Tristan da Cunha
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The Tristan Times - Tristan da Cunha
The online newspaper of Tristan da Cunha
  Issue No. 640 Online Edition Saturday 6 February 2016 
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Submitted by Tristan Times (Sarah Glass) 27.05.2005 (Current Article)

Ratting Day on Tristan Da Cunha came early this year, and the whole community participated in a giant rat catching operation.



By Sarah Glass (Tristan Times)


Ratting Day on Tristan Da Cunha came early this year, and the whole community participated in a giant rat catching operation.


Much to the disappointment of the rats and mice. Ratting Day this year was held on Friday the 13th May. This is a major event in the Tristan Calendar and this year was no exception. Although it was overcast, it was fine at first light, but by late that morning it started to pour down with rain. The Acting Agriculture Officer signalled the day by the striking of the dong, an empty gas cylinder hanging in the centre of the village. As soon as the dong was heard men and boys set off out west with there dogs and mousetraps to hunt. The women followed on later that morning with liquids and solid refreshments to revive flagging spirits. Some team members returned home for a change of dry clothes before returning to hunt.


Seven teams took part in the hunt for which there were a number of prizes, the most tails per man, the second most tails per man, the third most tails per man, the longest tails and off course the booby prize.


All tails had to be handed in at the Agriculture Officers clinic to be counted before 6.00pm. The count was carried out by the Acting Agriculture Officer, the Medical Officer and the Chief Islander. The Administrator was referee. Much good-humoured mockery was heard about the alleged age of some of the tails. There were even some scandalous suggestions that certain of the tails would have been more at home in the Pyramids alongside the Mummies. Naturally such allegations were not treated as serious protests, because everybody swore all the tails were from rats and mice caught on that day. Some were just a little dry from being left in the sun too long (even though it rained for most of the day)


After the count it was home to clean up for the evenings dance at the Prince Philip Hall to end an enjoyable day. The prizes were presented by the Administrator at the dance.


Most Tails

1st Red Body Hill (27.8 per person)

2nd Below The Hill (23.8 per person)

3rd Twitty Patch (22.75 per person)


Longest Tails

1st Red Body Hill (26.1cm)

2nd Twitty Patch (26cm)


Total tails caught that day was 609.


The booby prize won the Coolest Gang was a disposable nappy and a hat that had to be worn by one of the team members for the duration of the dance night.


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