Cute Little Varmints


Some of my neighbors give me a bad time because I deport my pack rats. But seriously, could you off one of these little guys? I can’t. They drive me up the wall, but I still go to the trouble to live trap them and release them back into the wild — way downstream.

There are times this practice gets out of hand. Six rats, six mornings in a row can try my patience, but I suspect there are reasons to keep one’s pack rat karma in the black. For one thing, pack rats keep away mice. It’s some kind of territorial thing. This service is no small matter. In an old funky cabin, given the choice between twenty mice or one pack rat, you might decide to go with the lower density rodent.

On the other hand, one pack rat can take up the odiferous, audio, and psychological space of five teenagers. Their pee stinks, they stay up all night banging around, and they swipe stuff and don’t put it back. They’re hard to live with — especially in a small space.

So this morning I loaded up Bushy-tailed Wood Rat #68 and released her several miles down canyon. It’s a nice spot, along the creek, no human habitations for miles. Occasionally, it crosses my mind that the rats loop around through the sage, beat me to the truck, jump up on an axle and catch a ride back. After all the time we’ve spent together, I wouldn’t put it past them.