- Education and Science
The Battle between Humans and Rats
Intelligent but Dangerous
Rats are smart animals. They are highly intelligent, closest to human beings. They are used as laboratory animals aside from the monkey in testing the effects of new drugs or latest inventions before the man use it. But they can be very dangerous as well.
In the history of man, the world witnessed many diseases that were attributed to the existence of rats in our households as pests, not pets. It brought many kinds of diseases that can be found from their feces, urine to mention a few.
Have you heard of the Great Bubonic Plague? I bet you do. As we can recall in the pages of world history books, the first pandemic of the so-called Black Death happened during the early 13th century (1348-58). The outbreak of rat's bubonic plague was said to be brought by the merchant ships in Europe from Central Asia. Ships were not so modern during that period, most are made of hardwood, unlike today. Rats were brought as unwanted passengers through the cargoes they brought to trading in almost all parts of Europe.
Bubonic plague was brought about by the deadly virus called Yersinia pestis that continued returning in several periods for almost 150 years in the history of Europe, until the dawn of 19th century where the migration happened to explore the new world called America.
Burning of corpses and even the dying people who were affected by the virus horrified the evenings of those scary periods.
Imagine if multitude of rats invade your home and contaminate your drinking water and leave too much feces in the ceiling, inside your wardrobe cabinets and stay as your uninvited visitors that can make you scream in the middle of the night.
Well, the terror is always out there, in the night and when the flood water with urine of rats invade your place. If you walked without wearing flood boots, you are susceptible with the disease usually from rats called leptospirosis. Although other domesticated animals like dogs and birds can also be carrying the virus Leptospira, still rats get all the blame here in the Philippines. The aftermath of tropical Ondoy is still apparent after a month-long of agony and despair of the affected residents in Metro Manila, particularly in many low-lying areas in the metropolis. Affected residents of leptospirosis suffered from flu-like symptoms (high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle aches, diarrhea). If wrongly diagnosed, the affected humans can die in just a span of one week.
Rats as pets
This is the name of the rat that became the most adored pet of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. It was even the title of his popular song.
I also had a pet rat before, the white one. It was being sold in the school. It was really domesticated. But my mother prevented me of prolonging my contact with my pet. Meanwhile, brown rats really destroyed our rice plants. Farmers used to bait them and cook them just like chicken. Even it was a savory dish, I cannot eat it. They said country rats are disease-free unlike the city rats who stayed in the dirty canals and gutters.
The Future of Humans and Rats
The scenario is just a repetition of just happened in the Dark Ages of human civilization. Periodic attack of rats through diseases can totally perish humans' existence.
Although, more and more antibiotics are being made to combat those diseases, still, humans are vulnerable to the challenges that rats can inflict to our everyday lives.