146. Super Rats!

After the World War II, USA tested its nuclear weapons in the island of Engebi, in the western Pacific. Plants, animals, birds and fish were either destroyed or damaged by the intense radiations but the rats there had lived on “fit as a fiddle” and seemed to have acquired longer life spans!

Rats have an unparalleled capacity to survive and thrive. They are tough and talented in the art of surviving. They can squeeze through a hole less than half-an-inch in diameter; can climb up vertical surfaces; burrow through the soil and swim up to a mile against strong currents.

They can jump a height of three feet (equivalent to an adult man jumping a height of 36 feet) and drop from a height of 45 feet–without any fatal consequences (equivalent to a man dropping from a height of 540 feet without any fatality).

They can kill a prey double their size and gnaw through live electric wires without getting electrocuted. In addition to all these, they are extremely intelligent. Legends about their intelligence are abundant.

In 1348, rats brought Plague to Europe from the ports of Black Sea. The epidemic plague named as “Black death” raged for three years and killed 25 million people–25% of the Europe’s population at that time. Over the net few years, the number of deaths more than doubled.

Even now rats continue to spread deadly diseases like Typhus, Trichinosis, Lassa fever and Salmonella. They wreck enormous damage to property and cause fires by gnawing through live electric wires. In country side they feast on crops, chicken, duck, geese and even young lambs and pigs.

Rats are man’s worst enemy. No matter how we eliminate the rats, they are always replaced by the next generation. A single pair of rats can produce as many as 15,000 descendants in a single year!

The only good thing about rats is that they are valuable in testing new drugs and in medical research. Docile in captivity, rats need very little space and would eat almost anything!

Visalakshi Ramani


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