek increased cover in closer adjacency to houses.  I don't have any unsecured food in my yard, other than my tomatoes (which something has indeed been eating many of) and my broccoli (which nothing has touched), but I doubt those things alone would draw rodents, which would primarily be interested in obtaining fat and protein, neither of which are contained within tomatoes and broccoli. 

So the world didn't come to an end today as some believe it would (humorous URL, that one), but it might yet come to an end for one rather large rodent.  A large bird of prey has the peripheral areas under surveillance, and my husband has already began a trap-a-thon campaign. 

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