With the advent of summer I’ve found myself out of the hovel a lot recently, especially in the twilight hours after the heat of the day has passed. June has seen the arrival of lightning bugs in the suburban and rural parts of Ratlanta, and I’ve enjoyed this because my beady-red rat eyes can actually see them in the nighttime (we rats have a poor sense of vision and rely mostly on smell) and they make a lovely sight. Alas, however, the time has come to say pawdios to these sparkling little gems and welcome another crepuscular insect, the mosquito. Er, perhaps “welcome” isn’t the right term; there’s nothing we welcome about them. And forget about calling them “crepuscular” (which means that they’re active at dawn and dusk) – they’re downright creepuscular if you ask me.
Just like with you humans, mosquitoes see rodent blood as a superior source of sustenance. And just like with y’all, when they bite they give us quite an unsqueakable itch. They’re almost worse than fleas – and fleas are fleadiculous, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs (see Flea Market, Margarataville, and Rat Recovery). Unlike you humans, however, we don’t have the option of putting anti-itch medicine on our bug bites; it just doesn’t penetrate our fur. Instead we have to suffer through the itch and content ourselves to scratching for what seems the longest time. Not rat-tastic at all.
Squeaking of time, it would be fabulous if I could do a flying leap (a.k.a. fleap) ahead to a day when lab rats find a cure for the itch, or better yet, a pesticide for the pests. (Not against us, mind you … how could you ever think rats are pests? The clawdacity!) Then we’d be able to scuttle around in the twilight enjoying the fireflies (not to be confused with fire-fleas – they’re worse than mosquitoes) to our ratty hearts’ content. We could also go on multiple cheese forages without fear of the dreaded itch that will leave us scratching for hours and then grooming our fur for several hours more to make ourselves presentable. Sadly, however, lab rats have yet to build such a ratical contraption, so we can’t fast-forward or paws and rewind.
So until the day when science creates that elusive time machine (or at least some rodent-friendly DEET and hydrocortisone cream) we’ll be scratching through the summer nights right along with you, and looking forward to the fall when all the little buggers say “pawdios” themselves. In the meantime, be sure to stay close to your flea-swatter; so will we.
Keepin’ it squeak,