Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Reading Up On Rat History

By Shellyane Bryan
A rat owner from England shares tales of living with her rats named Mouse, Slinky and Diddy.

Click image to enlarge
Photo Courtesy Shellyane Bryan
Pet rats like Diddy are intelligent, affectionate creatures, not something to fear.

I’ve been doing some rat-orientated learning over the past week, because there is always something new to learn about our favorite little Rattus norvegicus. This week, I’ve discovered that not all cultures have always felt such revulsion toward the idea of rats; in some areas of the world, rats were even revered. It doesn’t come as too much of a surprise when so many ancient civilizations honored and worshipped gods that were in the image of animals, but there is a rat goddess known as Karni Mata paid tribute to at Rajasthan’s Karni Mata Temple.

So even ratties are getting some love in the form of prayer and worship. I also learned that rats have been bred in captivity in England since the 19th Century, and it’s the past 100 years of selective breeding that have landed me with my rats: Slinky, Mousey and Diddy. I don’t suppose they would all be quite as friendly and charming as they are without this careful selection, so I’m grateful to those individuals responsible for domesticating our furry friends!

I wish sometimes that those individuals who still consider rats to be dirty, disease-ridden creatures would read up on them a little before passing judgement on such an affectionate, clean and intelligent animal. The fact that so many of my “rat hating” friends fell in love with Dumbo the rat (and just lately Slinky) goes to show how special they are.

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Reader Comments
Human nature is to be fearful of what we don't understand. I have two friends who love rats, one in England, one in Texas. They are far and few between but when you find them, rat lovers tend to be the kindest, warmest people and it's great to have friends one can talk to about all the little rat things that bore most people or disgust them.

When someone else sees how beautiful my ratties are it makes me so happy. I'm 25 now and have never grown out of my love for rats so I can't see it happening now lol so all my friends are getting used to them.

A rat fills a small part of your house, but a huge part of your heart.
Hannah, Coppell, TX
Posted: 8/30/2010 11:49:27 AM
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