Musophobia is defined as a fear of mice or rats. The sight of a rat can be alarming, the thought that you may be dealing with many can be terrifying! Rats seem to be the rodents that everyone loves to hate.
10 Interesting Facts About Rats
1. A group of rats is called a mischief. The term should be a little more menacing considering how bad they can. Male rats are called bucks and female rats are called does. Terms that are a little strange when you associate the same terms with graceful animals in the forest.
2. Rats are smart animals. They are more intelligent than hamster, rabbits, mice, gerbils and guinea pigs for instance. They have excellent memories too. When a rat learns a direction-finding route, they will never forget it.
3. What can’t rats chew through? Wood, soft concrete, aluminum, plastic and cinder blocks can’t keep them away. The reason they love to chew is because they have to. Their teeth are always growing, and if they don’t gnaw to wear them down, they will be unable to eat.
4. Year of the rat. You can be considered a rat depending on the year you were born. The Chinese zodiac states that those of us born in 1924, 1926, 1948, 1972, 1984, 1996, or 2008 are rats. These people are thought to be witty, cunning and prosperous.
5. The misquote “you dirty rat” has come to mean traitor or snitch. This is because rats have the reputation of being filthy and deadly and because they would flee sinking ships and collapsing houses, giving the impression of abandonment.
6. Rats are well-known carriers of disease. They are linked in the spread of some 40 diseases, including typhus, bubonic plague and leptospirosis. The Black Death of 1347-51 was believed to be caused by rats with plague-infested fleas. Research now blames gerbils. Scientists believe that after studying the weather patterns during the time, that the wet condition would have caused gerbils, not rats, to flourish.
7. Rats are incredible at reproduction. This is the reason they can become a problem so quickly. Rats can start to breed when they are only five weeks old. Female rats are fertile every three weeks and can mate up to 500 times every 6 hours!
8. How big can rats get? The biggest rat is believed to be the Bosavi woolly rat. This rat can be more than 32 inches long including its tail and can weigh more than three pounds. This is a monster rat compare to the average house rat that can be 20 inches long and weigh about 12 ounces.
9. Chicago is thought to be home to the most number of rats. New York second and Washington, D.C. third. Globally, London and Paris have high numbers of rats. These facts were compiled by Orkin in 2016.
10. Rat lifespan. The Guinness Book of World Records states that the longest-lived rat lived for seven years and four months. This far exceeds the 2-3 year expected lifespan.