There’s a rat in the kitchen

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And four more in the 2nd bedroom.

Also, there are nine snakes.

They are all ball pythons and are kept in custom drawers, so you can’t really see them unless you slide open the drawers. This is my wife’s project. For the past two years or so, she has been–I’m not sure what the right term is–raising? harboring? collecting?–snakes and has taken over a good portion of the back bedroom housing them along with a regular circuit of rats, that, originally were kept for the purpose of snake food, but after the discovery that one of the feeding rats was pregnant, decided to purchase a large 2-story cage to house the Mama rat and her 9 babies. This was several months ago.

Eventually, a second cage was needed as, apparently, rats fuck like bunnies and at an alarmingly young age. So the males were separated from the females and a search for adoptive families began. It was decided that these would be pet rats, so a third container was needed for the feeding rats and so the colony expanded.

Five of the baby rats were adopted (as well as Mama), as, thankfully, Karen knows several families with young kids who love rats, leaving us with just a couple of boy rats. But we have become the de facto ratsitters for these families, and with summer now in full swing, vacations are happening, and so the rat numbers have increased once more. Though, now, the feeding rats are mixed in with the pet rats and I can’t help but picture them all forming cliques, the pet rats pretending like the feeding rats don’t exist, not allowing them to join the daytime sleeping pile. “You stay over there, street rat! Don’t infect us with your dirty diseases!” I imagine the horny boy rats devising strategies to escape their cage and sneak over to the girl cage. “That latch up there? By the top of the cage? I’m pretty sure if we climb on each other’s shoulders, we could undo that clasp.”

Last week, Karen, while cleaning out the boys rat cage, forgot to close the door before going to bed. In the morning, she discovered her error and both rats were nowhere to be seen. We checked the girls’ cage but they weren’t there. Since they tended to squirm their way into dark, tight spaces, finding them could become a time-consuming process.

When Karen returned home after work, she donned her camping headlamp and settled in for an evening of rat-catching. As soon as she entered the back bedroom she saw that one of the boy rats was already back in the cage, eating his pebbly rat food. He’d clearly returned back home, realizing, like a suburban teenage runaway, that Mom and Dad keep good food in the fridge and pantry. That it ain’t so much better roaming free in the big bad world. The other rat was not far away, scurrying behind the cage on the desk. I think he was also trying to get back to his barred home, but was too dumb to figure out how to do it. There’s got to be a dumb one and a smart one, right?

I will admit that the rats are cute, and exhibit a fair amount of personality. They are soft and furry and usually don’t mind being handled. The snakes, though, I don’t see their appeal. They are slimy, anti-social, slithery and seem to barely tolerate cuddling at best. If/when Karen’s snake phase ends (and I know this public revealing will lead to a backlash revolt of 9 more snakes), I will be privately (cause no one reads this) thrilled. I will even be OK if she replaces the snakes with a capybara.

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UB40 was one band from the 80’s that I never liked. I found their reggae sound to be a bit fluffy and lightweight. Red, Red Wine never made me feel fine. It was the anti-Marley, the anti-Tosh. But they did have one song that I have always enjoyed and there are extended versions of this song out there with great instrumental breaks. So, UB40 had it in them to be fantastically musical, but kept it hidden (at least from me) most of the time. “Rat in Mi Kitchen” is enormously catchy. It’s a song that when you hear it, you have to sing along. And it’s easy enough, because there’s like only two lines to the song.

There’s a rat in mi kitchen, what am I gonna do?/ There’s a rat in mi kitchen what am I gonna do?        I’m gonna fix that rat that’s what I’m gonna do/ I’m gonna fix that rat.

OK, there are a few other lines, but 90 percent of the lyrics are the above.

There hopefully are no rats in mi kitchen other than the one in the photo above. Cause we got enough of them in the rest of the house to last us for the time being.

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