Sunday, July 18, 2010

Rat Killing Week

Rat Killing Week

No it isn’t a week to hunt your favorite blogger down and kill him, although I am sure a number of people would like too. Back in the 1930’s and 1940’s each town would have a week in which they hunted rats. Rats were much more prevalent then, as they are now, and like trash week in Delmar, a combined civic-minded town effort would be made, usually in March or April, to kill these rodents. Remember, this was a time when residents kept chickens, and various livestock in their backyards. Feed for the animals was available for the rats. There was also a town dump just on the outskirts of town. An article in the Bi State News announcing that Rat week was to be March 21 to March 26, 1938 in Hurlock is shown above. I am sure I have an article about Delmar Rat week but I can’t seem to find it.

In the first couple of months after I was elected to the Delmar Delaware Town Council in 1984, we had a rat breakout in a ditch over by Hearns Flower shop (on the Maryland side of Town). In a joint Council Meeting the Commissioners and Council people were talking about various ways to get rid of the rats. One suggestion was to send the Delmar Police Force over with shotguns and pistols and shoot the rats. Does everyone have images of the glass greenhouse at Hearns Flower Shop being shot all to hell? Another suggestion (seriously) was to find a World War II flamethrower and go in and burn them out. When I heard this suggestion I know I had found a home in Delmar government. As I recall we resolved the problem in a less dramatic fashion and had an exterminator set traps for them. On occasion you can still see a rat running down the gutters in Delmar today but they are rare.

Back in the 1960s when I was dating my wife and I lived in Pocomoke. The dating practice was to go to the Pocomoke Town dump and shoot rats at night. Your date held the flashlight on their shiny little eyes and you shot. If you killed a hundred in one night it didn't put the slightest dent in the rat population. Ah yes! Date life on the Eastern Shore.

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