An Odd Encounter

I am reminded that life is tough and unforgiving in the urban landscape of wild animals. Today, while talking on the phone to my sister, I came upon a larger rodent stumbling along the alley separating Louisiana and Mississippi streets in my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights. Rat? Something else? Please, tell me.

The creature was nearby cross-street Meade, and I wondered if it had been struck by a turning car or perhaps even poisoned. The rodent fell over every few steps and once on its back after tripping over a leaf. I chatted with Nan using my Poly Voyager 5200 Wireless Headset purchased in late December last year. That freed up my hands and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra for several shots.

The Featured Image is the first of five taken (you will see four). Vitals: f/4.9, ISO 50, 1/180 sec, 230mm (film equivalent); 2:14 p.m. PST. The second shows the rodent’s first encounter with a crow. Two others waited above and behind. Vitals are the same but 1/125 sec, one-minute later.

In the next, the bird makes an aggressive stance, and I was convinced the rat would become quick carrion. Vitals are the same as the second shot.

The last of the set shows what I could not have anticipated: For all its stumbling-over-walking, the rodent resiliently jumped to the ledge, and the crow followed. Vitals are the same as the previous two but 1/140 sec.

I failed to document what occurred next. The rat took refuge under a plant, seemingly safe from pursuit. But its long tail stuck out, and the crow momentarily grabbed hold and started to pull up its prey. But the rat escaped to cover, and all three crows flew away.