Yesterday, the dog was circling something near the tire swing. Well, I’m used to the geese and ducks and turtles and frogs. This was clearly not any of those. From far away, it looked sort of cute and furry. I thought, Awww, a baby beaver. I often see the little brown heads swimming around in the pond and there are definitely beaver dams, at least two.
So I approached. The critter was still looking cute, until I saw the tail. The long, fear-inducing, snaky tail. Isn’t that a . . . a rat tail? So isn’t that a . . . a rat? A RAT? What? Ugh. Look at those eyes. They’re beady, aren’t they? Have I been looking at some kind of water rat for 21 years swimming in the pond at the end of my yard and thinking they were beavers?
But there are dams, for certain, and I’ve seen little brown animals swimming with sticks. Do rats build dams? Do they live with the beavers? I don’t know. All I know is that the dog stayed at least five feet from this creature. I got a little closer to take the photo, and then I scurried back indoors and kept the cat in, too.
Coincidentally, I’d recently read a blog post on how people romanticize the Victorian age, Downton Abbey and all that! (Sorry, cannot find the post.) Those Victorians were far more intimate with rats than we are — the regular house kind, that is. Everyone knew a rat catcher, or had a ferret or terrier. There are a ton of Victorian images of rats, but I’m going to share this rat riding a lobster because, you know, it’s a rat riding a lobster!
Anyone want to enlighten me on whether I really do, in fact, have water rats in my pond. And what was it doing sitting there, unafraid of both woman and dog? It’s back was a bit damp, so clearly it had emerged from the frigid New England pond water. Why? (Besides the fact that the water was cold.) To do what? I didn’t see it eating anything, but I suppose it could have been digging for worms. If you know about this creature, let me know.