Animals

30 Interesting Facts About Rats

Here are 30 interesting Rat facts.

1. Only about 12 rats per year enter Alberta, Canada and are quickly killed by provincial rat control specialists before they can breed. Alberta is the largest rat-free populated area in the world. – Source

2. Rats that were trained to press a lever for food stopped pressing the lever once they saw that it also caused another rat to receive an electric shock. – Source

3. Mongooses were introduced to Hawaii to control the invasive rat population. However, rats are nocturnal and mongooses are diurnal. Hawaii now has a problem with both. – Source

4. The naked mole rat is unable to feel pain, is the only known thermoconforming mammal, is resistant to cancer, and possesses extraordinary longevity for a rodent. – Source

5. Scientists have dosed naked mole rats with carcinogens and radiations, yet they have never been observed to develop cancer. They tolerate acid, live 6 times longer than other rodents, they hardly age, and they survive long periods of oxygen deprivation and can live in heavy metal polluted areas. – Source

6. Giant rats have been trained to sniff out 14,000 landmines and other unexploded arsenals. The rats, which undergo nine months training, are light enough to not trigger the explosives. They literally work for peanuts! – Source

7. Rats in New York carry numerous diseases, in a sample of 133 rats; scientists discovered 18 different viruses known to infect humans. In fact, scientists even discovered some viruses that were previously unknown to have existed. – Source

8. The blue dye in M&Ms has been found to reduce spinal injury in rats, with the unfortunate side effect of temporarily turning them blue. – Source

9. A man died while cleaning machinery with gasoline, which dripped onto a rat that was running across the floor. The rat’s gasoline-coated fur ignited when it ran beneath a heater with a pilot light, causing an explosion that killed the worker – a story of negligence now taught in law schools. – Source

10. There is a parasite which breeds inside the guts of a cat. Their offspring are deposited in droppings and can then be eaten by rats. The offspring then affect the rat’s behavior to make them less scared, and even sexually aroused, by cats, with the aim of returning to the cat guts. – Source

11. Medieval Pope Gregory IX considered cats to be the ‘incarnation of Satan’. Leading to a mass killing of cats, causing the rat population to swell, quickening the spread of the Black Death. – Source

12. African giant pouched rats are trained to detect tuberculosis, which is the world’s second most fatal infectious disease. Although they currently are not an accepted standalone diagnostic tool, one rat can evaluate more samples in 10 minutes than a lab technician can evaluate in 1 day. – Source

13. Rats ate 10% of Pablo Escobar‘s money per annum, amounting to $2.1 billion. – Source

14. Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish sailor, was left stranded on a deserted island, but survived for over 4 years, partly by using feral cats to protect him from ravenous rats that attacked during the night. – Source

15. The first living creatures to go into orbit and return safely were 40 mice, two rats, a rabbit, some fruit flies, plants, and 2 dogs. – Source

16. In the old Jameson Whiskey distillery in Dublin, cats were so vital in keeping rats away from the barely warehouse, that they were each allocated their own milk allowance from petty cash. – Source

17. A 1970s Canadian science experiment made drugs freely available to both caged rats and colony rats. The rats in cages developed drug habits. The rats in normal ‘society’ refused them. – Source

18. In 1954, the city of Bombay, India had such a bad rat problem that they began accepting dead rats in place of taxes. This led to the mass breeding and killing rats to use them for payment. – Source

19. Poor neighborhoods in 60’s era Washington DC suffered massive rat infestations until Julius Hobson began catching the “possum-sized” rats in a cage, strapping it to the roof of his car, driving them to the rich neighborhoods, and threatening to release them. – Source

20. In the Dark ages up to the 1800s animals were sentenced for human crimes. Dogs, pigs, cows, rats and even flies and caterpillars were arraigned in court on charges ranging from murder to obscenity. – Source

21. Kangaroo rats are so adapted to the desert life that they can go their whole lives without a single drink of water. – Source

22. There is a carnivorous plant big enough to drown and digest rats. – Source
23. Rats in Iran grew so big that snipers had to be deployed to combat the cat-sized rats. – Source

24. In Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, even the rats were insured; the insurer wanted to know the minimum number of rats and a policy was written with “1,000 rats deductible”. – Source

25. The University of Minnesota created functioning rat and pig hearts out of stem cells. They are on their way to creating whole human organs to be used for transplant. – Source

26. There is a Russian “platypus”, the Desman is nearly blind, aquatic and looks like a cross between an anteater, a mole, and a river rat. – Source

27. The breathing fluid in the Abyss (1989) is real and that the scene with the rat breathing the fluid wasn’t faked, with the Rat actually breathing the oxygenated fluid. – Source

28. Rats experience feelings of regret like humans. – Source

29. Tsar Peter III of Russia court-martialed and hanged a rat which had chewed the heads off his toy soldiers. – Source

30. Researchers washed the cells off a donor’s heart leaving only the connective tissue “scaffold” behind, then added stem cells which began to grow and organize properly. This would alleviate the need for powerful anti-rejection drugs, which are very damaging. A rat heart has been successfully made. – Source

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30 Interesting Facts About Rats

by Wayne Hillary
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