There is no other animal that man has fought with such energy for so long in so many places as the rat! There many species of animals called rats, and of them are harmless and interesting animals. But there are two common rats, the black rat, and the brown rat, that have given rats a bad name.
Why Does A Man Fight The Rat?
Each year rats ruin hundreds of millions of pounds worth of grain. They destroy eggs, poultry, songbirds, and spoil food in homes and on ships. Fires are caused by rats gnawing matches, gas pipes, and insulated electric wires. Houses may be flooded when they gnaw through water pipes. They damage floors and furnishings. Finally, they spread diseases such as the fortunately rare bubonic plague. There are probably as many rats as people in the cities. of the world.
In the country, they actually outnumber human beings by three or four to one! They climb and burrow and live indoors or outdoors, in dry places or wet. They like vegetables best, but they will eat almost anything. And since they can live almost anywhere and increase so rapidly, they are hard to control. A female rat may have ten litters of young in a year, and the young are ready to produce more young in only four months!
The black rat was originally a native of Asia Minor and the Orient but reached Europe with Crusaders returning from Palestine in the Middle Ages. The brown rat originally inhabited the tree-less steppes of Central Asia and probably started emigrating in large numbers before Roman times. Like the black rat, it eventually reached all parts of the world by living in the holds of ships and has proved itself to be one of the most adaptable animals ever known.
Along with mice, another rodent that also lives wherever man does, rats have become popular pets. They are especially red for this purpose and are not wild rats, although the basic colors and patterns of pet rats originate from wild specimens. White rats are actually albinos of brown rats. An albino of any animal is one that lacks normal pigmentation in its skin or hair. They are usually quite rare but man has specially bred albino rats for their “color”.
Pet rats need to be kept in cages, but they require quite a lot of room, and cages with a ramp leading to a second level are recommended. Of course, it is best to use metal cages as rats will gnaw their way through wooden ones if they get bored or want to escape. They will live on almost anything, but pet rats are best fed on rOlled or crushed oats mixed with a little birdseed. They will live for as long as two or three years.
How Long Do Rats Live As Pets?
Rats live for around 2 years, but some may live for longer.