Beach Rats & Mourning Doves

Beach rat

Beach rat

I spent most of the morning under the awning or inside surfing and cleaning the trailer trying to  hide from the sun.  I didn’t want my bad sunburn to get any worse.

Another view of the beach rat

Another view of the beach rat

By afternoon I couldn’t stand the inactivity any longer, so took off on the trail toward the Fort.  That part of the island is a lot prettier than the nature walk area, I think.  Also, I didn’t want to leave without seeing the beach on the Bay side.

I was underwhelmed with the Bay after seeing the spectacular turquoise Gulf.  There was a big oil slick (at least I think that’s what it was) that made the water look dirty.  So I didn’t stay there long.

Pensacola Bay from the picnic area

Pensacola Bay from the picnic area

On the trail I met a guy who was just finishing up a hike of the entire Florida Trail.  I was thrilled at his accomplishment, but I can’t say I didn’t feel a twinge of envy.  🙂

When I got back from my walk, I settled down in the shade and started working a crossword.  I looked up and saw two mourning doves strolling through our campsite.  After I had gotten several photos, I glimpsed something dark out of the corner of my eye.   When I turned to look,  I saw FOUR rat-like creatures just a few feet behind my chair.  I was too curious to be afraid.

Mourning dove

Mourning dove

Three of the rats disappeared into the underbrush, but one busied himself eating leaves a few feet from my chair.  Then the doves ambled over toward the same area.   They got within two or three feet of the rat, totally ignoring him… and the rat ignored them right back.

I wasn’t sure if they were really rats or not, so I showed a couple walking past our site the header photo and asked them if they knew what it was.  The guy said, “I think it’s a rat.”  Other campers had told us that since the rain the other day the rats had come out in force.  So Ron walked over to the camp host’s site and asked him what they were.

Another dove photo

Another dove photo

He said, “They’re beach rats.  They won’t bother you if you don’t bother them.  But if you mess with them, they will bite.”

The armadillos are so brave, they will venture within a few feet of Sheba, and only run away when she starts barking at them.  None of the animals here show any fear at all.

I ended up cooking chicken tenders this evening.  Sorry, Wayne… we’ll have to catch Jo Patties next time!

Pair of doves

Pair of doves

We leave tomorrow for parts unknown.  Friday is a bad time to leave without reservations, but we’re not sure how far we’ll feel like going, so we’ll find someplace to stay.  If all else fails, there is always Walmart.  🙂

Rat and doves together

Rat and doves together

One of the ever-present armadillos rooting for food

One of the ever-present armadillos rooting for food



  1. I was sorry that we went all the way thru TX without seeing an Armadillo. Maybe next year…your beach rat photo was great. You’re braver than I am.

    • Judy, just remember that armadillos can carry leprosy. I get nervous when they get so close to Sheba. But the little beach rats were just so cute I couldn’t be afraid of them!

      Now if I saw one in my house or trailer, I would probably jump up on top of the dining table in terror!

  2. Camilla

     /  April 25, 2013

    That’s an awful cute little rat!

    • Isn’t it, Camilla? I couldn’t believe it was really a rat when I saw that adorable little face!

  3. I love it that your heading for parts unknown. What a great way to travel, hope you find some fun things.

    • Thanks, Jo. We’re headed toward home now, but are going to take our time getting there!

  4. Chicken tenders are good too!!,
    That pic of the rat is a great one, looks like he is saying Oooo I got caught!!

    • He does look surprised, doesn’t he? But I was using the zoom, so maybe he was checking out the doves! 🙂

  5. You think you were looking at Willard :O) On to new views of open country and more beauty captured by you…I’m ready!

    • I can’t WAIT to read about your travels.. It is going to be so much fun to follow you. Your blog will make mine look BORING by comparison! 😀

  6. MarciaGB

     /  April 26, 2013

    We saw those cute little rats at Tomoka SP in Ormond Beach. They were unafraid of us and our dog Tanya. She didn’t even bat an eye at them!

    • I never understood how anyone could want a rat for a pet, but after seeing that cute little face, I understand a little better. The only thing that bothered me about the ones at Ft. Pickens was that they did crawl through the dumpsters so were probably pretty germy!

      I was really amazed at the total lack of fear in any of the animals there. They didn’t beg for food or get obnoxious like they do some places. But they just minded their own business no matter who or what was around.

  7. Oops! I think I just fell out of love with that camp ground. Rats terrify me more than snakes.

    • Actually, I am VERY glad we went, but I doubt we will go there again.

      I stayed stressed while I was there, and I’m not sure why. It wasn’t the animals. It was probably the dog restrictions and the thought in the back of my mind that if a sudden storm blew up, it would take a LONG time in very heavy traffic to get to the mainland.

  8. I guess we missed the rats……it’s OK, though.

    Hope you had a pleasant travel day!

    • Lynne, one guy that camps there frequently told me that the population has exploded lately. He said you never used to see them like you do now.

      It was a long travel day for us, but I am vegged out at West Point Lake and am so relaxed here I feel like a limp rag. It’s a wonderful feeling! 🙂

  9. Never saw a beach rat in our few times there. Sorry to read about your sunburn. It’s an easy thing to do this time of year, especially near the water.

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