Thursday, May. 05, 2005 - 12:43 a.m.
Cost of the War in Iraq
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Life Lessons and Bashing Rats
Things I have learned in the past couple days or hours.
Ok i am sure i thought of more than that before I commenced typing but I've forgotten it.
Oh, I learned that if you say "terriers were bred to hunt small viscious animals like weasels and rats", someone will write saying "take a breather trashing ratties". Um hello. I wrote one word... viscious. Not paragraphs "trashing ratties". Dang. Yes, you are right, wild foraging rats are viscious when you try to kill them I would imagine. On a scale from squashing baby birds to strangling tasmanian devils with your bare hands, I think they rate closer to the devils. Yes they are pets here... most descended from a few captive-bred lab rats (one of the reason why pet rats have such a ridiculously high cancer rate)... but in most of the world, most of the time, they aren't incidental wild animals like say lynx, who are put upon by encroaching humans. They totally increase in number around humans, and follow them into their dwellings, food stores, fields etc to become a huge problem. Most Norway rats and Black rats don't really even have a natural ecosystem anymore. They are one of them ubiquitous human hangers-on like the cockroach.
Doesn't mean I would go out hunting them down if I didn't have a personal rat problem... but believe me, when I lived in an apartment that had a huge rat, I called for an exterminator. Rats in the house, or the backalley, are not a nice thing. I hate to call anything vermin, but they really really are problematic, and will have no difficulty fighting you for your leftover garbage. Sorry.
And I don't say that cuz I think small rat-killing dogs are the cats' pyjamas (though Cruella may have made dalmation pjs for her siamese). I call most of em "football dogs" cuz they are so annoying. But if you were bred to hunt down and kill rats (scroll to the dog part), you'd probably be annoying too when suddenly found unemployed.
OK OK, I am googling about rats... just in fairness to my dear friend who wrote me, lovely woman that she is, here is a "true false rat myths page" that says that it is not true the pet rats are descended from lab rats, or prone to cancer. I leave it up to you. My friends had many many rats they loved to pieces, and so many of them died young of cancer they couldn't deal with any more grief and stopped with the rats.
Here on the other hand, is an information page about rats that specifically says several times that they ARE descended from lab rats (actually I bet that they used rats for lab experiments partly BECAUSE they were free, fast to reproduce, and seen as totally expendable by the population and scientists didn't have to contend with the kind of brouhaha they would have had if they had experimented on cats or dogs... it totally makes sense that people didn't start breeding rats for pets until they had been seized and domesticated by scientists. (Another rat info site, maintaining the first "fancy" rats were brown rats bred in labs)Though who knows. In Japan, cockroaches are a popular pet and apparently now are becoming popular in Australia and elsewhere.
And just cuz I can't stop googling, here is the American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association's site, where they seem to imply that people in England bred rats both for "rat pits"... ie to have contests with dogs tearing them apart and to keep or trade unusual colors... eventually leading to them being bred as "fancy rats"... whereas in the US there was more lab-rat keeping/ interchangeablility. Well, there ya go... keep everyone happy.
OK, hope I didn't ruffle too many more feathers, though if it provokes anyone to creativity it is a good thing. I've got to get SOME work done now. Last night I took soooo long researching the work for Toronto that I didn't get the sketches done, slept badly, and had to get up today and draw and send them instead of doing my comics page. And then I went for coffee/supper with newboy and did my page and now it is 2:20 am and somehow I am not working yet, but googling rats. So, tah! Must get to work and then to sleep zzzzz.
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Goodbye Michael. May your next life be kinder to you. - Thursday, Jun. 25, 2009
*inspired by Chaosdaily