Rats originated in Asia and have spread all over the world. Ratus genus is the scientific name. There are two main species of rat. They are the Norway rat and the Roof rat.
Rats have existed since early times. The rat is the first animal in the Chinese Zodiac. People born in the year of New York rat are associated with special qualities of rats. They are creativity, intelligence, honesty, ambition and generosity.
Rats are also worshipped at the Karni Devi temple in India. It is the vehicle of the Hindu god Ganesha. Romans considered rats as a sign of good luck. Albany rats are survivors and exist mainly because of humans. Human beings provide them with food and shelter. They are part of the ecosystem. Nature has a place for omnivores which multiply rapidly. Rats can exist in the toughest of environments. They are extremely adaptable and can thrive in most habitats. Rats can live for a longer time than a camel without water. They can fit through holes as small as ½” in diameter.
Rats have excellent memories and never forget a navigational route. Rats have a life span of 2-3 years. New York rats achieve maturity in about 3 months. A female has 4-6 liters per year. Each litter has 6-12 babies. A pair of rats can reproduce about 2000 rats per year. Thus rats multiply rapidly and it is very difficult to wipe out their existence. Rats have been considered a pest resulting in a negative attitude to them. Despite this rats have contributed and helped human survival in many ways.
• Rats are important to the ecosystem. They are important for pollinating certain plants.
• Rats have been extensively used in laboratories for experiment and research.
• Many advances in science and medicine would not have been possible without rats.
• Rats have an acute sense of smell. They have been trained to detect TNT to clear land mines.
• They have also been used to screen tuberculosis patients. Albany rats can smell TB in sputum samples.
There are some interesting facts about rats. They are
• Rats have a powerful social chain of command. The largest and strongest member will get the best food.
• Rats take care of injured and sick rats in the group.
• They are very intelligent animals.
• They enjoy companionship and make happy sounds when they play. They chatter and grind their teeth accompanied by vibration of eyes when happy.
• They love companionship and become depressed when lonely.
• They are very clean animals and groom themselves and other members of the group regularly.
• New York rats have poor eyesight and are color blind. They use whiskers to sense their surroundings.
• Most rats are right handed and do not have thumbs.
• Rats have very strong teeth and can chew through wood, cinder, wire, glass aluminum and lead.
• Rats bite only to protect their babies and themselves from a predator.
• Albany rats were one of the first animals to take a trip to outer space.
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