Rats, an Overview
Rats are to some a horrifying creature, that are commonly known for carrying disease, destruction and infestation. Now I’m not talking about the little pet mice or small domestic rats that you buy in the pet stores. I’m talking about wild animals that are normally found within a cities sewage systems and water ways. They have been known to infest places of business such as restaurants and supermarkets and the alley ways of bigger cities are usually riddled with them.
Rats have actually been known to survive being flushed down the toilet, sometimes returning right back through the toilet in which they were flushed. They have been responsible for destroying over $19 billion dollars worth of stored grains each year in the United States. It is believed that 4 million years ago, there were rats the size of bulls. But today most rats are normally a little over a pound in weight and the higher-ranking rats usually live closer to the food source. This is why you will usually see the larger rats feeding or gathering food when you run across them. If food supplies are short in demand, the Mother rats have even been known to consume their young.
Some rats have been known to carry a venomous bite, such as the shrew. During the Middle Ages, the black rats of European cities were believed to carry a micro-organism called Yersinia pestis. This is believed to be the source of the Black Death that plagued that time. Yersinia pestis was carried by the tropical rat flea that infested these black rats.
During the nineteenth century, rat baiting was a popular sport in England. In 1862, A thirteen pound bull terrier set the record of killing 100 rats in five minutes and twenty eight seconds.
The Karni Mata Temple in Deshnoke, India, it’s deemed a great blessing to have a rat run across your feet. Better yet, if you can taste food or water that has also been tasted by a rat, that is even a bigger blessing. There are currently 20,000+ rats living in the temple and are protected and regularly fed. If one gets killed, then who ever killed it is expected to buy a gold or silver rat to replace it. As you can tell, rats are highly thought of at this temple.
- Domestic rats are calmer and less likely to bite humans.
- They can tolerate greater crowding.
- Domestic rats will breed earlier and produce more offspring.
- The brains, livers, kidneys and hearts are found to be smaller in domestic rats.
- They may be taught to perform select behaviors or tasks.
Some More General Facts about Rats
- Rats must constantly gnaw things to wear down their teeth, which grow up to five and a half inches each year.
- Rats have no fur on their tails because they do not sweat.
- Rats cool off by expanding or contracting the blood vessels in their tails.
- In some cultures, rats have become an acceptable form of food to certain social or economic classes.
- Over the years rats have been used in many different experiments leading to advances in genetics, diseases and effects of drugs.
I know some of you out there probably have incorporated rats into your lifestyle as a pet, or possibly as a food source depending on where you’re at. But in my experience rats have become an overwhelming problem in the United States and have done billions of dollars in damage. I’m sure there is also a large percentage of sickness that has been brought about from the animals. I hope I don’t offend anyone when I say the only way you’ll find one of these nasty dwellers in my home is if it’s in a trap. But everyone is entitled to their opinion right?