By Sarah Ann
*In ancient Rome, the people called rats, “big mice” and mice were referred to as “little mice”. The actual translation was Mus Maximus (big mouse) or Mus minimus (little mouse).
* Near the Ino-Pakistan border in India is a small town called Deshnoke, famous for its 600 year old Karni Mata Temple, also known as the Temple of Rats. Karni Mata is believed to be the incarnation of Durga, the Hindu Goddess and thousands of rats are worshipped in the Temple. It is said that the souls of the followers of Karni Mata are in the rats and they must be looked after. The attending priests feed them milk and grain.
* In western civilization the term rat has negative connotations when associated with people, often meaning that someone is suspicious, unattractive or possibility a criminal informant. It is thought that this use of the word stems from the medieval plague called the Black Death. Rats were seen as vicious, unclean parasitic animals and blamed for the spread of the disease, although this view is now widely questioned.
* Rats can actually last longer without water than camels, although absolutely no good for riding across deserts!
* A rat can fall 15 metres (nearly 50 foot) and land uninjured!
* An adult male rat can weigh up to 700 grams (1.5 pounds) and they live for two to three years.
* The female of the species can mate up to 500 times with various males during her state of receptivity. This state lasts for approximately six hours and she will experience such a state, fifteen times a year! This mating can produce a lot of offspring, as many as 2000 babies a year.
* Rats are pretty good swimmers, in a recent experiment where a rat was tagged in and left on an island off New Zealand, it next turned up on a nearby island, a swim of 400 metres. They can also tread water for approximately 36 hours.
* They are a very intelligent species and very rewarding to keep as a pet. They actually seem to enjoy human company in much the same way as a dog and will bond with their owner. They can learn a variety of tricks and even come when you call their name.
Sarah-Anne has been an animal care expert for 10 years. If you want to know more about rats and keeping them as pets then Click Here!
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