My stepson was trying to squeeze in one last fishing trip before returning to college this past weekend, so he drove to a flat in northern Beaufort County to search for tailing redfish. After a few hours and a few reds, he was walking back to his truck when he was stopped by a high-pitched squeal coming from the grass around him.
It was this baby marsh rat, which we think must have been flushed out of its nest by high tides or the recent rains.
These are pretty interesting creatures. When full grown, they're much cuter than most rats and look more like gerbils to me.
I'm not sure how long this young'un was separated from it's mamma. It emitted periodically emitted long squeaks -- thus, we named him "Squeaky" -- that were about the same frequency as a dentist's drill in your ear and only slightly more pleasant.
I wish I had happier news to report about Squeaky. My wife fell in love with the little critter and was determined to nurse him back to health, feeding him every two hours with a small paintbrush dipped in Pedialyte. Unfortunately, he was just too dehydrated and likely had been separated from his mother too long.
R.I.P., little fella.