I smell a rat.
It's under the house.
I also smell a victory of sorts, as the putrid little feral and his mates have gone to the big dumpster in the sky.
But victory isn't sweet. A bad smell lingers.
I won't go into the details of how I set my murderous trap, but the critters have been winding me up for years. It became personal when they broke up my happy little family.
A couple of years ago, a blue-tongue lizard moved in. I think the bluey was a lady lizard, so I'll stick with that.
She was the perfect housemate - quiet, tidy, looked after herself. I got used to not seeing her in the colder months, but it was always a happy reunion (for me at least) when she returned in spring.
First, I'd see her little head stick out from under the house. Then I'd see most of her torso spread out on the warm concrete. I kept my distance, but offered her a hearty "good morning" every day. She was stand-offish, but I didn't care as she definitely lifted the tone of the neighbourhood.
She settled in after realising her landlady was harmless, if a bit annoying. My dogs respected the bluey's space as well, especially after realising that sticking a nose into her business would result in a furious spray.
The same couldn't be said for the Indian minors who tried to stand over my bluey and her various gentlemen callers. Alerted by the flying ferals' squawks, I sorted the situation with a well-aimed hose at the swooping ringleader.
A successful bluey breeding program began under the house. I know this because I came face to face with a mini bluey while weeding near the family's pad. We were both startled, but Junior had the brains to scuttle off before I swooned and squashed him.
That was the start of some pretty adorable times. We were happy.
Then the rot set in. The rats arrived.
My bluey and her mates disappeared.
I hate to think of their fate.
I knew the rabble had moved in when incessant scratching started under the house. Then I spotted one of the squatters.
It wasn't pretty.
Call me a snob, but the sight of a rat plopping its unwelcome butt in the bird feeder is objectionable. Something had to be done. This was not going on. Not in my backyard.
There's nothing like an angry NIMBY to get things sorted.
So, now the scratching has stopped.
All is quiet.
I'm not confident the blueys will move back to their old pad. But I'm hoping they'll find another home close by.
Maybe raise a few littlies?
The neighbourhood isn't the same without them.
I'll leave a light on.
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