When a child I was introduced to Beatrix Potter. The words, the illustrations I loved. But there was one book which gave me nightmares.
Samuel Whiskers. The Roly - Poly Pudding.
Some decades later I was training for the Diploma in Nursery Nursing, NNEB. (Which I gained with distinction.) Part of the course were various placements. I was a nanny, worked in a Social Services establishment, as a classroom assistant, etc. It was the last mentioned placement when I came across Samuel Whiskers again.
The class had two rats and a large fishtank. I just couldnt do it. I could clean the fish tank out, with my tongue if necessary, but no way could I care for those rats.
Once I had qualified, that together with a previously obtained Legal qualification, led to me being a Childrens Day Care Inspector. Part of this job I had to train and inspect Childrens Day Care providers.
I had no problems with the Childminder who's husband had a locked room in which were snakes, lizards, Tarantulas etc. I was happy to handle them all. Had he had rats it would have been difficult.
More decades and we found ourselves in the North East of Scotland running a b&b.
We had rescued hens and ducks. And rats. One of which the DP despatched by using a bit of 4x4 pushing it back into the loo it had appeared from.
Now here we are in retirement. Feeding the birds. Then, after 6 years here, Samuel Whiskers has found me again.
Right. We do not want to kill the rats.
So - the bird feeders are to be moved and altered. The places where Samuel, and his family, hide will be removed. The log pile is to be relocated.
Rats dont like open spaces.
They have to drink a lot so the water provided for the birds to bath in will go for a while.
On the plus side I have plans for remodelling the garden and providing a new patio, more human presence which rats dont like either.
The feeling is mutual.