Archive for June 11th, 2010

Rats on the Rampage

June 11, 2010


They Invade a Farmer’s Premises and Make a Great Fight.

The village of President, an old-time petroleum center, is in the Oil creek of Pennsylvania. There is where the Karnses, once a famous family of oil operators, had their home, and some of them live there and thereabout yet. One of these is Henry Karns.

The other day, early in the morning, he heard his pig, which had reached the proper condition for killing, squealing in such an agonizing way in the pen that he knew something was wrong with it. Karns’ first thought was bear, for now and then, even at this late date, bears venture from the distant woods to the sleepy towns in that part of the valley and try their skill on pigs and sheep. So Karns took his gun and hurried to the pig pen. But instead of bears rats were the impudent invaders of the pig pen and hungry assailants of the pig.

The stye was simply alive with rats. The pig was prostrate on the floor of the pen, and literally covered with this horde of rats, which were squealing, fighting among themselves for vantage ground on the fat porker, and gnashing and gnawing at the pig’s flesh, from his head to his rump. To fire his gun into the swarming rats would be the endangering of the pig, and thinking that a prompt and vigorous attack on the rats would put them to flight, he clubbed his gun and began mauling left and right with it.

The pig had plainly made a desperate fight against its assailants, for scores of rats lay dead about the pen. The moment Karns pitched into the rats those in the outer ranks turned on him. They came at him in such force that he was unable to fight them off, and after a brief attempt to hold his ground he turned and fled. Hastening back to the house he drew the buckshot from his gun and loaded it with fine shot. Returning to the pen, he gave the great body of rats, shooting along the side of the pig so as not to injure it, the charge of both barrels. Many of them were swept down before it, but their places were quickly taken by others. Karns fired five times. The rats that were left still held their ground.

The shots had attracted the attention of the neighbors, who ran to the place to see what was going on. this arrival of reinforcements alarmed the rats, and the survivors retreated, scampering away in all directions. The pig was dead. The flesh had been stripped from it clear to the bone in many places. Its eyes had been plucked out, and its heart half eaten in two. A half-bushel basketful of dead rats were taken from the pen. Where he rodents came from so suddenly in such great numbers is not known. None of them has been seen since.

The Evening Democrat (Warren, Pennsylvania) Jan 8, 1895