"Dance Without a Net Upon the Wire..."
April 13, 2018 12:59 PM   Subscribe

A wild rat raids a Bristol bird-feeder via a high-wire act upon a washing-line. (Video.)
posted by Morfil Ffyrnig (19 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I mean he probably has 4 baby turtles to take care of. Just a father feeding his ninja family.
posted by Fizz at 1:09 PM on April 13, 2018 [21 favorites]

Wow! So cool how that little vermin uses his tail!
posted by Secretariat at 1:11 PM on April 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

Such timidity and caution! A squirrel would have just jumped from the roof.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:57 PM on April 13, 2018

Ha! This behavior is familiar to me, because I lived in the woods north of Montreal, and decided to keep a fully-stocked bird-feeder and see what would show up. And that included as anticipated hungry black squirrels. And so ,it was a protracted battle of wits. I ran a horizontal cable line and hung the bird-feeder in the middle of that, with the line through metal trash-can lids, making concave shields blocking the way.

Those had to be tweaked several times to finally make the line squirrel-proof. They had to be affixed so that if they got to the edge it would tip and dump them. Other routes of access, like dropping out of a tree had to be accounted for.

Then this one persistent guy nibbled the branches off a little sapling nearby, that naturally pointed towards the destination. Having prepared his launchpad, he would take a running start, then up the sapling, launching five feet air bound to land on the feeder. I watch this with some amusement for a few days.

Then I went out and bent the sapling about 20 degrees off target. For at least a week the poor guy kept launching himself to just miss the feeder, as he watched it go by while grasping desperately at it.
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:05 PM on April 13, 2018 [26 favorites]

This πŸ€ is a hero. Could've done without the remark about his ex-wife.
posted by dis_integration at 2:42 PM on April 13, 2018 [5 favorites]

> Wow! So cool how that little vermin uses his tail!

[RatFacts] Rat tails are multi-functional, being thermoregulators as well as balance aids - the rapid whipping around in a circle seen in the video, in order to gain balance, is known in the rat fancy as "propellering". [/RatFacts]

(Incidentally, I reckon Tightrope Rat is a doe - rat bucks are usually easily identified as such owing to being disproportionately well-endowed in the testicular department.)
posted by Morfil Ffyrnig at 2:53 PM on April 13, 2018 [9 favorites]

StickyCarpet--we also feed birds and, incidentally, squirrels. We do not spend effort on anti-squirrel actions, because we do not want to spend time entertaining the varmints. They love the little puzzles we contrive. The hell with them.
posted by hexatron at 4:31 PM on April 13, 2018 [5 favorites]

The BBC trains squirrels: "DayLight Robbery."
posted by Marky at 6:46 PM on April 13, 2018

I've had several pet rats and they are wicked clever.

You haven't really lived until you are startled by a rat, you thought was safely in their cage, running across your living room floor with an entire chocolate chip cookie in their mouth that they took out of unopened package that was in your cupboard.

The downside of this cuteness is that male rats pee everywhere all the time to mark their territory (in addition to their aforementioned prodigious unavoidable teabagging everywhere all the time).
posted by srboisvert at 7:34 PM on April 13, 2018 [12 favorites]

We do not spend effort on anti-squirrel actions, because we do not want to spend time entertaining the varmints.

These were wild forest black squirrels, they would fill up their cheeks, go stash it somewhere and come back. They could do three kilos of bird feed a day each.

I was only going to be there for one year, so I did sign up for one season of tournament competition with team squirrel. I had them off the bird-feeder for the last few months. The experiment was to keep the bird-feeder loaded at all times. It did cause a lot of different interactions in the the birds using it, and attract a variety of species.

Then it ended up being a hawk feeder, and the feed I provided was birds. Then a gang of crows started acting as lookouts patrolling around in squads, and they would alarm signal at hawks. Then birds at the feeder would hide in cute little place. The crows would signal the all clear, and back to normal.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:55 PM on April 13, 2018 [13 favorites]

I'm pretty live-and-let-live, and my son had a cute white rat as a pet when he was a teen and my d-i-l raised adorable spotted Dumbo-ear rats for years, but....

Usually, if you see one brown rat, aka common, street, or sewer rat, you aren't seeing the rest of the pack. Rats tend to be social critters.

...brown rats may carry a number of pathogens,which can result in disease, including Weil's disease, rat bite fever, cryptosporidiosis, viral hemorrhagic fever, Q fever and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. In the United Kingdom, brown rats are an important reservoir for Coxiella burnetii, the bacterium that causes Q fever, with seroprevalence for the bacteria found to be as high as 53% in some wild populations.

This species can also serve as a reservoir for Toxoplasma gondii, the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis...

I'd be reaching for the old Box-o-Bait and not the camera if that booger were at my bird feeder.
posted by BlueHorse at 8:07 PM on April 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

I bet he drinks carling black label
posted by fizban at 1:40 AM on April 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

We're still allowed to hate rats and mice, right? We can? OK, good.
posted by Beholder at 1:46 AM on April 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Props for the Don't Cry Out Loud title reference!
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 5:24 AM on April 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Roland was a Norvegicus
From the hole underneath the shed
With his teeth all sharp and bitey
Stealing to be fed

The feeder was filled in morntime
On a bright and sunny day
So he set out for the clothesline
To raid the fresh buffet

Time, time, time
For another daring raid
Time stands still for Roland
Till his hunger is allayed

They can still see that empty feeder
Swaying on the line
And the seed all gone to Roland's big fat tum
And the seed all gone to Roland's big fat tum
posted by Meatbomb at 7:27 AM on April 14, 2018 [6 favorites]

I love Roland. I love his cheekiness, his tail maneuvers, and his cute chubby tummy.
posted by Stonkle at 7:51 AM on April 14, 2018 [3 favorites]

ahhhhhh, when he's hanging there and his belly was exposed I wanted to reach out and pet it! (cause he seemed nice like my pet rats rather than the scary guy who snarled at me from my compost bin.)
posted by vespabelle at 10:28 AM on April 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

If I'd seen that ginormous creature on my washing line, I'd still be screaming. It's not as if Bush Rats are a known Bristol species: that thing lives in a big rubbish-dumpy disease-ridden pack nearby with all its friends and lovers.
posted by glasseyes at 1:27 PM on April 14, 2018

Bravo, Roland, master of the high wire!
posted by chance at 9:13 AM on April 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

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