Earlier today I finally started exterminating the winery rats. I placed a pair of glue mousetraps on the carpet of ratshit in the maze of semiabandoned wine cases that the rats have been using as a warren. Within fifteen minutes, I heard struggling and distress calls and found a rat struggling to break loose from the traps. I stabbed it a couple of times with a cheap pointed knife, intending to immediately put it out of its misery. Instead, the animal went into even worse distress. After several tries, I managed to spear it and move it outside, where I basically choked it with the knife. That was all I could think to do to euthanize it. The knife wasn’t nearly sharp enough to kill a rat with a single stroke. It took me probably a full minute to finally kill the animal, or maybe put into terminal shock. I was working as quickly and decisively as I could. I didn’t want to cause these animals any unnecessary pain. It was just that they had to go. We cannot coexist with their piles of shit.
As I was pulling the rat out of the warren, it violently wetted and soiled itself. I saw several turds shoot out of its ass like machine gun rounds. The stench went from its disgusting baseline to acutely nauseating, mainly due to the urine. I had made an animal shit and piss itself in end-of-life terror. I would much rather have not had to do anything of the sort and was relieved when the rat finally appeared dead. It would have suffered much longer stuck in the trap, so I think I made its death about as pleasant as I could. Hell, there’s never any assurance that a cat won’t torture a rodent to death in the course of hunting it. Nature raw in tooth and claw, etc. And in asshole and pisshole, apparently.
After disposing of the rat’s carcass, I placed several more traps in the same area. Within probably five minutes I had immobilized another rat. I think I killed this one a bit faster, although it still took much longer than I would have liked. I couldn’t really figure out how to kill these animals quickly and cleanly. It felt like it took forever. This one pissed and shit itself, too, although not as violently or copiously.
These were gruesome experiences. Waves of sickness came over my stomach every few minutes for the next hour and a half. Several times I was afraid that I might vomit, and that doesn’t happen to me very often. Other than burping up a tiny bit of heartburn backwash now and then, I don’t recall vomiting even once in the past five years. I feel close to vomiting maybe once or twice a year, usually when I’m in a confined space around boiled eggs. This memory was more vivid, though. I don’t usually spend an hour or two having flashbacks to an encounter with a rank egg smell earlier in the day, because ultimately, boiled eggs are just something that will make me barf if I eat them or smell too much of them. This rat mess was primal ugliness at the nexus of piss, shit, and death. As higher animals, we should do what we can to help lower animals (and, for that matter, one another) die more peacefully. I tried, and I gave the rats a less brutal end than they would have suffered on their own in the traps, but even so, I failed. They still went through hell.
That said, I don’t regret killing them. As I said, they had to go. Their survivors still have to go. I doubt they’ve all been trapped yet. I hope they aren’t suffering too much. The truth is that I can’t risk unnecessary confrontations with Joe Dirtbag over the extermination of indoor vermin. He’ll make it about his ego again, and I can’t get in the way of his ego without making it clear that I’m ready to call the police at the drop of a hat. While I was researching rodent glue traps this afternoon, I came across some fact sheets from the CDC listing diseases transmitted by rats. These were laundry lists of diseases that you do not want to contract: bubonic plague, Tularemia, rat bite fever (you don’t say), hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, etc. In Soviet Russia, Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever has YOU! It’s some scary shit. The CDC lists rodents as indirect vectors of Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and West Nile Virus. These critters will hook you up with the good stuff.
Joe Dirtbag is a fucking disphit to act like there’s anything cute about this infestation. The CDC’s instructions for cleaning up rodent waste include levels of ventilation that we can’t achieve in the winery building with our current equipment and a bleach-and-wait disinfection protocol. Joe Dirtbag would probably Shanghai some rando into helping him sweep the shit up without gloves or masks. He wouldn’t care that the authorities (i.e., cautious people, not raging yahoo dipshits) warn against sweeping up dry, untreated rat waste due to the aerosolization hazard. In fact, the CDC warns against inhaling it at all. God, I hope I’m not already infected with something that will sicken me. I’ve already been around piles of rat shit in an unventilated room.
I have to be ready for the animal welfare concern-trolling of our smallest furry friends. Joe Dirtbag is liable to express his concern to me that glue traps are inhumane. No shit they are, but so is Hantavirus, which can be transmitted by shitty dust clouds.
Charles Dickens, pray for us.