Saturday, 24 September 2016

Rats, they're not that bad are they?

  Yes, this is a quick write up about Rats.I think it's safe to say that most people's love of Nature does not extend to these highly adaptable, furry fast multipliers (in a breeding sense not Mathematics) Myself, I think they are fascinating to watch.People see Rats and think of disease or their voracious appetite but they are capable of amazing things.
  Just read about HeroRATS which are put through months of training and save thousands of lives through mine detection and TB detection and you realise how incredible these rodents are.You can even adopt one on their website below ;)

  I live next door to one pub and almost opposite another one so I occasionally see the odd Rat in the garden trying to reach the bird food but this week I had the chance to watch a whole 'mischief' of Rats, the most I counted at once was 13 scampering around.They were taking advantage of the food on offer at a feeding station in a Yorkshire Nature reserve.
  This tree stump of food was the main prize with up to 6 Rats on the top at any one time.A larger Rat(I will call Hulk after the wrestler Hulk Hogan not because he was green) arrived and started to take control.

  This dominant Rat seemed to sniff every other one that climbed on to the stump.If it passed its "smell test" they were allowed to feed if they didn't , it resorted to fisticuffs followed by being unceromoniously thrown off the stump.A bit like a Rat Royal Rumble, hence the name Hulk.
  The sniff test


  Dumped off the stump.

 I continued to watch their behaviour with interest with the younger, smaller Rats foraging around the stump and on the ground under the bird feeders.These younger ones were very wary of the Moorhen brigade and if they came too close the Rats scarpered off down their holes.

  Keeping an eye out for those pesky Moorhens.

  While watching the Rat entertainment another couple walked into the hide but as soon as the woman saw the Rats she turned and walked straight back out with her partner close behind, saying to us "She really hates Rats!"  lol
  They end up as prey victims for everything from Birds Of Prey, Foxes, Stoats, Weasels, Grey Herons and Scottish Wildcats so they do have a role to play in our ecosystem, even if there are maybe a few too many (estimated UK population around 80 million).
  Next time you come across a Rat, instead of hitching up your skirt and jumping on to the nearest bench ;) just observe it for a minute and appreciate its tenacity :)
  Thanks for reading :)