Last night I went into the kitchen. As I turned on the light a big bandicoot came out from under a counter and appeared to be charging at me. Though it might have been trying to get out of sight. But still. I uttered a kind of groaning sound and ran, or walked very fast, back through the dining room and into the drawing room where R was doing Sudoku. I said dramatically, "There's a big bandicoot in the kitchen!" He looked up briefly, said, "Go call Mary," and went back to the puzzle.

I went out back to Mary's room and apologetically woke her up. She got up enthusiastically, though, and grabbed a mopstick, hoping for a chance to bash the rat. We went inside together, I strewed poison cakes around, she tapped everything with the stick, but nothing emerged. Mary went back to bed and I returned to R.

He looked up again and said, "What happened?" I told him, and he said, "So, did it hiss at you?" "What??" "The little chuchunders don't hiss, but the big ones, if you turn on them they'll open their mouths." I said, "I didn't turn on it, I ran in the other direction." He gave a condescending laugh: ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. So I did the same to him: ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.

In the night I dreamed that the Mongol hordes had come and were rampaging around upstairs, while we cowered in a small room. I had a bunch of very knobby, odd-looking jewelry, which I concealed about my person -- not a good idea, probably, with hordes of any kind. Eventually they left.

In the morning I came downstairs. A pipe that had been blocked was now wide open -- the bandicoot had discovered it somehow, and chewed through the blocking material, and escaped. I stood with Mary and Lakshmi, pondering over the giant droppings, sharing details of the exciting story, and wondering how the thing had gotten into the house in the first place.

Here endeth the wildlife story of the day.


Dave Bonta said...

Cool story. Wasn't there a popular video game a while back called "Crash Bandicoot"? Ah, yes! Here.
The word sounds like a pormanteau of "bandit" and "coot," but Wikipedia says it's from the Tamil pandi-kokku, "pig-rat."

Nancy said...

Oh, I didn't know it had a Tamil origin -- appropriate for my bandicoot, in Tamil Nadu

Joel said...

You need a cat.

Or are we talking raccoon sized?

In which case you need to hire an exterminator.

Nancy said...

Smaller than a raccoon! But our feral cats are skinny and no match for a big rat. I hope it ate enough poison before escaping - and we've put out several rat traps as well. Yick!

Joel said...

You need a lynx then.

Ravi said...

Actually pandi-kokku is a Telugu word. Pandi in Telugu means pig, Tamil word for pig is panni.

Nancy said...

Thanks, Ravi.

@Joel. a lynx. great. replace my small predators with larger ones. Thanks!

Ed Baker said...

story last night on CNN about huge rats in Florida Keys and now in Manhattan..

could your bandicoots have swum across?

the real big "Rats" are the two-legged kind here in D.C. they have been identified as 'Politicians'

Nancy said...


George Ninan said...

chuchunder is the musk shrew, an insectivore - and i suspect vinayagar's vahanam. shrews are not rats.

the bandicoot is not found in our country. an insectivore, found in australia, new guinea.

the india bandicoot rat is aggressive, and even cats keep away from a large peruchazhi.

Nancy said...

Hi, thanks for adding to my rodent-knowledge. I'll look into the chuchunder at more length now.