29 August 2007

Turtle Power

My only pet as a child was a tortoise a friend of my parents gave us when I was 4 and my sister was 2. We named it Jip after my grandfather's gun dog. Like all tortoises Jip was very laid back and slow moving, until she wandered into the livingroom. Unfortunately the carpet there was very similar in colour to her shell so there were a few occasions when she was accidentally kicked across the floor. She also had a bad habit of peeing on people when they picked her up to say hello. Possibly a defence mechanism in case she was used as a football who knows, but the smell of tortoise pee is something you don't forget. It's not eyewatering like skunk but just odd.
Then one night my mother awoke to hear a bumping noise coming from under the bed. She thought Jip had wandered off and gotten stuck under there, but curiously everytime she moved the noise stopped. Then to her horror a rat shot out from under the bed. It disappeared out through the bedroom door into the bathroom and down the toilet. So the next day my parents called the National Pest Control who came round and put down rat poison in the drains and the back garden. That evening my parents were having a dinner party. My mother was in the kitchen preparing when the grate in the middle of the kitchen floor (for swishing the dirty water down after washing the floor) popped open and a half dead rat crawled out and started towards my mother who screamed and my father appeared brandishing a broom. Possibly the only time in his life he's actually held one!
The original rat had come in after the tortoise who had been safely asleep in her box. Her feet had been gnawed on by the rat but she was still alive. She became very vocal but refused to eat after the attack and died a few weeks later.


Ali said...

What a truly disturbing escapade.

Aunty Evil said...

The tortoise died? That is so sad!

But it was a very funny story!!

meggie said...

Oh Velcro, you have put me on a downer.
Glad the rat got battered & beaten, but felt so sorry for poor Jip. I guess I would moan if my feet got nibbled too.
Er...did Jip sleep in a box under your mother's bed? Or had the rat dragged her under, by the foot?
Sorry to be so nosey. I am the one who always asks awkward questions in class- or Avon demos.

Anonymous said...

Poor old Jip, another reason to hate rats (I won't say the other reasons as people might be eating whilst reading).

Male tortoises seem to think my feet are irresistible, see http://thoughts-du-jour.blogspot.com/2006/06/animal-magnetism.html

Anonymous said...

It hasn't come up right on the cut and paste, add -magnetism to the end of that link.

Fairlie said...

Very, very disturbing!

The 'Tale of the Rat and the Tortoise' sure puts the hare and the tortoise story in the pale!

caramaena said...

poor Jip. Rats freak me out and I just can't imagine how people keep them as pets.

Liz said...

Oh. I might never sleep well again... every noise might be a rat under the bed!

Isabelle said...

I shall never feel quite the same about sitting on the toilet.

Don't tell us that this is an Edinburgh-based story?

velcro said...

Meggie - no, Jip lived in a box in my parents' bedroom (I think she was getting ready to hibernate otherwise she would have been in the livingroom) and I suspect the rat had been disturbed, possibly by my father's snoring, and had run under the bed for protection.

MrsT my tortoise who have just peed on you. I don't think she even bit anyone.

Caramaena, I hate rats too. Just the sight of them makes me feel physically sick and shaky

Isabelle, no, set in the Middle East. The only live rat I ever saw in Edinburgh was sitting in the doorway of a takeaway in Toll Cross

Caro said...

Poor turtle.

Stomper Girl said...

Oh your poor turtle. And your poor mother when the half-dead rat came at her. I would have been up a chair faster than lightning! I'm not good with rodents.