I’d like to tell you the story of when I found a rat in a can of paint. The outhouse was always dark and smelt of paraffin – there was a big old 50 gallon drum that sat on its side and always looked dangerous. I’d been asked to find a can of white emulsion out there amongst a stack of old tins, some old, some unopened, some big, some small. They were all a jumble so I was trying to find something that looked white with a bit of weight about it taking can after can from a pile on the left to a pile on the right. Suddenly I noticed a movement in an open tin (of white as it happens) and startled, I looked in and saw the curled up form of a young rat. I jumped back (rats were as dangerous as 50 gallon drums of paraffin as far as I was concerned) and at the same time saw the rat leap out and across the piles of cans and into the darkness under the big stone bench. I’d always been nervous about this outbuilding – in it spiders and earwigs were in profusion and now all of my worst fears were underlined. The speed with which the rat escaped, coupled with the memory of my alarm at finding it there henceforth made me defer, procrastinate, avoid all further invitations or directives to grope around in its unfathomable darkness…
Ian Jobson – April 8, 2010 at 4:09 am
A few days ago while when I just got back home, in the parking lot I saw the neighbour’s cat. He (at least I believe its a male) being brought up as a well trained house cat was as friendly as ever and approached me, after a while in the sun he got bored and decided its best to go back home, so did I. However as I was about to enter the building I saw in the corner of my eyes something orange and moving, its a fox and the cat saw it too. Its quite strange to see a stand off between a house cat and a wild fox. Things was about to get heated as they both started making noises, the fox is quite obviously bigger, and suddenly the cat made the first move trying to intimidate the fox, with no success though. I liked that cat, so was about to step in for him, thats when my neighbour saw the fight and without putting on his shoes, jumped straight out the window and chased the fox away and grabbed the cat back. I suppose pets always have their owners to rely on.
Most folks who visit the Grand Canyon stand along the rim and look down and across is awe. I wanted to do a bit more and physically immerse myself a bit in nature, so I convinced my reluctant wife to hike a few miles down into the canyon to a scenic spot. Having survived the hike and seen some good views, we turned back, but it was hot and we were pretty tired. My wife starts blaming me for this loony idea of hiking into nature. She is munching on dried fruit and nuts for some energy. Then, a small desert squirrel appears on the path. Rather than mind the obvious rule of not feeding wildlife, for amusement my wife tosses the squirrel a few dried fruits. Okay, this squirrel most likely has never tasted dried mango and pineapple before. We are in a desert far from these tropical fruits. He bites in. A rush of sugar. All of a sudden he looks up. He comes bounding toward us as if to say, give me more. Amused at first but then realizing he is coming directly at us at a swift clip, we run for it. Wife tosses some fruits and nuts to distract him. We scurry on by. The encounter kept us energized and humored to the top of the canyon and back to our car and civilization.
re: Naming the House Mouse Tom Pinch (see Interspecies) When I was 19 my husband and I had to leave the flat we had lived in for 2 years because we were invaded by rats displaced from the nearby canal by building works. The rats were huge. They constantly ran in the cavity between the walls, occasionally scratching a hole through the brickwork to our flat. They ran over us in bed at night and got everywhere – inside the cupboards, even inside the cooker. I regularly had to chase them from the kitchen with a broom. It was about a month before we could afford to move into another flat and it was a very unpleasant time.
Toni Taylor – April 25, 2010 at 2:31 am
I woke one morning and I felt something inside my pillow. It felt like a shell. I opened my pillow case and it was a lady bird. My pillow had been washed the day before so it must have flown into the pillow while it was on the washing line. The pillow had been ironed and I had slept on it all night and when I took the lady bird out of the pillow, shockingly it was alive and started crawling.
Recently whilst working at a summer activity center. A group of children doing a low ropes obstacle course spotted a Deer having an afternoon snooze in the middle of a swamp next to the course.
Most, having never seen a deer before, pointed and screamed “look a Deer, Look Loooookk! ” much to the disgust of the snoozing mammal. Now the poor thing has not only been disturbed by a dozen over zealous children it has the unfortunate problem of trying to get out of the swamp in a semi graceful fashion – we all know how much Deers enjoy their image of grace. And so with a disdainful look and a snort the disturbed Deer wandered away, picking its way carefully through its own obstacle course, leaving the children to get on with their own.
This year we had a sparrow in our backgarden that we fed bread and sunflower seeds and it used to come to our kitchen window and pop its head up to see if we were there and if we had the door open it would jump onto the door step and look in for us to give it food. One day we were sitting in the living room at the front of the house and I noticed something by the window in the corner of my eye and it was the sparrow peering in through the window to find us to give it some food. It was like a pet.
We have gold finches, green finches, sparrows, doves etc in our garden that come for bread and seed and last year we had a female and male sparrow hawk and I saw one of them fly away with a baby sparrow in its claws. Almost like we were feeding the sparrows up for the sparrow hawks to feed on.
One day this summer a baby sparrow flew into our front window. It was on the ground on its back and after about 20 minutes it managed to get up. I sat next to it and it just stared at me. It wasn’t scared. It wouldn’t eat or drink anything, it just wanted a rest to recover. I sat with it for about 15 minutes and then it hopped off and flew away.
I was in the kitchen in the evening and saw something move in the garden out of the corner of my eye. It was a little field mouse collecting the sunflower heart seeds on the ground below the bird feeder.
Also last winter, there was snow and frost on the grass and at night I walked on the grass (I like the crunching sound!) and there was a little mouse down by my feet and it was shaking. Poor thing.