I think this is how you get cursed.

Did you read yesterday’s post about lawn gerbils?  If not, go read that and then come back.  We’ll wait.

Okay, so I’m pretty sure someone is fucking with me but Victor and Hailey are both out of town and no one else here has thumbs (except Ferris Mewler who was born with too many fingers but only uses them to turn on sinks and walk away like an asshole).

So, I got a live trap yesterday and baited it with peanut butter to catch whatever it was I saw and the trap has gone off twice and some of the peanut butter is gone but there’s nothing in the trap so I was like, my lawn gerbils are also ghosts, obviously.  But then people on twitter were like, “The rat probably got out because rats can squeeze through crazy tiny holes and here’s your new phobia” so I went online to order another trap but I reset the old one because why not, but then I just went to check it and it was still open and unsprung BUT THERE WAS SOMETHING IN IT.  Not an alive something.

A small, shiny star.  Inside the trap.

And I wanted to get it out because why is it even there and how did someone put it there without setting off the trap but also I didn’t want to touch it because what if the rats left it and wiped hantavirus all over it to pay me back for trying to evict them?  So I went to look for gloves but all I could find were opera gloves from an old halloween costume, so I’m basically dressed up super fancy to put my hand in a rat trap that has now possibly been hacked to catch me.  And it’s some sort of plastic, shiny star (with a hole in back like it should be on a bracelet) and I got one single, unfocused photo of it before it slipped out of my fingers and dropped into the succulent bushes that the rats were hiding in.  So I’m using a stick to try to move the plants to find the star and the whole time I’m thinking, “What if this was their plan all along?  What if they drag me down to their lair and this is where all the missing people and socks go?” but I couldn’t find the star or the ghost rats and it’s really hot so I gave up.

So now I’m wondering if it was the lawn gerbils paying me for the free peanut butter?  Or is it fairies?  And if so, is that a threat?  And since I just threw it in the bushes rather than keeping it have I insulted them again?  Or was it a message from the rats like, “Gold star for effort, idiot.  Except, you suck at this so here’s a silver star instead.”  Can rats be sarcastic?

I don’t even have an ending for this.  I’m so confused.

I realize this is an awful photo but in my defense, it’s hard to take a good picture when you’re wearing slippery opera gloves and holding the bait that fairies might be using to curse you.




251 thoughts on “I think this is how you get cursed.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I’m dying here! I think you need to set up a little trail camera and catch the perp in action. Of course they probably read your blog, so now they are going to know what’s up if they actually read the comments. Curses!

  2. i set off a mousetrap myself today – when I was dusting. The swiffer must have been attracted to the peanut butter. But that mousetrap has been there a year. Has it been that long since I dusted?

  3. I did see your post yesterday about the Lawn Gerbils. Ewww! They are messing with you man! Stealing your peanut butter and leaving you stuff?!!

  4. (I am not “anonymous”. I don’t know why it says that.)

    Your lawn gerbils are birds leaving you gifts of thanks for the peanut butter. Also, if there are lawn gerbils, they probably DID get trapped but the birds let them out. Birds are super smart. But also super grateful: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31604026 😀

  5. Crows and ravens have been known to bring presents to the humans that feed them. Maybe it’s a gesture of respect to their queen.

  6. Just a small gift from the rat-people. Obviously they love you and are now meeting in your yard. Lucky girl. 😉

  7. I agree with Elexina! I think you’ve got a corvid of some sort giving you a gift for your peanut butter.

  8. Regardless of whether you were wearing opera gloves or not, I find it very brave of you to put your hand inside a trap where there could have totally been ghost gerbils still residing. Bravo!

  9. I am not even sure what to say to all this!!! I also have a rat/possum eluding me in my backyard that is driving my dogs crazy. Now I am thinking though, perhaps I too have ghosts. Except I have actually seen both the possum and the rat and at this point, I would rather have fairies or ghosts because they won’t tear up Christmas decorations in my shed or eat through the plastic on the fertilizer bags…..or will they???

  10. Every time I read your posts I’m like this is freakin hilarious and this can’t POSSIBLY be someone’s actual life, but I think it actually is and then I feel bad for you, (but also a little happy for all of us) and then I read it again like…no…really???

    Every. Single. Time.

  11. You have pack rats. They love to collect shiny things and hoard them in their nest like tiny dragons. She was probably on her way to add to her stash when she decided to check out your trap and had to leave it behind. Rats can squeeze through any hole their head can fit through (like all rodents).

  12. Oh my god! Remember that news story about the little girl who befriended crows by feeding them and then they started bringing her all the shiny as a thank you for being their friend?? This is what is happening! You have rat friends! Like Sara Crewe in A Little Princess! Awwwww. Friends <3 <:3( )~~~~~~~~

  13. One time the squirrels brought me a Christmas cactus (a fairly large one) and a plastic bucket. I think it was to make up for digging up my pansies. Next time, I’ll put on some opera gloves and Instagram everything, because it’s more fun that way.

  14. Obviously you interrupted a lawngerbil fancy date. It’s good you wore the gloves because you are the hosetss.

  15. They may be packrats and they dropped some of their loot when they smelled the peanut butter.

  16. The Rats of NIMH have left you a tribute for feeding them. All hail Nicodemus!

  17. Do you have a fairy circle of mushrooms in your yard? Because they might’ve been partying and someone got a little too loose & left a pasty in your trap. OR maybe a falling star just happened to bounce off your roof and fall in the trap.
    But probably it was a “silver star for effort” from the ratpack. Now go wash your fancy gloves.

  18. This is comedy gold. Or silver I guess, since the star is silver. I wish to believe you were being paid for the peanut butter by highly intelligent ghost lawn gerbils. Who are not offended that you returned their payment.

  19. rats do like to collect small shiny things, so perhaps it IS a thank you for the peanut butter. I would take it as a GOOD sign. Are you sure you don’t have lawn possums?

  20. “…have I insulted them again?” Again? How did you insult the fairies the first time?

    (I think fairies are insulted by out existence. But also, if they think I’m trying to trap them with peanut butter in a cage that’s probably not good either. ~ Jenny)

  21. Those live traps completely lack bouncers. There’s no one at the entrance to say “Hey, this ID saying you’re a lawn gerbil is totally forged. I can tell you’re a crow.” …..or a squirrel, mouse, bobcat, or other thing that likes peanut butter.

    Keep trying. And make sure your trap is the right size, totally call the place back and say “are your sure this is for lawn gerbils? And is there a model that comes with a wildlife bouncer? I think the wrong element is getting into my traps.” I’m sure they get that kind of thing all the time.

  22. If you have a security camera, maybe you can put the trap where the camera will “see” it. This is freaking me out and I don’t live anywhere near Texas.
    meow meow meow!!!

  23. I can’t even begin to express the absolute love and adoration I am feeling for everything about this. And look at your fancy self…it’s like whoever/whatever left that star KNEW you would be handling it with satin gloves. 👻🐭⭐️

  24. So…. How do you feel about becoming Queen of the Mole People? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure the lawn gerbils are emissaries from their king.

  25. Don’t crows collect shiny things? Maybe a crow caught one of your rats and is paying you for it

  26. This reminds me of the old 1960s film Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark where this couple moves into a house & the little creatures carry her into the basement at the end of the movie. Very scary!

  27. IT IS A TRAP FOR YOU!! Trying to make you enter into a legally binding contract, under the guise of a quid pro quo.

    Do not sign ANYTHING that the lawn rats present you with, not without running it by your lawyer first.

  28. Don’t go back and re-read Graveyard Shift from Stephen King’s Night Shift collection.

  29. Do you have crows or anything like that? They might be smart enough to figure out to use something to set off the trap then eat the food through the wire? And they like shiny things. Maybe put the traps somewhere more hidden from birds, like under a bush?

    (I am not an animal expert, this might not be possible. But most of the individual sentences are true, so it could be possible).

  30. Dayum, girl!! Y’all got fancy lawn gerbils in Texas. I think they knew you were going to check the trap wearing fancy velvet dinner gloves and tried to dress for the occasion. Just before they slithered out and left behind their ‘jewels’. At least it wasn’t shitty ‘jewels’. insert side-eye here

  31. You should get an electric rat trap. Then who ever is fucking with you will get a little surprise next time they try something. Plus you can just throw a few nuts in it, plug it in and it’s ready to give the rats a shocking death.

  32. Next time, instead of gloves which won’t really protect you, use disposable chopsticks. In fact, every time you get takeaway Chinese steal extra chopsticks. They come in handy for all sorts of things. By the time you’re an expert you’ll be able to catch a rat or lawn gerbil in them.

  33. It looks like a very shiny star. I think it was in appreciation for the peanut butter. Maybe toss in a few crackers or celery. Maybe having to put peanut butter on the celery or crackers will slow them down so the trap actually captures them.

  34. What happened to using Cherry Starbursts as bait? That’s why you only got a silver star …

  35. Crows!! Crows are known to eat treats and leave gifts. There was a family in Washington state? They fed them peanuts and the crowd left oresents. So maybe it’s rat..but it could be those huge black birds!!

  36. I believe that by accepting their gift (even if you later threw it in the bushes) you are now anointed as their queen. So theoretically you have a rat army now that bow down to you and follow your commands. I’m pretty sure you can think of some way to make this work in your favor.

  37. If you catch your lawn gerbils in that live trap, make sure you take them about 5 or ten miles away to release them. Otherwise, they will beat you back to the house. When I was experiencing the mouse problems, I live-trapped about 35 and took them about a mile away to a field and let them go. One very cold night, I let a mouse go. It had a hurt/deformed paw. I cried and cried because I thought it might freeze to death in the cold and it had a bad paw. That damn mouse was back in the trap within a couple of days. I really, really didn’t want to kill any of them. Finally, I just had to draw some boundaries and say, “Look, if you come in the house – you are gonna die. Stay the fuck outside!”

  38. The only thing the rats around my yard have left are ‘pellets’ … and they weren’t even silver. Somehow, I feel unworthy now.

  39. You should have a live feed trail cam of your yard. I’d watch. Seriously, my brother has the same issue with raccoons and his bird feeder.

  40. I always liked “The Borrowers”, maybe this is from “The Lenders.”

  41. Maybe it’s a tiny Squirrel Sheriff star, and they want to deputize you for getting rid of the rats that are stealing all of their yard food. Squirrels are mad AF, but they know how to show their gratitude.

  42. Maybe the star is a thank you for the delicious peanut butter? My next move would be to bait it with Starbursts and wait. Maybe it’s not rats at all, but rather R.O.U.S’. Have you looked for a fire swamp near your house?

  43. I have no answers, but I do predict that the photo of the star, the opera glove and the small animal have-a-heart trap will win the Internet today.

  44. Perhaps the rats decided to leave an offering to the Peanut Butter God so the trap wouldn’t spring. If so, looks like it worked.

  45. It’s a button. I have some just like it, left over from my grandmother’s stash from probably the 80’s. Did I sneak down there in the night and leave you a present?

    I dunno. Maybe.

  46. Just found this online re: packrats
    As the name “packrat” implies, they have a tendency to pack away small objects such as jewelry, utensils, can tabs, and other items. A peculiar characteristic is that if they find something they want, they will drop what they are currently carrying and “trade” it for the new item. They are particularly fond of shiny objects. They can also be quite vocal and boisterous.

  47. Darn, star looked pretty. I recommend Dorothy. My poodle terrier nailed a rat baby the other day. It was on its last paw before scumming, now residing in the trash

    Sent from my iPhone


  48. You have packrats. They’re known to do this. “I have a shiny thing. I love this shiny thing. Oh! Food! I love food! I will trade this shiny thing for the food!” They pack off stuff they find but if they find something they want more, like food, they drop what they’re packing in favour of it. Also, the pest control person was wrong, if they’re packrats. Packrats CAN be relocated. If you move them far away from people, they won’t become somebody else’s problem because they don’t like to travel much. They’ll just set up a midden where they are.

  49. OMG I am dying.

    Personally, I think it was crows. Crows probably like peanut butter and it’s pretty well documented that if you feed them, they’ll bring you presents of all kinds. So maybe this was the first of many crow-gifts. 🙂

  50. I have a rat in my bathroom that gets dressed up for holidays. My Mom used to say the was “going to the rat” when she meant “going to the bathroom”, because she gets my sense of humor.

  51. I take back what I said yesterday- these are clearly the rats of NIMH. If the government wants to pull up your roses, politely decline.

  52. Crows like shiny, and will take and leave things. You need to set up a sting operation on the lawn gerbils

  53. Rats are notorious for outsmarting traps so that part doesn’t surprise me. But the star? Yeah, no idea.

    On a side note, if you haven’t already – watch Morgan Spurlock’s documentary “Rats”. They showed it last year around Halloween and it was both fascinating and creepy, as a lot of great things are. Of course, it might freak you out more so maybe save it till after your rodent friends are gone.

  54. Well, if you’re leaving peanut butter for fairies they would be insulted. I thought everyone knew that you leave them bread, honey, milk, and maybe wine or meade at the base of an old growth tree. (but don’t do that, fairy bargains are a bitch)

  55. A shiny star? In Texas? It sounds like the rats are telling you that there’s a new sheriff in town. This is war now. You must win.

  56. You know you live in a nice neighborhood when even the rats are super fancy.

  57. First of all, name those suckers. Then start feeding Hanta, Ebola and Bubonica. Buy special organic rat food, with supplements for good health and strong teeth. Provide the dollhouse and comfy rat beds. It is guaranteed that as soon as you spend a lot of money on them, they will disappear into thin air and never be seen again!

  58. You might have opposums (opposi ?). They kind of look like large rats.

  59. You might have opposums (opposi ?). They kind of look like large rats.

  60. I am pretty sure that opera gloves are the approved hand covering of the exterminator set. So good job. You’re in their secret club now.

  61. YOU FOUND THE RAT STAR OF DESTINY? OMG!!!!! Now you reign on the Shredded Paper Throne until the next Cheddar Moon, which is in March of 2047. Congratulations! All hail Queen Jenny!

  62. I think it is pack rats, they will leave you a present if you feed them. Maybe they especially like peanut butter?

  63. Dear sweet Lord, woman! You’re killing me with the LOLs here. I love ya’, Jenny, and I am all squiggly-nervous-ooky-shudders over your fairie rat community relations issues. DO keep us posted.

  64. You need to buy a couple of big rat traps, the spring kind that snap their necks. I’m sorry, but you gotta. Someone near us cut down all their trees and all of a sudden all the neighbors had gigantic roof rats. I had to put a rat trap in my bbq! True story. Was out side heard the snap and it was like my bbq was possessed. Took him awhile to shuffle off this mortal coil, then I had to dispose of the body. No fun. I no longer have that gas grill. It’s you or them missy and I’m on team Jenny.

  65. The lawn gerbils clearly think you are awesome. I’d keep that star.
    But I’d also wash it because you never know if they’ve cleaned their little paws recently.

  66. I keep thinking of the bird that collects all the ribbons in Secret of Nihm…maybe your ghost lawn gerbils or fairies or whatever just wanted to be prepared if they ever needed to defeat murderous scientific experimented rats too. You may have foiled their plot to rid themselves of evil! I think you should replace it with something else shiny in the peanut butter.
    Also, why is this whole line of conversation between us and you not at all strange. I have only been with you for close to a year and this all seems like a normal everyday conversation.

  67. Pack rats leave gifts sometimes. I’m sure there is a scientific name for them other than pack rats but seriously they will trade what they are carrying for something better.

  68. First it was a gift to say thanks for the food which is incredibly sweet and it was a pretty star. This just proves the lawn gerbils are nice because even when you were looking through the bush they didn’t pop out and scare you. I think you just made new friends and hopefully they’ll get the swans to leave you alone.

  69. I just-omg where does one start? My mind just went to fairies riding rats and putting the star in there but wait wait reel it in! Rats like shiny crap(stuff not dog poop) Jenny. They prob were carrying it around and got distracted by the pb bait. And they are tricky so don’t be surprised if you don’t get them at first. Try putting some fruit like apple slices on top of the peanut butter so they have to work at it more. Good luck you obviously are possibly dealing with some above average “we’ve-been-tricked-before-fuckers!” Nimh rats!!!!

  70. It looks like a star from the top of a Christmas tree. Does anyone know when lawn gerbils celebrate Christmas?

  71. Wait, how big are the wire spaces on that trap? Looks big, like 1″. For rats or smaller, you really need to be at close 1/4 inch spacing or they will get out. I can’t explain why they would have been carrying a star though lol

  72. Oh and no offense to the other members of the tribe, but please don’t believe all the ppl that are saying if it’s a pack rat you have no problems and they’re cute, etc. Packrats still chew through and ruin things, and don’t ask but my nephew got a pack rat in his room one time, and he surprised it and it growled and hissed at him and then jumped out the window like an evil villain. True story. So yeah, no on the packrats.

  73. OR is was in the rat/gerbil poop after eating a smidgen of the peanut butter

  74. You act like not everybody owns opera gloves. EVERYBODY does. Some of us have multiple pairs for if we ever go out into the world. Which we would never, ever do.

  75. I just wanted to say thank you for being you, I love reading about your adventures. It makes me feel better that these things happen to other people, too.

  76. Somewhere in Mouseville there is a hangry mousie who is pissed that part of her fabulous ensemble got left behind at dinner.

  77. Waiting with baited (hardy har har) breath to find out how this happened.

  78. Ach – you’ve fallen right into the sneaky bastards hands. They get a lonely princess to don her finery and lay peanut butter schmears all over her yard to mark her territory. They return her efforts with a magic star that DOES lead down a perilous whole filled with single socks, scissors, favorite lip gloss, guitar picks and of course – more stars. DON’T LOOK THEM IN THE EYE – or you shall be theirs….good luck!

  79. Maybe the universe feels bad that you’re having to deal with lawn gerbils, so it gave you a pretty star to make you feel better.

  80. I just laughed so hard that water came out my nose and then made me sneeze and fart at the same time, which made me laugh even harder, and I don’t think they’re going to let me in this doctor’s office ever again or at least not let me sit in the waiting area. 😂😂

  81. Trail cam! And post the photos. I HAVE TO KNOW what’s running around your backyard.

  82. Set up a camera, for real….which reminds me of the time my husband rigged up his phone as a motion sensitive camera that would then send photos to my phone of whatever critter was breaking into the hen house…classic Southern engineering….duct tape and extension cords and all manner of shit to get this phone up to the rafters above the chicken hatch. Then right at bedtime, PING…..so husband goes out in pajamas without his freaking contacts in with a rifle…oops, it got away (no shit? Could you even see it)…PING…off he goes a second time. This time he takes a shot, but misses (HUH? again no contacts?!?!)….He blames his miss on the lack of light. Hhhhmmm….PING! This time he goes out with a maglight duct taped to the barrel of the rifle, ’cause that will fix your vision problems. I still can’t get the image of him in his pajamas and muck boots and that damn flashlight lashed to the rifle….

  83. Perhaps your lawn gerbils are pack rats. They love shiny things and do like to make exchanges – like a nice shiny tin can lid for the wires in your car engine, fun things like that.

  84. If you see rats that look like Dean Martin and/or Sammy Davis Jr. and/or Frank Sinatra and/or Joey Bishop, it’s not pack rats you’ve got. It’s the Rat Pack.

  85. Wood Rats like shiny things – it may have traded you for the peanut butter.
    Collection Habits

    Woodrats are also called Packrats because they will collect various objects they encounter during their night forays. They are particularly attracted to shiny or bright objects. Thus, they collect pieces of glass, cans, mirrors, coins and jewelry.

    Woodrats are also called “traderats” because of the stories associated with them stealing keys, wedding rings and such at campsites. Evidently, the rats will drop whatever they are carrying at the time they encounter a new “attractive” object.

    In this manner, sticks have been traded for wedding rings and berries for car keys. It is important to note that this attraction to new objects is in sharp contrast to the fear of new objects of the Roof & Norway rats.

  86. After having read the Rats of NIMH, I’m guessing that was left by a blackbird as a thank you for the delicious peanut butter treat you were kind enough to leave outside in that sparkly shiny eye-catching device.

  87. As mentioned in yesterday’s comment, if y’all have packrats, go to yonder Dollar Store, get a couple mega-packs of Irish Spring Soap and put it around the outside of your house. Apparently, packrats do not like the scent of Irish Spring (maybe they don’t like the scent of leprechauns?) and they’ll leave. It seems to work for my Mom to keep the packrats out of her garage.

    But hey, maybe it’s the Attic Vampires leaving tribute for the blood they’re stealing? Makes as much sense as any other theory (and maybe attic vampires don’t transform into bats, maybe they transform into packrats…?)

  88. Meanwhile, Mrs. Groundhog kept trying to steal my barbeque cover and plastic table cloths by dragging them under the porch to line her nest. I finally gave up and let her have one. The next year, the ungrateful bitch moved out and let a blind skunk move in for the summer.

  89. Put up a wildlife camera. We have one, and so far it has shown us wolves, mountain lions, bears, raccoons and deer. I am totally serious. We live in the wilderness, so there’s lots of wild things around. Our camera has never shown rats, though, because they are too smart, maybe.
    Also, another helpful word of advice: you should start making cheese. I make cheese with my goat milk, and that’s the ONLY bait that works in our mouse traps. They don’t want no stinkin’ peanut butter, no, mam, they want fine artisan goat cheese. I think this is where your problem is.
    The gold star? Aliens. For sure.

  90. Also – are those shiny, sparkly, black evening gloves you are wearing to check the critter trap?

  91. Why has everyone been ignoring the obvious?!?!? It’s ZOMBIES!

  92. Maybe it’s a present for you for bringing them food like the crows that give the little girl who feeds them trinkets? In which case they might think you rejected the gift and now you should be worried. I hear rats are like the mob, at least wild rats. Not sure where my source of that info is either, but now it’s online so it must be true.

  93. I’m going to go with a crow, raven or mockingbird. They’re all super clever, and they’re all crazy about shiny things. And if your efforts against the rats are somehow helping them (or they just think you’re trapping rats to try to help them), all three species have totally been known to leave thank you gifts.

  94. http://www.nsrl.ttu.edu/tmot1/neotmicr.htm
    If you have wood rats vs icky Norway rats, they are WONDERFUL creatures! We had one named Flora when we lived in TX. She fell into a bucket in our barn and was pretty dehydrated when we found her. She absolutely loved my husband, but would run behind him a thump her hind foot at me if I would walk into the room. You probably COULD dress one up – the shiny star got me thinking.

  95. This was not, NOT, a lawn gerbil and it was not a rat. It was one of those evil garden gnomes that naive people put out in their yards. They are all over my neighborhood sneaking around from one place to another. You are in danger. Go inside. Lock your doors. Turn on every light in the house. And pray. Get rid of that trap. They are messin’ with you.

  96. You probably have a crazy fan stalker who follows you on every social media platform and knows he finally has you alone. At least that was MY first thought. You’ll have to forgive me due to the fact that I’m in law enforcement and witness way too much fuckery

  97. Only you, Jenny. Only you. Maybe the ceiling squirrels were lonely? The sparkly opera gloves are a nice touch, though.

    Nature is totally fucking with you.

  98. There are too many replies for me to read through all of this to see if someone has already suggested this and I’m in a really practical mood where I’m like, yes, this made me laugh until I peed but I need to solve your rat problem stat because I’ve lived through both a snake in the house, a billion spiders, and a rat. Electric traps. They work awesome and are sold at Home Depot.

  99. What might be happening is the rat is not (yet) heavy enough to depress the flap that trips the door. I have the same trap and watched small kittens go in and out without setting it off. What you can do is to set it so that the hook that holds up the door is just barely latched. It will take less weight to set the trap off. Good luck.

  100. The timing on this…we have suddenly been inundated with a family of rats in our yard. I’m freaking out.My husband has said his research suggest they are “tree rats”. I’m not sure how that is supposed to create a calming assurance for me, but it seems to make him less anxious…which makes me crazy stressed!
    Our invaders have pooped on my patio, taken up residency in the riding lawnmower and destroyed the dogs’ airtight food container. They have offered up no gifts or made any day attempts to repay us for the damages and/or housing. This has made the decision to evict much easier!
    He has seemingly reduced the population down to a handful. The marriage is still intact…for now.

  101. Bailey White wrote a wonderful short story about pack rats. You must seek it out! They do look like giant gerbils. I think this mystery is solved!

  102. Let me just say that with Victor and Hailey away, you are handling all of this much better than I.
    But now I’d have packed up my pets and driven to a hotel or a friend’s house or something.
    Carry on Rat Warrior Queen.

  103. THIS is why I don’t do drugs anymore! Who needs them when these sorts of shenanigans are going on? Man

  104. They are probably pack rats. They have super cute bodies and ears and faces but they have typical rat tails. PLUS, they LOVE shiny things and a super stealthy. They probably think your trap is a fort for them to collect their treasures and its hospitable since you provide snacks and such.

  105. I thought “tree rats” was a slang term for squirrels?
    I think there’s some special magic going on around you, Jenny. Embrace it. “You are my shiney star…………..”

  106. Probably pack rats. But could be fairies. When I find something pretty that I think a fairy may have lost or left as a gift, I always leave sonething for them in trade. Never piss off the fairies.

  107. The only answer here is trail camera. You must obtain one for a clandestine nighttime mission. Go to it and may the force be with you.

  108. I agree. It’s time for a camera. A Go Pro would be ideal, preferably strapped onto the lawn gerbil rat’s little forehead. Maybe if you just leave it in the cage it will strap it on itself?

  109. We had rats once. I have chickens, and they discovered there was lots to eat here. I tried trapping them. I tried poison. They built freaking colonies (Are there any suspicious mounds of dirt there? That is a rat village, not a hill of dirt)

    Then both of my dogs died. And one of the neighbors barn cats decided to have kittens here. They killed all of the rats as tribute I guess. Every last one (and there were lots) Which is how you get cats I guess? Now they bring me chipmunks. I don’t know from where, because I have never seen a chipmunk in the 20 plus years I have lived here. So now I have bonus cats, no rats and somewhere a chipmunk village is being decimated.

    Also is that a live trap? Pro tip, when you catch the rat and you pick up the trap, it will climb up the side. Do not freak out and drop the trap. Also you now own a trap with a live rat. Have you planned for what comes after this step? 😛

  110. My vet gives the cats a star sticker on their heads when they’ve been good patients sooooo….maayyyybeeee… they think you’ve been really good?

  111. I really don’t know what to think about all of this. It’s just way too fucking strange. But one thing is pretty clear. YOU SHOULD NEVER BE LEFT ALONE!

  112. So after the lawn gerbil post I did some research because I have noticed droppings on our porch and all of our neighbors have big dogs. So I was grossed out about the whole poop thing. Then I read they can get in and out of a hole the size of a quarter! So we now have a bait trap that went live. I hope your rats continue to at least worship you as their queen and bring you gifts, itbis the polite thing to do.

  113. Serious answer: Do y’all have packrats down there? They are wicked smart and love shiny stuff. Bailey White did an essay about them…it’s in “Sleeping at the Starlight Motel.” (Red the Rat Man) if you are unfamiliar with her work, I think you would enjoy it.

  114. We have mice and they are super good at stealing the peanut butter off of the traps. Nothing makes me more frustrated than traps with missing peanut butter but no mouse.

  115. i’m just wondering why it’s necessary to wear gloves to the opera…..are the seats sticky?

  116. Cant wait to see how the silver star mystery turns out…this is better than whats on television in Australia lately…

  117. Cant wait to see how the silver star mystery turns out…thsi is better than whats on television in Australia lately…

  118. I love the picture you took. The opera gloves make the appropriate statement for this mystery!

  119. This is EXACTLY why I throw The Viking at any infestations, be it ants or Alarm System salesmen. Lock your doors. Don’t come out until Victor comes home and then throw him out there to handle whatever the hell is living in your yard. That is one of the benefits of marriage, after all. Check the fine print. It’s in there somewhere.

  120. I am thinking you have “Borrowers” you know like in the book The Borrowers by Mary Norton? Arriety left you the star as a thanks for the peanut butter – since they can never get such big jars open. I am all for setting up a video camera to catch them in action.

  121. It’s totally faeries. That’s right up their alley. They may even be posing as lawn gerbils. But if they gave you something, YES, you should retrieve or they could get pissed off. And everyone knows you don’t piss off faeries. But I’m sure they totally appreciated the opera gloves. They also like whisky. But then you might have drunk lawn gerbils. Which could be fun?

  122. We live in NW Michigan and have been blessed with two separate piles of bear poo in the last month in our yard. Our two chihuahuas are of no help whatsoever. Their barking may be enough to annoy the hell out of your lawn gerbils though. If you come relocate our bears, we will let you borrow our darlings, but only for a quick visit as we love them immensely. Deal?

  123. After seeing the picture, why do I feel like it could be the marquee poster for a bad remake of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s?

  124. Apparently a relative of yours wrote a book re: rodents.
    Duff, A. and A. Lawson. 2004. Mammals of the World A Checklist. New Haven, Yale University Press.
    Maybe call them for advice?

  125. I think your neighbors are giving you a silver star to stick on your Good Girl Chart for trying to rid the neighborhood of rats…PS if you like rats with clothes, try Marty Mouse House . No they are not mice.

  126. Our lawn gerbil problem was brought under control by feral cats, but none of them have left us any Sparklies! Leave them some costume jewelry and set up a webcam, and we’ll help you keep watch for the Angry Lawn Fairies…

  127. When I thought you couldn’t top yesterday’s post… I was so very, very wrong.

    This sounds exactly like crow behavior. Here’s someone’s very cute and interesting podcast where I first learned about crows bringing gifts. http://www.thebittersweetlife.net/podcast/episode-51-crows/

    The fact that you were left something “valuable” and sparkly is yet another reason to think it was crows. Also that the gifter got the PB out without springing the trap.
    Crows are hella smart. That’s why they’re for real on my families’ coat of arms.

    -Weren’t you told to use Cherry candy? Apparently each kind of treat is going to attract a specific animal. Which sounds like the plot of a cute children’s book. Love the gloves.

  128. Are we absolutely sure Victor is truly out of town? This feels like Beyonce payback.

  129. Wouldn’t your City Animal Control have some sort of loaner traps? Someone commented that the size of the “squares” of the cage construction may be too large to capture your resident leprechauns.
    I feel sure they won’t need your Driver’s License to reserve a set of traps. They know who you are…

  130. Re Anon 171- I think you better find that star and act like you love it. Check out the podcast I linked to find out what long memories crows apparently have. Don’t get a grudge going among them towards you.

  131. We had a raccoon that outsmarted our trap once (looks similar to yours). We originally used PB, cheese and a little bacon because … who wouldn’t? Anyway, the little sucker was able to get the bait out without setting off the trap. Once my husband used a dog biscuit (of medium size) with some spray cheese on top, he wasn’t able to get it out so easily and FINALLY set off the trap. We actually witnessed the whole thing. Incredible. He licked off as much cheese as he could from moving the trap so that the bait was on the edge and easier to access. THEN he dragged it down a hill to try to get the dog biscuit out. THEN he finally went in (sloooooowly) and held up the freaking plate that’s supposed to trigger the door with one hand while grabbing at the biscuit with the other. The biscuit was just out of reach so he finally set it off by stepping on the plate. He seemed very displeased with himself. This didn’t appear to be his first rodeo. Amazing. I was impressed, but he’d already destroyed 3 of our bird feeders so he was no longer welcome. In the end, the key was having bait that was something hard that couldn’t be grabbed so easily nor pulled out through the sides. Good luck!!!

  132. The star goes on top of the tiny Christmas tree that they will leave you next time. The peanut butter is like the cookies and milk left out for Santa. BTW, Rat Christmas comes in July because rats are smarter than people and know that no way was Jesus born in December. Merry Small Mammal Christmas!

  133. I saw on planet earth two that certain exotic birds collect treasures to put into their nests to attract females. One bird had collected things like a fork and a little red furry heart and shiny bits and bobbles.

  134. Instead of leaving them food, you can leave them shiny stickers stuck on rocks, since pack rats are said to collect shiny things. That way you don’t attract other things with the food! Also, you’d mentioned helpful snakes. Maybe there are some benign garden snakes who eat rats that you can have as garden pets?

  135. Instead of leaving them food, you can leave them shiny stickers stuck on rocks, since pack rats are said to collect shiny things. That way you don’t attract other things with the food! Also, you’d mentioned helpful snakes. Maybe there are some benign garden snakes who eat rats that you can have as garden pets?

  136. I just LOVE the way your mind works. Lawn gerbils. Fairies leaving a cursed star for you. Have you ever thought of writing a children’s book? I think it would be fantastic.

  137. I find live traps to be annoying. Three years ago we had a racoon family in our walls, we bought one to catch the mother racoon and caught each of our neighbors cats. A year later when our newly adopted cat got outside, we put out the live trap to catch it and caught a possum. This year we had a family of raccoons in our walls again. We just let them grow up and move out on their own. I probably would have caught a giraffe if I tried again. Those are a pain to re-home.

  138. What the? You realise none of these things happen to anyone else Jenny. But what would your blog be filled with, without these amazingly weird adventures.

  139. You should never be left alone! Why would Victor & Hailey put you in a position to be possibly mocked (or kidnapped) by lawn gerbils, or, worse still, cursed by fairies?! Don’t they know that someone needs to be with you to protect you from just those sorts of evils???

    Kudos to you, though, for being so classy while possibly being tricked into handling hantavirus. Who said Opera Gloves have no place in modern society? 🙂 🙂 🙂

  140. Before our Murder Cat showed up, I had NO IDEA the number and size of mice/rats living outside. I didn’t even know that huge rats existed in the wild. I thought they all lived in sewers under large cities and ate pizza with turtles. I’m getting confused I think. Anyway, Madmartigan the Murder Cat brought me so many huge rats. He’s solved our massive snake problem all by himself. So. My advice is to lock your fancy self in the house and film SOMEONE ELSE getting rid of that rat. Don’t let that silver star sway you. That rat has got to go.

  141. Are you sure Victor is out of town? Or, living at the Holiday Inn Express and sneaking over to leave you little gifts. Can’t wait to see what’s next!

  142. Yes please record to find out! Probably is one of the animals that lobe Shiney objects or crow or raven like the one comment said. I can’t wait to follow this mystery. 🤓

  143. Bluesurly – that’s a great idea!!! Get a motion activated camera and see what’s going on!!

  144. Definitely Pack Rats, and as others have said, was carrying the star and dropped it to eat peanut butter.
    Now, here’s the thing: Pack Rats are not dangerous, and don’t carry Hanta Virus.

    BUT they WILL chew through the wiring in your car, which can end up costing a lot of money to fix. Trust me, I really know about this from experience.

    So, until you relocate the rats (and thank you so very much for not killing them just for being what they are), it would be best to garage all vehicles and leave a light on in the garage and leave the hoods up. If no garage, then hood up with a light left on next to engine all night. Hassle, but better than finding your wires chewed!

  145. I do not know where missing people go but I am pretty sure that dryer lint is entirely made of missing socks

  146. Girl – I am so glad you are in my life, even if it is only online 🙂
    I can not express how much I look forward to your posts everyday!
    I may even have to take up twitter because of you 😉

  147. Your lawn gerbils are Secret of Ninmh level smart. I think you’re in trouble.

  148. Pack rats…that’s what you have. Some little ghost pack rat lost her treasure.

  149. Clearly these lawn gerbils are not afraid of you and have even attempted to support you. They gave you a star for your efforts. Providing food and an uncomfortable shelter was so thoughtful of you. Now the ghost rats are another matter.

  150. For what it’s worth, we just received our mail-ordered a Have-a-Heart trap. Because the husband grew up on a farm, he tested the mechanism before putting it out. It doesn’t trigger until a 5-pound weight lands on it. He hasn’t decided yet if he’ll return it for a replacement or take tools to it to make it sensitive enough to catch the chipmunks. Z
    Our chipmunks do not weigh 5 pounds.

  151. After we found ourselves standing on adirondacks after breaking broom trying to direct a possum out of yard, which caused it to play possum behind our grill (still in the yard, obviously the exact opposite of what we wanted it to do), we turned to frecrackers. They worked for our possum problem… maybe they work for fairies, lawn gerbils, and rats too?

    Side note: It doesn’t work for raccoons. Not even when coupled with AC DC. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuyRRGHn8gE

  152. Answer: They are paying you. And mocking you. And now you have insulted them by not accepting their (possibly covered in hantavirus) gift. Woe unto you, girl.

  153. Your situation reminds me of my neighbor’s…He has a groundhog that he’s been trying to trap for months. It keeps digging under his barn, and cause general damage. So, he put out a trap night after night with some sort of bait, only to find in the morning, bait’s gone, but trap’s undisturbed. How are the darned groundhog’s getting away with this?
    For father’s day, his kids gave him a motion-detector, night vision camera! They set it up, and caught all the action!! Turns out, it was mice taking the bait, but they were too light to set off the trap. The groundhog was seen walking around the trap, but never went in. At least my neighbor is not being outsmarted by a groundhog (only mice!)
    So, maybe the lawn gerbils are not even responsible for leaving the silver star!!
    I love the gloves though. Better to over-dress for an occasion than to under-dress, I always say.

  154. This is my new favorite. All of this. I don’t ever want this to have a rational explanation

  155. This is obviously rat yelp. They’ve rated your peanut butter 1 star. Try putting it on banana and leave some cheerios as an appetizer. It’ll get you that 4 star rat rating.

  156. once there was a girl who fed ravens and in return they brought her shiny baubles and little trinkets. maybe the rats were rewarding you!

  157. You CRACK me up and make my work day so much betta – THANK YOU!!!!

  158. This is quite the story. And I thought I was losing it because not only do we have mice but then the cycle of flies that come after mice die in your house, and on top of that this summer is THE WORST EVER for ants. I am seriously losing my mind. But this made me feel so much better because at least they aren’t leaving me weird gifts and messing with my head. BTW, I bought your owner’s manual this week and I looooove it. I am definitely putting that on the Christmas shopping list this year. It’s a perfect gift. Plus sparkly, scented gel pens. Because you need those to go with the book.

  159. You’ve got Rat-Fairies. (Like Flower-Fairies, but more flea-bitten.) The star is to say they forgive you. There is a way to trap them, but the ritual needs a taxidermied stoat to work, and who has one of those these days?

  160. We had huge rats living in the attic of our old office building. One of the maintenance guys told me they were using CHOCOLATE to lure the rats, because that was their favorite food!

  161. My guess is that they are holding out for Cherry Starbursts…..just sayin’

  162. About packrats: A peculiar characteristic is that if they find something they want, they will drop what they are currently carrying, for example a piece of cactus, and “trade” it for the new item. They are particularly fond of shiny objects. These two traits have inspired an anecdote about a person finding their dime replaced by two nickels. They can also be quite vocal and boisterous.

    But what are you going to do with the live creature if you actually end up trapping one????

  163. What in the sweet, holy fuck is going on at your house?

    My cat Vala would be so enthused if some rodents tried to get in here. She used to be a champion field-mouse killer when we lived down the block from a vacant lot. Now she’s on the second floor of an apartment and she’s bored out of her mind.

  164. My nieces found a cute Potoroo in their yard. It looked stunned, with a little bit of blood on its nose, maybe hit by a car. They put it in an empty play pool and fed it carrots and grass. Even took videos of the three little girls petting and feeding it. They took it to the Vet who promptly put it down and said it was a RAT! Still gives me the skeevies. The Vet said native animals do not have tails longer than their bodies. Gooood to know (Australia)

  165. Definitely wood rats (aka pack rats). Your rat had found a shiny star, but decided that peanut butter was better, so it put down the star to eat the peanut butter. This page describes the behavior: https://www.desertusa.com/animals/packrats.html You should see if you can find the nest — they really do look like mini beaver dams on land (or in trees!) But don’t remove the nest, or the rats will come looking for a better place to live!

  166. Victor PetChaser plug-ins work!! No neighbor dog food in my rain boots or under the throw pilows in months! (Yes! VICTOR PETCHASERS!)

  167. Yeah we have chipmunks like that. Also think very carefully about live traps. I had to literally shake a rabbit out of one before I caught what was under my shed (And you have not known nasty until you are trying to deal with a skunk…).

    I have moles destroying my yard for some reason this year and I’m ready to cry. I don’t want to use poison since I have dogs, but the shovel through the moving earth idea makes me nauseated. So I just keep cursing at the damage (which will only get worse as I’m solo). So mad props to you for trying to get rid of your invading critters

  168. Don’t be silly Jenny, the opossums left that as a thank you for trying to off their enemy’s (the Rats of Nimh) don’t mess with the opossums, they don’t carry rabies and they eat roaches. Who doesn’t need a roach eating opossum in Texas?

  169. oh for heaven’s sake just get the star. Another may appear and pretty soon you’ll have enough for whatever they are to be. Im thinking, crows and ravens like shinies, maybe they left it in exchange for the peanut butter?
    Look at it this way. The gerbil is OUTSIDE. You are INSIDE. If you keep feeding him free peanut butter he will keep coming back for more, and maybe bring friends. It’s like when you feed that cute duck at the lake, and the next thing you know they have gathered ducks from three counties to come see what the nice lady is doing for us…

  170. If your cocktail forks and fancy spoons go missing, it’s definitely a fairy infestation. You must have seen them in your yard having a rodeo with their pet rats!

  171. #38: Obviously, since Jenny is one of the (presumptive) contract parties, the correct term would be “squid pro quo.”

    Jenny, you are the only thing in the universe keeping me sane right now. I just had repeat surgery on my shoulder b/c the first one failed. My body is not responding well, and my meds are all out of whack. I will spare you the gory bathroom details (although you might understand). But I cannot even drown my sorrows, since chocolate is making me sick, I’m allergic to alcohol, Facebook is malfunctioning, Netflix is down, ETC! Oh, and the plumber is here making elective changes, so we have no running water ATM.

    TL;DR: My life fucking sucks right now, and I thank God for your posts. Otherwise, I’d be positively mental. I applaud you with my remaining (mostly good) arm!

  172. Holy crap. (Third try, after typing “holy carp” and “holy cpap”.) Yeah, having rats sucks. Had the same problem last year, only they were stealing tomatoes OFF MY DECK. In broad daylight. Sheesh. I didn’t want to hurt them either, but they evaded the humane trap and absconded with the snap trap. (Don’t want to think about that too much.) Waiting to see of they have left the area permanently this year
    Good luck!

  173. Maybe they are smart rats that are stealing your electricity? #SecretofNimh

  174. The lawn gerbils are actually squirrels with shaved tails (think Brazilian for rodents). The star was probably bling from her lady garden. You were right to give it back – that shits expensive.

    I think the exterminator will be more helpful when you tell them you have vajazzled Brazilian squirrels.

  175. My grandfather’s way to bait a trap was to put peanut butter on a piece of salami (we’re Italian). The salami is pully, so when the mouse/rat/lawn gerbil yanks on it to get the peanut butter they spring the trap. With just peanut butter they can lick it and make a clean get away.

  176. Hmmm. Shared this with The Concubine, who thinks perhaps a raven visited your trap. They will trade things. Maybe the gerbils are going to start flying around on ravens. I would like to see that. Please post pictures.

  177. I somehow feel bad giving a logical explanation for this but here goes anyway: Some cats love peanut butter (my cat happens to be one of them (he has other deep seated emotional issues, but we’ll focus on the peanut butter for now)). It likely stuck it’s head in the trap thinking, “Free peanut butter? I’d be a fool not to!” and it snapped down. The cat pulled itself out, and in the process pulled off one of the ridiculous pieces of bling that it’s wanna-be housewife-of-orange-county bedazzled it’s collar with (or possibly a 14 year old girl, those two are interchangeable when it comes to motivation, as far as I can tell). So you probably did the cat a solid by freeing it of excess ornamentation. Silver lining?

  178. On the plus side I made my husband laugh.
    On the minus side, I misled you.
    Apparently it was a HALF pound before our trap set off — not five.
    WHO WRITES .5 POUND INSTEAD OF 1/2 POUND in a text!? My engineer husband, that’s who.

  179. it’s good that you didn’t keep the silver star. i’m pretty sure that when they fall they turn into princesses or fairy queens or something. the lawn gerbils or fairies put it there for you to find because you would intuitively know the right place for the transformation. if you had kept the star the transformation couldn’t happen. i’m not sure what it’ll turn into but whatever it becomes will be forever grateful to you and maybe grant you six wishes. the three wishes are automatic because you found the place to transform, the extra three are because you are just so awesome to the fairfolk. fairfolken? whichever.

  180. Yeah, I got the whole “They’ll eat your wires” argument when I suggested finding a way to cohabitate peacefully with the house mice. I mean, they’re house mice, not field mice, throwing them out into the forest seems a little too much like the Trail of Mouse Tears for my comfort. (I’m Choctaw, I have ancestors who actually managed to survive the real thing.) I just want to maybe establish a mouse safe zone where they don’t have to be in jeopardy and will actually come to see me when they’re not being chased and tortured by the housecats. Live mice feel like tiny bunnies when you touch their fur. I’ve already rescued two who were seemingly still healthy enough to survive outside, sadly only while the cats were busy with another that wasn’t that lucky. Maybe I’m a little too much of a bleeding heart? Because I also really feel bad for taking mice away from the cats who are only doing what their instincts demand.

  181. Echoing the idea that it is probably some type of corvid – crow, raven, grackle, etc. Corvids are crazy intelligent. They can recognize and distinguish human faces; they understand the passage of time and can plan for future uncertainty, they can solve problems and fashion tools; and I imagine they figured out how your trap works and how not to trip it…amazing birds. Some do hoard and reward with shiny objects. Enjoy your new clever bird friends! #TeamCorvid

  182. You go with ghosts, I’m pretty sure you’ve got magicians on your hands. The glittery star is all the evidence needed. Glitter = magic. Stars are probably some evil, magical thing. Plus, the opera gloves. WAIT! Are YOU the magician?


    There are a lot of layers to this one.

  183. I just wanted to say, amidst the myriad of comments you get, that I appreciate you. I have ulcerative colitis. I used to crap my pants all the time, everywhere, until I got my colon removed. Then, I pooped in a bag. Then, I got my small intestine re-shaped and hooked to my butt so I poop somewhat normally again, minus the organ that was trying to kill me. Rather than give up, even though I was exhausted and hurting, I wrote a comedic one-woman show called “Poops, I Did It Again.” It was so successful, I took it on the road. I learned that everyone is dealing with some kind of shit that they think they need to hide or be embarrassed of. Now, my show is not only therapy for me, but for others. In fact, my second show, “The Taming of the Poo,” opens this Saturday. It’s a collection of poop stories people gave me, totally true, that I turned into monologues and have actors performing, myself included. So sharing really does help. And you don’t have to give up what you love doing because you are sick. I am an actress and shitting my pants and having an entire organ removed never stopped me. I’m only 31, I have much to do. So keep on doing this thing. Laughter really is the best medicine. Xo, Brie

  184. Hmm… And why not using your imagination to find something positive ? #justasking

  185. I’m simply amused & applaudi that you are wearing opera gloves. ‘Nuf said.

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