The Story of the NattyRats

natty grey rat


Once upon a time, rats moved into my front yard.

I don’t know where they came from. I don’t know what they came for. But they came.

It started with just a handful. I didn’t give them much thought at first, as they seemed harmless and they mostly kept to themselves.

Then one fall evening my neighbor called me. Her mother had looked out her window and saw a “fireball” on my lawn.

So I went out to investigate. I was expecting a Halloween prank. But as I got closer, I found the rats huddled around a small campfire heating up some food and warming their little rat paws.

I thought, “How adorable”, so I let them be and I went back inside and called the neighbor to say it was all good.

(The Rats Get Natty)

The rats stuck around and I realized they would probably be staying for the winter. It was already getting cold. Food must have been scarce, and I could see the rats getting thin. One brutally cold day, I put some tiny pumpkins outside for the rats to eat.

The rats were delighted to have a meal, and they invited some friends over to celebrate the bounty. They all dressed up for the occasion and together they gave thanks for the meal.


I’ll admit, at this point, the idea of having rats living in my front yard had begun to grow on me. And my neighbors weren’t complaining. Christmas was the next day, so I made the rats a hearth for their fire and I left out a small bed for the young ones.

That night, the young ones were snuggled all warm in their bed, when some of the older rats began to celebrate. A couple wrapped themselves in garland and made Christmas ornaments into hats. As they danced late into the night, they looked like sugar plums!

And lo and behold, Santa Rat and a rat reindeer visited the rat camp and stuffed the children’s stockings full of toys.


The New Year brought a blast of cold weather, but the rats seemed to flourish, unfazed by the snow and ice. Those crazy rats found an old Christmas decoration that was a sled, and they rode it whizzing all around my front yard, going faster and faster with each turn.

In fact, they had so much fun, they decided they would host a sled race, and call it “The Iditarat.”

And that’s where Brutus met Stella.

(How Brutus Met Stella)

Brutus was a big, handsome rat, and he appeared to be the leader of the rat pack. He was certainly the largest by far. He rode that sled like a wild man, and rats came from far away to see the race. Brutus won the race, and caught the eye of Stella.

Stella was the most glamorous rat Brutus had ever seen. Her beauty was stunning, her personality sparkled. She wore pretty clothes and polish on her claws.

After the race, Brutus asked Stella to go on a date. And they fell in love.


Brutus and Stella were inseparable. And they were the de facto King and Queen of the yard rat social society. Everyone said what a good pair they made. Even the neighbors agreed.

On Valentine’s Day, Brutus popped the question, and asked Stella to marry him. Stella said yes.

(How Stella Got Her Groove Back)

Stella wasn’t ready to get married right away. She has studied rastro-physics and she was working for the Rats Aeronautical Space Administration, RASA. She and her partner, Squeaky, were about to be deployed into space for a mission, and Stella knew that duty called.

Stella and Squeaky became the first rats in history to use jet packs. Their teamwork was able to prove, once and for all, that the moon really WAS made of green cheese. And, they were astonished to find little weird green rats living there!


When Stella returned to Earth, she could finally focus on her wedding. Her bridesmaids made fascinator hats, like the British Royal Rats wear, made out of flowers and feathers they found in the woods. Stella made herself a sparkly wedding dress and veil from ribbons she found in the garbage. Because, after all, she’s a rat and rats like garbage. 

She was a stunning bride. The young rats, Lucy and Elvis, were her pages, and carried her veil.

And the neighbors came out and brought wine and cheese as wedding gifts.

It was the most beautiful June day, and even the preacher rat cried tears of joy for the newlyweds.


Stella and Brutus wanted to get away for a honeymoon, but, because they were rats, their travel options were limited. I offered them a ride to a secluded pool in the suburbs.

 Stella was an excellent swimmer. Brutus preferred to ride around on an alligator float and drink Margaratas. Brutus had too much to drink and he got a little sloppy.

 Rats don’t tolerate alcohol well. But they really like it.


Back at the townhouse, the number of rats had grown exponentially. Six became 12 became 24 became 60. And Squeaky was pregnant! She announced she was due in August, and she was expecting 16.

We had happy times that summer. I put out a tray of water for the rats to cool off, and gave them little cocktail umbrellas for shade.

The rats spent their days playing in the pool, and the neighbors didn’t mind at all.


In August, the rats became bored and restless. I figured maybe the neighbors could use a break, so I invited them to come on a beach trip with me. So we took a drive down to the ocean.

 Oh what fun the rats had at the beach! They played in the water and dug in the sand. They marauded human sand castles and ran amok in the trash can. Because rats really do love garbage.

 And, back at the townhouse, Squeaky had her babies on Labor Day!

Natty 3 rats flipped


As much as the rats enjoyed living comfortably in the suburbs, they liked the beach even more. They didn’t want to leave. They decided the pirat life would be more fun, and rats are all about having fun. They could eat pizza and cherry pie all the time, and drink rum under the moonlight.

They said good bye, took their booty, and swam out to a Portuguese ship. And I realized I’d probably seen the last of the funny rats, who had become my friends. And I was sad.


It was Halloween, and I hadn’t seen the rats in more than a month. Then, that night, I drove home from work thinking about how much I missed them, and I pulled up to my house. And there they were, and they had set up the most wonderful decorations, and scary rat scenarios, and they were wearing outrageous costumes!

 It was the most amazing Halloween ever!

And from that day on, the rats come back and celebrate every holiday.

And the neighbors really like it.

natty grey rat
Pilgrim rats

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