Three or four times a year, for decades, Earthplace sent a truck to Charles River Laboratory in Kingston, New York.

They’d load it with frozen rats, mice, gerbils and guinea pigs. Back in Westport, volunteers would bag thousands of them, then pack them in 3 large freezers.

For the next few months, the dead animals were meals for Earthplace’s raptors and reptiles.

Dinner for an owl …

The food was free — excess from the research lab.

The last pickup was January 10. That’s when Charles River stopped donating their excess rodents.

Which means Earthplace must now find a new source of animals to feed its animals. At 75 cents a mouse and $2 per rat, that’s tens of thousands of dollars a year.

… and an eagle.

The Westport natural history museum, nature center and wildlife sanctuary already pays for chicks and quail from another supplier. (Hey, snakes like a varied diet too). And Stew Leonard’s donates salmon (!) for eagles, crows and vultures.

But, says Becky Newman — Earthplace’s director of nature programs — sourcing new rodents is tough.

So is paying for them.

If you know of a good source for rats, mice, gerbils and/or guinea pigs (be serious, please!), or can help fund them, please contact Becky (203-557-4563; b.newman@earthplace.org).

One of 3 freezers filled with dinners.

If you’re a grocery store that can donate outdated or unsalable (freezer burn, etc.) meat, Becky would love to hear from you too.

NOTE: Earthplace cannot accept rodents trapped in your house (they may contain poisons).

And — because I know my “06880” readers — no roadkill either. Sorry!

(Hat tip: Matthew Mandell)

15 responses to “Rats!

  1. the meal is a feast for trump

    • so you are suggesting Trump is like the majestic eagle then?

      • the eagle can soar,ie, over walls. My vision of Trump is more of a serpent. Please do not insult the eagle. You hurt his feelings

      • No, The eagle can soar over walls.. The eagle has great vision. The eagle is intelligent,strong,and of great physical capabilities. Please do not insult our eagle friends. I view Trump more as a serpent without a spine and is a low life form full of toxic venom.

        • Mary Cookman Schmerker SHS '58

          This is not what Dan is looking for but I can’t help my self. Eagles also mate for life.

    • Yes indeed, Eagles and other raptors feasting on liberal democrats. Seems like they have a never ending supply so am puzzled why Earthplace needs more.
      Slimy, uncalled for, comment Fogel……….has zip to do with the subject at hand, but I guess you just can’t help yourself.

  2. Bonnie Bradley

    Wonderful photos & story, Dan. All our birds are under terrific pressure due to the changes in climate, decrease in the number of insects, fish for the raptors, etc., etc. They need our help, from humming birds to eagles.
    I’m sending a contribution to Earthplace to support their important work.

  3. Thank you Bonnie. We greatly appreciate your support.

  4. Ya gotta feel real sadness for someone who spews negativity at such an early hour. And dumps it on us totally unrelated to the subject under discussion. And it seems, perhaps has cut off further intelligent responses.
    Sad ☠️

  5. Rebecca Ellsley

    I wish they liked coyote we could let them fly freely around Westport and pick up a few dozen.

  6. If you are interested in waterfowl (ducks) and birds of prey, check out Livingstone Ripley Waterfowl Conservatory (LRWC), 55 Duck Pond Road in Litchfield (about 1.5 hours from here). My niece and her husband, Drew, work there. They are closed for the winter but have a talk this Saturday at 1:30 pm on “The History of Falconry.” Drew, who is an apprentice falconer, is going to do a demonstration with the hawk he is training. Make reservations on the website. Last week’s talk and tour was “Ducks in Love.” 😉