I had not planned to clean out my closet. Deadlines were approaching. I had papers to write, workshops to plan, reviews to do, and lectures to give. I was not prepared for the latest invasion into my time and space.

In February 2019, rats made their way into the crawl space under our Tampa home, into our air conditioning ducts, and up the walls into my study. They entered through a gaping hole in the drywall in my closet, allowing them to scurry in and out, hiding during the day and foraging through the night. While I slept, they took over my study, depositing rat poop behind bookcases, in crates of files, and along the walls, using their whiskers to navigate their search for food and water. They treated my closet as their home base, building...

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