Thursday, March 22, 2012

Critters - There Will Be No Rats @ The Shack!

The Shack
Well, I'm back at The Shack... In my absence, only a few days jaunting in Perth, I have returned to the pitter patter of little feet, above my head! These little critters are too cute! Seriously. Every rat I have caught here has the most amazing pelt. Their staple diet is Macadamia Nuts, off my abundant trees. The Macadamia Oil is high in Omega 6 and Omega 3. So these aren't just healthy rats, possums, quendas, parrots, schnauzers, human/Cath that live here, they, are also happy! Yes, despite the last couple of posts, I am normally an unbearably chirpy, happy person. The glass is always half full, type of person.
Check out the Acacia's, they are the shaggy dog lookin plants
Now, my creativity is starting to flow once again, watch out! And, thanks to those who quietly supported me and allowed me to walk through my process..
Training the dogs not to hunt! Very difficult as they are 'ratters', but they can't tell the difference between a Quenda (local rare marsupial) and a rat!
Getting back to the rats and the pitter, patter of little feet.... As much as I love these little critters, we know they are not actually all that healthy when living in a humans home. And, even though they have contained themselves to the roof space, they make an amazing racket when rolling those macadamia nuts around, I sometimes think they are playing soccer.
Having a little sleep on their way to heaven!
When I first moved in, they freaked us out, doing the soccer thing. Peri literally trembling from fear. There was so much noise, I thought it was a possum and hired a trap from the council, with the necessary instructions as to catch and release. Consequently, I caught nothing. I then thought it must be a huge rat and bought a big rat trap/cage with a trap door from the hardware store. I caught a beautiful little Quenda, which is a local, Short Nosed Bandicoot, who was not happy. I just let him back out the trap door and he returned slowly to his home under the  garden shed. I then bought a big rat snap trap. Put on it some cheese. That didn't work. Apparently I needed their natural food, hence I made up a concoction of macadamia nut, honey and bread. That didn't work. I then went back to cheese, this time a smelly cheese. That did work. And, one cold, winters night, we caught our first rat. It was awful. We heard the trap go off, we heard the poor little critter writhing in agony, flipping the wooden trap over and over until he died. Terrible. I am actually traumatised retelling the story. So no trap was set after that experience.
Miss Dish, (or as she was called yesterday Plate!) with her quarry. 
Back to the drawing board. I found a trap that, with the use of batteries, electrocutes them! But in a very humane way. It's instant and they even look like they have just gone to sleep! It's called the Rat Zapper - Infrared Ultra supplied by Derwent Traders in Tasmania. Consequently, this morning, we have caught 3 little rats. I have also discovered what they love to eat, apart from macadamia's, the boned remains of bbq'd lamb choppette, Catherine style! It's working a treat.
My '1 Dehydrate Rate'!
My fascination with critters goes back a long way. I think I must be a latent Naturalist (NO! not some one who loves galavanting around the bush minus their loin cloth! :)) according to Wikipedia 'Note that the term "naturalist" is also used to describe a person involved withnatural history, the scientific study of (or education about) nature and the natural world (particularly fields of botany and zoology), as distinct from someone holding any specific philosophical position.'
You may not be able to make this out that well, its a naturally preserved rat, a larger one. Peri found it under the house, and bought it to me. Good dog. I think it was poisoned, and the poison has helped to preserve it. Didn't look like it died a happy death! (part of the collection)
As a child I collected little crawling things and either put them into jars or stuck them to paper with sticky tape. I still have my first dead animal find, I have just taken a photo for you. It's a little mouse found under neath our house in City Beach. It was dry and sandy under there and perfect conditions for preserving my little treasure. It is in an old Strepsils tin labelled '1 dehydrate Rate'! I must have been 7 or 8 years of age. And, obviously couldn't spell. I now have quite a collection of dead, little and some not so little, critter bits. Will share those with you anon. I know you can't wait!

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