Matt and I spent today snaking cable through the crawl-space under my house. (And I'm very grateful he was there, the second pair of hands really made it possible). We were running cat5e from one of the back bedrooms to the garage. There were a few challenges involved. First, "crawl-space" is a bit of a misnomer. It's more of a "Belly-Slither-Over-Gravel-Space." There's just enough room (in places) to roll over, but that's about it. Next, the shortest path between the two points in question is blocked by quite a bit of ducting. The only real path involves going backwards to the back wall of the foundation, over a tighter spot, down to the far end of the foundation, and then head toward the garage.
It was only after I rounded that final corner that I saw the drain from the kitchen sink bisecting the crawl-space and cutting me off from further progress. In order to get past it I'd have to work halfway back toward the entrance (in the office), and that would make the cable snake all over the place, instead of being a relatively straight shot. Fortunately, Matt suggested I stay where I was, and he managed to use my cable snake to reach me from an external vent that opened right next to the wall of the garage.
As he was trying to get it to me, I turned on the Maglite I'd carried with me, and came face-to-face with a dead, desciated RAT! It was no more than 6 inches from my face, and it's death mask was particularly gruesome. The cable snake kept getting caught on the rough, gravel floor, giving me plenty of time to admire it. Instead, I tried to make out what the snake was catching on, but from my perspective I wasn't able to see it. Instead, what caught my eye was a LARGE pile of snails' shells.
Just as visions of our crawl-space being a rat feeding and breeding ground started to coalesce in the back of my mind, I caught a bit of movement out of the corner of my eye. I came very close to freaking out, feeling trapped under the house with no quick avenue for escape. I shined my light over there and it caught the glow of two eyes looking at me. Too big to be beady, rat eyes. But not too big to be a raccoon, or some other animal. And that DID freak me out. But just as I was about to bolt the body behind the eyes resolved itself as it came toward me.
Horus. We'd been fairly careful keeping the office door closed so he couldn't get in and explore the crawl space, but somehow he'd managed to sneak in anyway. He was intently pawing and nosing (and probably chewing) on something just out of my field of vision. He eventually relented after some loud yelling and banging on my part (I didn't want him to catch something by chewing on a rat.)
He came toward me, but was smart enough to stay out of arm's reach. After trying to grab him a few times, it occured to me that if I did manage to wrestle him, there wasn't anything I could do, I couldn't push him in front of me toward the exit. So I left him to romp. And as he wandered off, he tripped over the cable snake that Matt was having real trouble dislodging, and popped it loose.
I was still under the house when Matt noticed Horus in the yard. Apparently he wormed his way out through the grate Jonah and I had taken off to run the coaxial cable up to the dish on the roof. I wish I'd been able to take a picture. He had a thick halo of cobwebs strung from his wiskers, up to his ear, across to his other ear and down to his wiskers, and he was determined to keep it. Any time either one of us got near him he backed away and ran.
Later in the day, we realized we left every door from the garage to the office (and the crawl-space) open, and horus was nowhere to be found. I ran around the house inside & out a couple times and couldn't find him. I specifically checked under the kitchen table, but apparently I didn't check on the back corner chair, because after I freaked out over him being loose under the house or outside, I found him asleep on that chair. It had been enough excitement for him for one day.
At the end of the day, I had a strand of cat5e run between the office and garage, a string connected to it to pull more cable, and a cat who was thoroughly proud of himself.