I had written this Blog some months ago. Following is an upgraded version.of the same article.
Who has not seen a rat? Right from Nursery/KG days children are taught the spelling of the word "rat".It has got a place of prestige with high profile K for "king" and Q for"queen." A rat is a creature found universally. Its tragedy is that it arouses fear and hatred among majority of the people specially women.Perhaps its slimy skin, piercing gaze and unbeatable speed disconcerts them. I have personally seen the reaction of some people,when confronted with a rat.My mother,once removed her sari in panic,when a small rat unwittingly happened to touch her sari. Her shrieking had an instant reaction on the poor rat.Perhaps he too was frightened or shocked by the sudden reaction of my Mom. It ran with amazing speed for cover. We have all grown up listening to the fable of Pied Piper of Hamelin. Everyone tries to drive them away.
Perhaps the rat is the only creature which is universally found. It may vary in size or colour but it exists all over the universe. Rats have a tendency to adapt to all sorts of environments. A rat can survive without water for a long period of time. It can jump from great heights. A rat has the capacity to swim in water. The rats love to groom themselves. They communicate with each other in loud tones, which is not audible to humans. Rats have an excellent memory. If once they have crossed a path, they will always remember it. I have experienced that after being caught in a trap, a rat was thrown away in a distant park but it found its way back .They have a long tail which regulates their body temperature.
Rats are generally brown and black. White rats are generally found in cool climates. In some parts of India and some other countries rat meat is eaten as a delicacy. They enter godowns, offices, shops and houses(big or small) without any difficulty. They manage to shrink their body and can enter even through a small hole. Several thousand tons of grain are destroyed every year by rats. They have very sharp teeth. Apart from food, the rats can bite anything . Clothes, paper,electric wires or wood nothing can escape their notice. Their favourite hiding place in a house is a kitchen or the bathroom. Specially at night ,when sleepily you enter the kitchen or the washroom, the moment you switch on the light, a rat will catch you unaware and you tend to shriek out of your wits.
The rats are mammals. The working of internal organs are somewhat similar to human organs. Even after the rat dies, its heart continues to palpitate for a few hours. Due to this semblance, rats were used in laboratories for dissection for teaching purpose.
Many people keep rats as pets.They find them very adorable and fondle. Domesticated rats very friendly . They love human company. If there are children around the rats love to be in their midst.They enjoy riding on the shoulders of their owners.They are affectionate and like to lick their human friends. If trained properly the rats never bite. They are as friendly as small puppies. If you have seen 'Ratatouille', an animation film, you will realise the extent of affection a person can have with a rat as a pet.
|A pet rat|
|Mata Karni Temple|
In China ,according to the Zodiac calendar, the first month of the new year is a symbol of a rat. There, a person born in this month is believed to possess qualities such as generosity,creativity,quick temper, honesty and wastefulness associated with rats.
In some South Asian countries it is treated as staple food.Some people ,even keep rats as pets. The fact ,however remains that it is hated by a vast population. When a rat dies . there is no one to shed tears. It departs from the world unsung, unwept and unnoticed in a heap of garbage, even though it leads a luxurious life in cosy corners in high mansions.
Photos courtesy Google