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I remember as a child reading books about lovely little animal characters.  They were often such brave and noble creatures, like those in The Narnia Chronicles.  But I must say I have been dreadfully disappointed by the reality.  I’ve never met a Toad who drives a vintage automobile for instance.  It was common practice where I grew up for cruel children to drive over toads with a push mower.  If only it were true that the family of mice in my cupboard wore waistcoats and drank tea from fine china.

My place is a menagerie.  It’s a house in the bush built by hippies in the 1970’s.  They didn’t believe in making it impermeable to critters- (We Are One) dammit!  On summer nights goannas crawl into the roof space.  They move around at night, directly above my bed and the sound of leathery skin on corrugated iron is not what you want to hear while you’re trying to sleep.  So I sealed a couple of sections of the roof.  But now the goannas are gone it’s safe for the rats!  They come in somehow, for the winter!

Another regular visitor I have is snakes.  One comes inside about five times a year to do an enormous shit!   Wonderful isn’t it!?  And not only this, I’ve had red bellied blacks mating on my lounge room floor.  “Oh don’t mind me snakes! Anytime you want to fuck on my floor you are welcome!”, I shouted.  Then I just went and did the washing up.  They were at it three nights in a row.  Nature is so beautiful.  Then there are the bush turkeys.  I have to be super vigilant about bush turkeys.  They do their daily rounds and try to tear apart anything at all they suspect of containing food.  They also try to get inside the kitchen, and if there is nothing to eat they’ll be satisfied to destroy the crockery like there is no tomorrow.  Damn them!  One night I was woken by a bumps and bangs.  Reluctantly I get up to investigate and find two echidnas chasing each other under the house in a delightful courtship ritual.  I cursed the two lovers and tried my best to go back to sleep.

But my dislike for rats knows no bounds!   The dear little things steal paper, clothing, condoms and sanitary pads to build a cosy nest or just chew on.  One night my house mate was complaining about the rats and with comic outrage and indignity held up her pink under pants, “Look at what they have done!”  A rat had chewed a rather large neat hole right out of the front of them.

It’s astonishing that in India there is a temple called the Karni Mata temple at Deshnoke, where people consider rats to be holy.  On the Net you will find pictures of the temple and people eating with rats.   Literally, rats are in the food they are eating.  They believe that rats are reincarnations of saintly people.  It sends shiver down my spine.

A friend of mine suggested a fool proof way to deal with rats and it might work for you.

1. Dig a hole.  Put food inside it.

2.  Somehow make it so the rats can’t climb out.

3. Wait.

4. When there are a few rats in the hole take the food away.

5.  The rats will start to eat each other.

6.  The last rat alive is the strongest and biggest.

7.  Congratulations! You have created a Monster Cannibal Rat.

8. Take it out of the hole and unleash it.

This rat will eat any other rat that tries to move into your house for the holidays!

Disclaimer:  I cannot vouch for this method. I haven’t tried it.

The insult ‘rat!’ has taken on new level of seriousness and offensiveness.  You can’t sleep with rats around.  They are sneaky.  They steal.  They are recklessly destructive.  They are without integrity altogether, for they piss and shit everywhere.  Macbeth was let off lightly.  Not only do I sleep no more, but I have my property chewed to bits AND THEN I have to clean up rat faeces.

I went to ask the advice of the wise man of the village about how to deal with this plague, like Peter sagely did in Too Much Noise by Ann McGovern.  The wise man said that I should sleep with an echidna, a brown snake, and goanna in my bed for three months, and afterwards I would find rats in my house no problem at all.

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