Photograph showing the untimely fate which befell a too inquisitive rat


From Strand, July 1908

I send you a photograph showing the untimely fate which befell a too inquisitive rat. It had managed to force its way into an ostrich egg, but then found that getting out was quite another matter, and so perished in the miserable manner shown in the following picture, which was sent to me by Mr. William Fisher, Mahalapye, B. Bechuanaland. – Miss G. Gardiner, 78, Guilford Street, W.C.
An Egg as a Rat-Trap


  1. There’s a lesson here somewhere… some kind of parable that undoubtedly should have some kind of Tea Party subtext.

    But I’m damned if I’m gonna be That Guy today.

    1. How about:

      “Sometimes you spend your all your energy working for something, and when you finally get it, you choke on it like a lung full of albumen. And the Tea Party are a bunch of twats.”

    2. Perhaps something like “be careful when attempting to steal other’s nest eggs?” oh… wait.. thats not what you meant?

  2. One summer we were at Grandma’s house where she’d moved in with her second husband. She’d never been much for pets. She didn’t so much dislike them as just ignored them. Growing up poor she never had the luxury of raising animals solely for companionship.

    But she did a lot of things with her new husband she had never tolerated with Grandpa: let him smoke in the house; indulged his nightcaps; and fed a couple of dogs that hung around the house. She didn’t seem to mind all the farm cats either.

    There was a tall tree on the southern side of their driveway with a knothole at least forty feet up. We pulled down the gravel one day and noticed almost immediately that there was something stuck in the hole. It was an old orange tomcat, hanging by its neck, dead.

    “Grandma, why didn’t you get that cat out of the hole?” we asked, a little taken aback. Grandma wasn’t exactly a cruel, hardbitten woman, despite growing up in the Depression.

    “I didn’t have a ladder,” she explained without taking a break from picking off biscuits from dough, rubbing them in grease, and squeezing them into an old tin pan black and scaly from age.

    “You should have called somebody!” We were pretty upset.

    “I thought about it,” she said. “After the third day his screaming was getting pretty annoying.”

  3. I saw a rat meet a similar end a couple of years ago, he was caught in a link of a chain link fence in downtown Detroit.

  4. Our telescope has a mouse that suffered a similar fate – it was walking inside the antenna control rack when it found the 480V power terminals. It’s still there years later, mummified, sitting behind a clear Lexan safety shield.

    We leave it there as a warning to others.

  5. I like the letter, it’s the last century’s version of an e-mail that would go something like “Dude, check this pic out, this rat got into an ostrich egg and couldn’t get out! It’s epic!”

    1. I know, right?

      “I enclose for your amusement a plate print of a feline specimen displayed in a quite candid pose not dissimilar to that of a constable in fierce pursuit. It will most instantly cause you to ejaculate a hearty guffaw, nay, laugh out loud while rolling upon the floor!”

  6. Ok, I’m admitting to not seeing clearly but what the heck…

    When I first looked at this picture, what I saw was a mantis-like insect crawling out of the hole in the egg.

    Try that on your imagination for size, and see if your vision works with it.

  7. Middle of night, rat gets hopelessly tangled in a blackberry bush. Won’t stop squealing. Punched him to death with a 3/4″ dowel. Took a while.

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