Those clever, soft furred mammals that often run around our gardens. Did you know that they are one of the most persecuted mammals in the world? From testing on them in labs to poisoning them in our gardens, a lot of us have been conditioned from childhood to mistrust and fear rats, when actually they’re brilliant little creatures who HELP humans (and even our climate) in the following ways, as well as having unique behavioural traits….
Rats laugh, did you know that? They have a chuckle at the craziness of the world, just like we do!
(Maybe that’s why a group of rats is called a ‘mischief’)?
Rats are very important to the eco system as they are scavengers and opportunistic eaters. They will eat garbage and other things that people throw away so without them there would be a lot more waste around which not only would smell terrible, it would be releasing a lot more methane into the atmosphere that there is currently (approx 11% of all greenhouse
gases is thought to come from the food we waste so just imagine how much higher that figure would be without the lowly rats and other rodents).
Rats also play a massive part in the predatory ecosystem. Owls, falcons, hawks, and other predatory animals such as foxes, stoats and weasels feed on rats. The animal ecosystem is a delicate balance and losing even just one part can be detrimental to the entire system.
It is well documented that rats are highly intelligent beings - great problem solvers - which is also why they are so well adapted to all environments and climates, being found throughout the world. Much like us they are a social species and do form relationships with their family group and become very bonded to them. Much like ourselves, even wild rats can form bonded relationships with humans and will give as much love back as is offered to them. They do recognise faces they have seen before which shows they have a great memory.
Rats are very CLEAN creatures… They groom and clean themselves often, actually putting them on par with pet cats and dogs in cleanliness…
Did you know that rats also groom and look after one another when one of their ‘mischief’ is poorly? They care and groom and bring food to the one that is ill.
[This article was researched & written by Corrie Jane Plumpton, professional Wildlife Rescuer.]