Paul's Internet Landfill/ 2019/ Rats and Compost

Rats and Compost

For many years, I did not know that rats lived in Kitchener. Then one night as I was walking home I saw a rat jump into a tree planter. Since then I have seen rats from time to time.

Given all my other phobias, I am surprised that I am not more frightened of rats. Let's be absolutely clear that rats are not welcome in my house, and I would freak out if they moved in. But so long as the rats stay outside, I do not mind them much. They are no worse than squirrels, anyways, and I admire that they are social and smart. I was reading about pet rats online and apparently they are as playful and affectionate as dogs.

Now that the Region of Waterloo is paying Guelph a lot of money to accept our compost, we are all supposed to put our food scraps in a stinky green bin. Before that they had been pushing backyard composting, and since I am a dinosaur I the black plastic backyard composter when I can. I don't actually use the produced compost much. Really what appeals to me is the idea of throwing garbage into a bin and having it disappear in an environmentally friendly way. To me, that seems more elegant than having a big heavy truck haul away my garbage to (maybe) have it turned into compost someplace else.

That's where rats come in. A couple of years ago a rat (maybe several rats? But not an army of rats) started digging under the composter to get to the food inside. In the winter I could see tracks leading to and from the composter.

I know how I am supposed to feel about this. I am supposed to be angry and freak out, because feeding rats is a big no-no. But honestly, I don't really mind, so long as the rats don't raise big rat families in the composter, and so long as they don't take the composter as an invitation to move into my house. If anything, the rats do a good job of mixing the food scraps in the composter, which makes the compost decompose faster. In a way they are working on my behalf.

Okay, fine. As I write this I am freaking out a little, because I really really don't want to have an infestation of rats in my house, and my superstitious mind thinks I am tempting fate simply by writing this. So if any rats are reading this: I do not mind a few of you mixing compost in my composter, and helping yourself to whatever tasty morsels you find along the way. But please stay out of my house and please do not cause trouble. I would prefer that we live alongside each other peacefully than be in conflict.