At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Saturday, August 06, 2016


You may not like the article, but I find it fascinating. What with being simultaneously a curious sort with a minor scientific bent, AND eternally charmed by little furry creatures. And, related thereto, I should mention that I have liked a Facebook page for fans of pet rats.
Personally, I do not own or host any rodents.
But they are very charming animals.
And can be affectionate.

[Years ago at a party in North Beach, I interacted with the three pets of the household, that being an iguana, a cat, and a free-roaming rat. At one point the rat discovered that my right arm and my shoulders were a bridge to the bag of cheetos in my left hand, and then spent half an hour ferrying the contents of that bag to a hiding place in its unlocked cage. Which was a lovely example of co-existence, and probably prevented me from getting early-onset diabetes. 
A delightful little fellow.]

Not only do I follow a rat page, there are also cats, kittens, weasels, and pipesmokers, whose antics I look forward to on Facebook.

Anyhow, here's an article about rats in Vancouver:
The Case For Leaving City Rats Alone -- Nautilus


"As much as rats thrive in disrupted environments, Byers says, they’ve managed to create very stable colonies within them. Rats live in tight-knit family groups that are confined to single city blocks, and which rarely interact. The Rat Project hypothesized that when a rat is ousted from its family by pest control, its family might flee its single-block territory, spreading diseases that are usually effectively quarantined to that family. In other words, the current pest control approach of killing one rat per concerned homeowner call could be backfiring, and spreading disease rather than preventing it."

[ --- ]

"A significant finding from the project’s original phase, Byers tells me, is that not every rat in V6A carried the same disease. Rat families are generally confined to a single city block, and while one block might be wholly infected with a given bacteria, adjacent blocks were often completely disease free. “Disease risk doesn’t really relate to the number of rats you’re exposed to as much as it does which family you interact with,” says Robbin Lindsay, a researcher at Canada’s National Microbiology Lab who assisted the Vancouver Rat Project screen for disease."

[ --- ]

"Byers moves hastily to a trap on Block 8. No rat here, but this one did catch a skunk."

End cite.

The article is a good read.

The bookseller and I miss the tree outside the Ping Yuen West housing project which once contained a rat. We do not know why that tree was removed -- the rodent was probably not the reason -- but the rat population is probably thriving in that area since San Francisco's current garbage policy was put into effect. Rats have no problems getting into locked garbage cans; trash, recyclables, and compost.

On the other hand, I haven't seen raccoons there in a while.
It's probably all the unfair competition.
Which is not natural.

In the past, San Francisco was a warmly supportive environment for rats, cats, raccoons, possums, and skunks, plus the occasional coyote. Since the recent tech boom began, programmers have taken over.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


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