Death of Rats

October 31, 2013

TRIGGER WARNING: Further down, this post includes the picture of a dead, semi-mummified rat. If you’re sensitive to this kind of thing, it might be wise not to scroll down, but rather stop reading this post right now…

Anyway, with Halloween approaching fast, I thought it might be appropriate to post something, er, seasonal – which made me remember a set of photos I took at the end of summer in my parents’ garden.

So, my dad and I were dismantling this stack of timber which had been an annoyance obstacle a scenic feature in the back of the garden for some fifteen years. As it turned out, lying untouched for such a long time had turned it into some sort of biotope for all kinds of insects and small animals. The most obvious being spiders: There were cobwebs everywhere, and some of them were so beautiful in the light of the afternoon sun that I just had to go and get my camera…

Then, as we had cleared away the upper layer of timber, it turned out that mice and perhaps other rodents had been using this space as their pantry-cum-dining-room. What we uncovered was a layer of timber covered entirely in empty, cracked nutshells.

Most of those were from walnuts which seemed only logical since the stack of timber was placed right underneath a walnut tree. However, there also were loads of almonds, and that is kind of strange since there is no almond tree in the garden, and it’s not a particularly common tree in our region anyway. So I still wonder: Does one of the neighbours actually have an almond tree in his/her garden or were those rather imported almonds that had been bought in the supermarket, stored in someone’s pantry and then taken away by those sly little mice?

But the biggest surprise came even further down the pile of timber. While some rodents must have had a regular feast going on there with all those nuts, some were not quite so fortunate: Among the timber we found the remains of two dead rats, and it seems that the poor creatures must have gotten stuck in the pile somehow and slowly starved to death or something…

One of them was in such a state of decay that I won’t bother you with its picture. But the other was surprisingly well-preserved, in a semi-mummified state:

Now, once you got past the Ack! and Yuck! and Gross!, let me ask you: Doesn’t that fella look exactly as you’d imagine the Death of Rats from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld?!