A particularly chubby rat that got itself stuck in a sewer manhole over the weekend pretty much serves as a metaphor for how this year has gone thus far.
“At 2.35pm, the Auerbach volunteer fire brigade was alerted to a technical assistance assignment,” said the fire brigade in a Facebook post. “In a backyard, there was a rat stuck in one of the holes of a manhole cover.”
A troop of volunteer firefighters responded to the Sunday afternoon small animal rescue. A video captured at the scene details the nine-person rescue team lifting the manhole, rolling it to its side, and eventually plucking the plump rodent out of the hole in what emergency service rescuers called a “gentle liberation.”
The rat was released back into the sewer, prompting pushback from some commentators who say its release goes against local agendas to exterminate the rodents.
But animal rescuer Michael Sehr reportedly told local media that if you come across a distressed rat in your neighborhood, there's nothing wrong with rescuing the rodent.
“Even animals that are hated by may people deserve respect,” he said. Fair enough, even the most musophobic among us have to admit that the rat is pretty darn cute, even with her insufferable expression of pure helplessness.
Anyone who has ever lived in a city can attest to the fact that rats are nimble, wily little creatures. They’re also super smart, clever, and capable of squeezing their cylinder-shaped bodies through quarter-sized holes. Normally if they get stuck, as was the case with our little lady, they can gnaw a hole until it’s big enough to squeeze through. Of course, gnawing through steel is pretty much impossible.
"She had a lot of winter flab and was stuck fast at her hip – there was no going forward or back," said Sehr.
And if you come across a rat in your own neighborhood backyard, safety experts warn to leave it alone and take measures to rat-proof your residence. Rats carry more human diseases than any other life form on Earth, with the exception of mosquitos. According to the Humane Society, more than 15,000 rat bites are reported annually in the US, which can contribute to the spread of salmonella, leptospirosis, and the bubonic and pneumonic plagues – to name a few.
Best to leave those rescues to the professionals.
[H/T: BBC News]