I Smell a Rat

No, I don't actually smell a rat. Though I do smell a Rat Terrier...but that is a whole other story. :)

Switzerland is one of the cleanest places I've ever lived. That is not to say that graffiti, litter, or rodents don't exist, but they are not pervasive. (Uh-oh, I feel a post coming on about graffiti in Zug...)

The only place we've witnessed the existence of rats has been at the Bahnhof. Smidgey, on the other hand, has been hot on the trail of some things that she'd like to sink her canine teeth into during our walks, but I'm not sure they've all been rodents.

One theory I have as to why there may be so few rodents (squirrels included) is the prevalence of outdoor cats. This is a new phenomenon for us. In the area of Tucson where we moved from, outdoor cats were almost nonexistent - or would become nonexistent quickly thanks to our neighborhood coyotes and bobcats.

Now we see a sight like this almost daily:
No rodents in those bushes!

But then one day we saw these painted on a wall...

...and we thought, what's that about?

According to the official Zuger Stadtf├╝hrungen pamphlet these painted rats are tied to a story about the Clock Tower in Altstadt (old town) Zug. 

Clock Tower in Zug.

As the story goes, while dining in a hostel a young scholar who was passing through Zug on his way to Salerno overheard a watchman complaining about rats tormenting whomever was on duty in the Clock Tower. The young man advised the watchman "to paint a large fat rat on the wall of the tower at the point where the rats climbed in." The next day the watchman did just that. According to the story, "as the irksome rats appeared, they saw their black counterpart, sniffed around it and quickly fled". 

Look at that, with a little paint, extermination services are no longer needed. If only it were that easy.

My poem today is advice on what to do if you see a rat...regardless of its color:

If you see a rat
dressed in black
stay way, way back.

If you see a rat
dressed in gray
go far, far away.

If you see a rat
dressed in white
quick, take flight.

Bottom line is
if you see a rat
always avoid that...
...and/or send in a cat.

©2017, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.