Peter is an independent international zoo consultant, critic and writer with over 50 years of work within zoos.
World Rat Day
World Rat Day first appeared on the 4th April 2002. It is really a celebration of the 'Pet Rat' which are so very popular. Rats are very intelligent, can be trained and make good pets. It is however this very intelligence which have made them a problem too. They have spread widely through the world spreading disease, decimating other species and damaging crops.
At the same time we owe a lot to the rat. Our advances in medical science would not have developed as far as they have without the rat. Some of us living today owe our lives to the rat.
There are in the region of 56 species of rat with more being discovered. The problem rats are the Brown Rat Rattus norvegicus and the Black Rat Rattus rattus. These two species originate in India and South East Asia but spread from there to cover the globe. They are found on every continent and even some sub-Antarctic islands. Their spread has largely due to stowing away on ships and other transport. The first rats to appear in the American colonies was in 1609.
There is a saying today that "you are never more than six feet from a rat". Personally I don't believe this is true but a hundred yards almost definitely. There are billions of rats with which we share our planet. The collective noun for rats is a 'Mischief'.
Rat Temple in Karni Mata, Rajastan
A New Rat
Pros and Cons of Fancy Rats as Pets - Audio version
I have eaten Rat...twice. Once in a soup and another time roasted. Both times tasty.