Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Cunning Rat

Zed has always had a soft spot for rats; he had a couple as pets and spoiled them for years, letting them run wild through his room at his father's house. They nested in the piles of clothes in his closet there, so when he'd ask me how formally to dress for a given event I'd have to specify: "Nothing with rat holes in it!" Yes, it came to that. Anyway, that's why this article from caught my eye:

Cunning rat outsmarts scientists:
Rodent eludes capture for 4 months

A rat released on a deserted island off New Zealand outsmarted scientists and evaded traps, baits and sniffer dogs before being captured four months later on a neighboring island, researchers said on Wednesday.

Scientists from the University of Auckland in New Zealand released the Norway rat on the 23.5-acre island of Motuhoropapa to find out why rats are so difficult to eradicate.

"Our findings confirm that eliminating a single invading rat is disproportionately difficult," James Russell and his colleagues said in a report in the science journal Nature.

Despite all their efforts, including fitting the rat with a radio collar, they couldn't catch the crafty creature.

After 10 weeks on the island the rodent decided it had had enough. It swam 400 meters, the longest distance recorded for a rat across open sea, to another rat-free island where it was eventually captured in a trap baited with penguin meat several weeks later.

Invading rats on remote islands off the coast of New Zealand have been a recurring problem. Norway rats have invaded the uninhabited Noises Islands at least six times between 1981 and 2002.

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At 7:52 AM, Blogger ribbiticus said...

i admire you for having been able to put up living with your son's "pets" i am scared stiff of mice, let alone rats, and the thought of 1 or more running around loose in my home would make me turn on all the lights while i slept.

michele sent me today. :)

At 7:54 AM, Blogger Yaeli said...

Wow!!! That is so interesting!!!
I used to have pet mice as a kid but they weren't very clever.
Michele sent me. :o)

At 8:03 AM, Blogger melinama said...

These rats were NOT at my house - they were at Zed's dad's house. I used to have gerbils (in a cage) but the noise kept me awake at night. If you're hypervigilant the scritch scratching of rodents will make you crazy...


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