Tuesday, 19 November 2013
This will not be to everyone's liking
But it will be of interest to some!
It was a nice bright day today so I decided to go and feed and film the buzzards. Buzzards like eating meat as do magpies. The problem is, magpies are so numerous they can quickly eat meat left for buzzards before any buzzards arrive, so to counter this I left dried dog food for the magpies so they would eat that instead.
As dusk arrived and I set about packing away my camera I caught a glimpse of what I thought was a squirrel out of the corner of my eye. It was heading towards some dog food the magpies could not finish off - a rare occurrence indeed! I then realised that it was not a squirrel and in actual fact it was a rat. I initially felt uneasy and immediately thought back to an incident back in September when I saw a dead rat lying in the road in a nice part of Denton.
I had never (knowingly) been this close to a live wild rat before so I decided to watch and see what happened next, and what happened next was it was soon joined by another rat. I then thought this could be interesting to observe so I set my phone to video mode and activated its bright xenon light and walked towards the dog food and not surprisingly the rats immediately fled the scene. So I waited and few minutes to see if they would be so bold as to come back while I was still there, and within minutes and they were back, and nibbling at the dried dog food. I was literally inches away when filming them and they seemed totally oblivious to the fact that I and my very bright light were close at hand.
A fear of rats seems to be hard-wired into our psyche. This probably dates back to the Bubonic Plague which was caused by fleas carried by rats. My initial encounter today definitely had me startled but after watching them at close quarters in their natural environment I now think about them in an entirely different light. And before anyone accuses me of encouraging vermin to residential areas, this was not filmed in a residential area and there are no houses in the immediate vicinity. The rats who starred in this video live in a live badger sett as does a fox. It is a strange set up and the badgers are obviously very tolerant creatures to share their sett with such interesting guests.