Monday, 6 July 2009

What do you think.....

I sat in the copse watching her........she was playing in the meadow grass......
She slowly climbed to the top of the grass, and then would tumble on to the meadow floor.........

She munched and chomped on the grasses, enjoying the moment......totally unaware that she is one of the most disliked creatures on the planet.......a baby rat. As I watched, I almost pitied her.......she would not be around for long. We cannot let rats get out of control.......for this moment she is safe. She hides in the copse.......


but she will be tempted to venture out to pastures new.......meadow flowers are tastier than grasses.........
I am not the only one who has been watching her.....Nella looks through the fence.......she has learned patience.....she has learned to wait......
the only comfort I have is that Nella is swift......she does not play with her prey.........she has been trained well, she leaves her catch alone........her job is done......
Tell me gentle bloggers what are your views on this subject??




27 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I think that you are lucky to have Nella or you would be overrun with rats. It is all the balance of life. Nella does her job and does it well if she is swift. Life does go on about us wheter we like it or not.

Wendy said...

Ah, it's so hard. To watch a baby animal, knowing what we humans know. I find movies like Bambi sad. But in real life, I would cheerfully wring the neck of that groundhog who ate my new fresh sprouts totally destroying some dahlias, parsley, basil and whatever else. I say that, but, how could I in all truth destroy another animal?
Nature can be cruel - but, as Lisa said "its all in the balance of life" and this is how we must look at it. I certainly wouldn't want rats in my house!

Liz said...

I'm unsure I could do it myself, but can understand the need to ensure rats do not over run the garden and I'm pretty certain in your position I too would have to deal with them and as you said Nella is quick and doesn't play with them as a cat usually would it does make it easier to deal with.

Do you have Foxes visiting?

Cheryl said...

Hi Lisa....Nella is indeed swift....thirty seconds and the deed is done....there is no suffering....
I know you are absolutely right Lisa.....and living in the countryside field rats will always be a problem. One of the reasons we got Nella was to keep rabbits and rats down.....

Cheryl said...

Tku Wendy....I really do like to read other peoples opinion.....it keeps everything in perspective....

I would certainly not want rats in the house either....with Nella around that is not an option.....

Are groundhogs large???

Cheryl said...

Hi Liz....foxes come and go here. I do have a tawny owl and a stoat hunting in the garden though. I saw the tawny take a little rat the other night, she left a feather as a token. A kitten (baby rabbit) was killed in the copse last week....so there is something hunting here......

Q said...

Dear Cheryl,
I think all of life has a place, the rats and the rabbits and the owls and the darling Nellas! All are important. The bugs are necessary as are the birds and the slugs! When Humans interfere I think that is when populations get out of control. I do not like the introduction of different species into areas that they are not native; be it plant, insect or animal. Yet I am growing tomatoes for my suppers in my backyard. A non-native annual.
I am an "immigrant" of sorts...my ancestors came from Germany, I was born and raised in the US. I am non-native to my area. How can I diminish the impact of my life on the enviroment?
Humans have changed the landscape. We have altered the balance. I think it is my responsibility to be a good steward. How I do that is evolving.
I also do not want rats in my house nor do I like being dinner for mosquitoes! Like nature, I too must find a balance. I must respect all of life and find my rightful place. If a bug is in my house and I would like it not to be I catch and release rather than kill.
There are times I just do not know what to do. There are squash bug eggs on the leaves of the zucchini. I have been picking them off. Like baby rats these eggs are unloved. I do not know of any bird or other bugs that eat the dreaded squash bug or their eggs. I do know they will eat my zucchini plants. I will not have the fruit for my suppers if I leave the eggs. It is a dilemma. I turn to balance. At some point the squash bugs will win. Hopefully I will have some fruit before the plants succumb.
So happy you enjoyed the baby rat.
Wonderful photographs.
Nice discussion, thank you for raising awareness.
Namaste,
Sherry

Liz said...

I thought perhaps the foxes too would take rats as well as Nella, but it sounds like things are kept in control and I'm certain should their population boom it will bring in even more predators, nature knows how to handle these things :)

NCmountainwoman said...

I have a fairly simplistic view. When a rat (or other rodent) decides to enter an area with a resident predator he takes his chances. It makes no difference whether or not the predator is a wild creature or your pet. The exception is when people allow their cats to take songbirds.

Lovely photographs of Nella.

Racn4acure said...

It is just part of nature. A few rats in the country is fairly natural. Thousands of them in cities is not, or a farm overrun with them. Rodents reproduce so rapidly to keep up with being eaten by so many things. As long as you have snakes, foxes, hawks, and owls, the rats will stay more or less in control and the predators will have something to eat.

Last year while hiking, I saw a water snake catch a trout. It was amazing to see this small drama unfold. And while being swallowed alive by a snake must be pretty terrible, it is either that or the snake will starve - also pretty terrible, I would imagine.

So I say the rat is part of nature in your yard, and enjoy watching him.

beckie said...

Babies of any kind bring out the nuturing side in us. Even a baby rat. But my way of dealing with issues like this is to let mnature take it's course. In this case, Nella is just doing what nature has taught her to do as is the rat. If she is meant to live she will.

I'll bet that little gem of wisdom didn't help you a bit!! :)

But your pics are delightful and it is interesting to know what you are thinking and how you are feeling.

Take care dear Cheryl, and try not to worry about those things you can't control.

Cheryl said...

Dear Sherry....thank you for such a detailed and interesting comment....our thoughts as always run along the same pathway.....

When you love nature it makes things just that little more difficult.....and I have to say little rat was delightful and charming to watch......
Common sense tells me that I cannot allow them to get out of control, that would be a disaster.....but I am by nature a pacifist....I do not like killing of any kind........

Nella by nature is a ratter and rabbiter, that is her job, and she does it well. She is not cruel, she is swift.....it is not a game with her, it is a job......

Tku for being so honest......

Cheryl said...

Thank you ncmountainwoman for your straight forward thinking.....

I agree I cannot bear it when the song thrushes are taken by cats....it is something that saddens me very much......
Nella is kept in the front garden during spells when fledglings are around......

Rose said...

It is nature's way, Cheryl. Baby animals, even rats, which I abhor, are so cute, but they don't stay babies long...Nella is such a good dog and knows her job. Without natural predators we would be overrun with destructive creatures.

I love your new header; this is my vision of the perfect garden, Cheryl!

Roses and Lilacs said...

I couldn't tell a baby rat from a mouse, I thought that is what it was, a mouse.

They are so plentiful in the fields by late summer that my german shepherd used to catch them. He would throw them into the air, catch and swallow them whole. Eeewww!

You are right, they cannot go unchecked. They would be in our houses in winter. It seems they are destined to be prey for owls, hawks, coyotes and fox, not to mention cats and terriers.
Marnie

ShySongbird said...

Oh Cheryl I have struggled with this! I know if it was in my garden I would hope that a fox or other natural predator would take it but even then I wouldn't want to witness it, I wouldn't want to actually know what had happened! When we were out with Louis one day he took a young rabbit, like Nella it was quick and completely instinctive but still devastated me. That innocent little life, playing and enjoying the sunshine one moment and gone the next and not even for food, upset me very much. I hope I am never put in your position, so difficult.

Cheryl said...

Hi Racn4acure.....what an amazing thing to witness....a snake taking a trout. I like snakes, I find them fascinating....I think they are very misunderstood.....

Tku for sharing your story with me......

Cheryl said...

Hi Beckie....as always you come up with a little gem, that does in fact make things that bit easier.....I do thank you for that.....

I love the photographs, rat or not, they are very pretty.....

Cheryl said...

You are right Rose, of course you are. Nella is a good dog....I do not know what I would do without her. She has kept rabbit and rat numbers down.....that is what she is for.....I suppose I just do not like witnessing the kill...and I often do.....

Tku re header....you are way to kind......

Cheryl said...

Hi Marnie.....double eekkkkk....swallowing them whole!!!!!

Again, we could not have them in our houses in the winter....perish the thought......

I am glad that I brought this topic up, I have so enjoyed reading peoples comments......

Cheryl said...

Hi Jan.....I had a feeling that you and I would think along the same lines. I do not like witnessing the kill.....the animal squeeling for that short amount of time, seems endless.....and so pathetic. I was brought up to respect all forms of life......and I do mean all forms.....I think it stays with you.
I accept that rats are a pest and numbers need to be kept down. I just don't want to see it....

Robin in Portland, Oregon said...

Having had rats as pets they are the sweetest of the cage pets. But in the wild are vectors for disease especially if a colony forms. What sad karma? Fortunately for you "rat terrier" type dogs are swift. I would just let nature take its course. There once was a Buddhist monestary that became overrun with fleas. The momks ran to the master, "What do we do? What do we do?". The master said, "Well, kill them of course. But kill them compassionatly. So perhaps allow yourself to feel joy and such a sweet view of a little life and send a blessing when it passes.

Cheryl said...

What a lovely message Robin.....thank you so much for that......

marmee said...

cheryl,

this is a hard one...it's good that you have nella to just make it easier for you. what she does instinctively relieves you from having to do anything.
we have discovered bronte' is a hunter of mice & moles. we just let her do what she does naturally. i think it would be wrong to try to change her.
there has been way too much human interference in the way things are naturally. we live in an area of large land trusts so things are staying the same for the most part.
what bothers me is when a species is introduced unnaturally with no natural predators...that is a true delimma.

Gail said...

Dear Cheryl, What absolutely elegant and thoughtful comments you've gotten on a sensitive subject....I personally could not kill a critter but am not aggrieved when nature takes it's course and pesky rats, mice and voles are taken down. There is a certain balance necessary in a garden...Nella sounds the ideal balance keeper! gail

Wendy said...

Me again, Cheryl. I must say I totally agree with Sherry - and others too. Those comments were so thoughtful and sane. Nobody wants to watch a kill. I turn my head. And I really don't like man interfering with nature. Interesting topic you chose to post about.

Anyway, I just wanted to answer your question about the groundhog. They are rather big. I'd say about a foot long, short legs, but they climb! I was astonished to see one climbing the neighbour's wire fence. Did not think they could. They are herbiferous (did I spell that right? probably not) or herbivore or whatever - they eat plants. So not terrible creatures, except they love the new, green shoots that usually begin a plants' growth. Why couldn't they like the old, tough leaves? Ah well.....

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

I'm just a big wuss and don't like seeing animals killed even if I know it's the order of things.