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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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Tristan : Friday, 12 May - A Bad One for Rats
Submitted by Tristan Times (Sarah Glass) 17.05.2006 (Current Article)

Tristan's rat population has decreased by 1,105.

Photo (c) James Glass - A collie - helped by humans - sniffs out a next of rats.



Ratting Day - Friday 12th May 2006

Yes it is this time of year again, when the Tristanians were to get their pay back on the rats and mice which had done damage to their vegetables, and cause them to make everything rat proof.

Ratting Day this year was due to be held on Thursday the 11th May, however due to bad weather and lots of rain, it was held the following day on Friday the 12th May.

This is an important day in the calendar for Tristan as it's a day when groups come together to hunt rats and have a meal together, not to mention the many bottles and cans of 5% fruit juice that was consumed throughout the day.  Although it was overcast first thing in the morning, there was no wind and the sun beamed out later in the day, which was a blessing for all, especially the children, who also had all their gadgets on how to catch a mouse.  The Acting Agriculture Officer signalled the day by the striking of the dong, an empty gas cylinder hanging in the center of the village, just daylight.  From then on lights started coming on in the houses, vehicles started up to take the teams hunting around the patches with mousetraps, dogs were barking, signaling the day had began.

The men hunting in the fields surrounding the patches followed with their dogs. The women as usual followed later with refreshments to encourage their teams on, and to prepare lunch and catch up with friends at the various camping huts around the patches.

Nine teams took part in the hunt for which there were the following prizes;

Most Tails
Second Most Tails
Third most Tails
Longest Tail
Second Longest Tail
Booby Prize

Nine teams took part, the most tails per man were won by the "Twitty Patch Gang", second most tails per man, "Below The Hill Gang" and the third most tails per man, "Bills Hill Gang" the longest tail "Bills Hill Gang" the second longest tail "Twitty Patch Gang" and off course the booby prize awarded to "Old Pieces Gang" (ladies tights and what have you not!!).

All tails were handed in at the Agriculture Officers clinic to be counted, and this was carried out be the Acting Agriculture Officer the Medical Officer and the Anglican padre, with the Acting Administrator as referee.  Much good-humored mockery, and some disrespectful remarks were made insisting that cheating had taken place, when some heard that they had not won, but then someone insisted that the Padre would certainly not lie!!

After the count it was home to brush up for the evenings dance at the Prince Philip Hall to end an enjoyable day, and being Saturday and not a working day the next day, made it all the sweeter.  The Acting Administrator, the Medical Officer and the Acting Agriculture Officer were at the dance to presented the prizes.

Total tails caught 1,105, with the longest tail being 257mm.


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