One morning, as I was getting ready for work, I heard the little pitter-patter of footsteps. Except that they were above my head, in the roof of our house. My mind suddenly flashed back to the time when my apartment became infested with mice and squirrels one autumn. They made my life miserable with the smell, chewing, and screeching night and day. There's nothing worse than waking up to the sounds of mating squirrels. I guess squirrels find it sexy. I, on the other hand, am reminded of the sound of fingernails scraping across a chalk board.
I called Dan later that morning. "I think we have a possum in our roof," I told him, thinking that this was news.
"Oh yeah," he said. "I've heard it up there now for several days."
Several days! And he never mentioned it to me.
Possums are apparently plentiful in Australia. Ours were raiding our peach trees and leaving their droppings in our garage. Our garage was now Chez Possum, and our roof is now a B&B for marsupials. I imagine that our furry intruders are making nests out of the expensive blown wool insulation above our heads.
"We have to get rid of them!" I insisted. So, Dan dutifully called the pest removal specialist. Oh Joy. Possums are protected. They can not be caught unless the catcher can release them in a special protected wildlife area. The pest removal specialist asked Dan a few more questions.
"You probably don't have a possum," he said. "They're pretty large animals and unless there's a large hole in your roof, a possum wouldn't be able to get in."
"What could it be?" Dan asked. To which we were told,
"It's probably a roof rat."
A roof rat? Visions of our electrical cords being chewed through and rat urine and feces in our expensive wool insulation suddenly popped into my head. A RAT?
The pest specialist reassured us that the rats really don't do a lot of damage - but they do smell. Apparently their toilet habits leave much to be desired.
By this time, I'm beside myself. I do not want a rat living in my roof! I do not think of the movie Ratatouille when I envision this rat. No neat little dining room with bibbed rats sipping champagne and nibbling on Brie. THIS RAT MUST GO.
I think I'd rather have possums in the roof.
Apparently, though, there are people who want to Save the Roof Rats. According to the rumor, they taste like chicken.