The Bushy-Tailed Woodrat

By Mike Johnson

When the fresh flowers arrived on the woodpile next to the front door, we knew something was about.

Not freshly cut, freshly chewed. Not a gift, a stash.

Something had moved into the wood stack.

A day later, while rocking on the porch, Margie met the critter. The size of a small rabbit but with the face of a mouse, we called it a mabbit. I say "met" because the little guy was fearless. It sat on top of the wood stack & just stared. It had devoured Margie's pansies so was likely in a flower coma.

Used to woodland creatures, this was new to us. A little research revealed it was a bushy-tailed woodrat.

It kept building a nest so we feared it was pregnant. We couldn't have a tribe of these things climbing the house. We knew it could climb because it chewed off a piece of the twine holding a porch sign, causing it to fall. So we named the beast "sign-felled."

It took a couple days, but the live trap finally caught the creature.

Margie tossed a dozen flower heads into the cage as we loaded it into the car. Moving day.

We knew just the place, deep in the rocky forest, lush with vegetation & water.

After a long drive, we uncovered the cage to discover all the flowers were eaten. Despite the car ride, no tension there.

He scampered a few feet, looked back & acknowledged our goodbye.

Bye signfelled.


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