Halloween is but a few weeks away. But that doesn’t mean that tales of the absurd and twisted should wait until the night of ghouls and groans. It is time to endure some rat-tastic tales of beady eyes and scaly tails that will be sure to leave your skin crawling at the mere sound of rats gnawing in the night, disturbing your sleep as the rats creep…
We’ve compiled 5 seriously strange rat facts for you to share with your friends.
1. Redefining Family
Rats are the largest single group of mammals in the animal kingdom. A good deal of that is the result of their frenzied breeding. It is not uncommon for a mother rat to copulate with her son or for siblings to do the deed. People with pet rats should take precautions and separate the males from the females from the mother soon after weaning to prevent more mating.
Mother rats will cannibalize their young in certain instances. It is believed that mother rats feed on their weaker offspring to conserve the additional energy that would be required to care for them.
2. Rats On The Menu
Rats are known vectors of such diseases like typhus, salmonellosis, trichinosis and rat-bite fever, to name a few. But in certain Asian countries, rat is practically a staple of regular diets. Street vendors in Thailand sell roasted and uncooked rat to passersby on the street.
Vietnamese and Cambodian tourists can enjoy barbecued rat, which is reported to have a slightly stringier consistency than chicken. It is also reported that chefs only cook rats captured in the wild rather than the dirtier urban variety which are more likely to be disease-laden vectors.
3. Pantry Invaders
It is estimated that rats nibble and gnaw away at one-fifth of global food supply annually, making them significant contributors to famine, as well as $19 billion in damaged goods.
According to Nancy Troyano, PhD entomologist at Ehrlich, “rats anatomy allows them to wriggle into spaces as small as a quarter.” Since rats get into food so often, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration actually allows a set amount of rat droppings in commercial food products.
4. Horrifically Huge
Scientists stumbled upon a new giant rat species while conducting research in Papua, New Guinea in 2007. Unlike the skittish rats commonly found in urban areas, the Mallomys rat repeatedly approached the scientists camp during their stay.
This would be akin to a possum ambling up to you, as the Mallomys rat can grow to approximately six pounds, roughly five times larger than the average city rat.
5. Worshipping Rats
At the Karni Mata Temple in Deshoke, India, rats are revered. The temple, built in the early 20th century, was named after the Hindu rat goddess, Karni Mata. At least 20,000 rats reside in the temple. Devout worshippers of the rats visit the temple in the hope of receiving the rodents’ blessings.
Some signs of good fortune are eating food nibbled on by a temple rat, having a rat run across one’s feet and seeing a rare white rat.
Keeping your Home Rat-Free
Be sure to seal around those windows, doors and holes in your floors. Otherwise, this Halloween season rats may enter your home by the scores. You may fidget and shudder at the mere thought of things that scratch and squeal in the night.
What was that scratching and tapping in the attic you ask? Wait…do not panic just assume the preventative task. Take precautions right now and spare yourself the fright of these creepy things that crawl in the night.
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I am a Professional Writing major at Penn State University (Berks Campus). I will graduate in May 2014. I have finally decided to pursue my lifelong love of writing via a career change. I am a fulltime college student, fulltime father of two wonderful boys- 8 years and 5 months- and an avid reader of noir fiction, historical fiction and enjoy the occasional biography. I am also a freelance writer enjoying my summer internship with Rentokil (Ehrlich) in Reading, Pennsylvania as a marketing intern primarily writing for the blog sites for Rentokil and Ambius as well as content for the Rentokil (Ehrlich) website. I freelance for The Reading Eagle newspaper (Berks County, Pa) and I write for the Home Builders Association's award winning bi-monthly magazine, 'At Home In Berks'.
A few of my hobbies are writing, watching and playing soccer with my 8 year-old son, watching my 8 year-old son play soccer, reading, watching old films (Kurosawa, Melville, Dasin, Wim Wenders, etc.), cooking and weekend jaunts to New York City.