In 1508, Autun, France pressed charges on rats for destroying barley crops. The lawyer representing the rats argued that the court’s summons wasn’t specific enough to his clients, and that Autun’s cat population made it unsafe for his clients to come to court. The rats were acquitted.
Rats are sometimes eaten in parts of France. In Bordeaux, there is a recipe that calls for the use of alcoholic rats who live in wine cellars. The rats are skinned and eviscerated, brushed with a thick sauce of olive oil and crushed shallots, and grilled over a fire of broken wine barrels.
Two rats in an ideal environment can turn into 482 million rats over a period of three years.
Scientists conducted a study and determined that there are about 2 million rats running around New York City. They can jump a horizontal distance of up to 4 feet, survive a fall from a height of almost 40 feet, and tread water for three days.
Giant rats have been trained to sniff out 14000 landmines and other unexploded arsenal. The rats, which undergo nine months of training, are light enough to not trigger the explosives. They literally work for peanuts.
Poor neighborhoods in 60’s-era Washington DC suffered massive rat infestations until Julius Hobson began catching the “possum-sized” rats in a cage, strapping it to the roof of his car, driving them to the rich neighborhoods, and threatening to release them.
Only about 12 rats per year enter Alberta, Canada and are quickly killed by provincial rat control specialists before they can breed. Alberta is the largest rat free populated area in the world.
Rats feel empathy to such a degree that they will ignore a lever that releases a tempting chocolate treat in favor of one that saves a drowning friend.
In 19th century England, a man by the name of Jack Black was an expert rat catcher. When he caught rats of unusual colour, he would breed them and sell the well bred rats to nobility. Even Queen Victoria kept a pet rat or two.