The Story of Rats
The Story of Rats relates the fascinating world of rats from a sociological perspective. The book covers three areas, history of rats, questions and answers about rats, and our ignorance about rats as revealed in our research.
History of Rats
In the histories, the story of rats through time is told including how they got their name and the horror of the Black Plague.
Questions and Answers About Rats
In part 2, Barnett expounds information most useful for wildlife control operators (WCOs). Important information regarding rat behavior, eating, and social interactions is explained. Particularly important is Barnett’s explanation on how rats can be simultaneously neophobic (afraid of new things) and neophilic (love new things). I’ll let you read the book to learn how.
S. Anthony Barnett also reviews research concerning the impact of density on rat populations. Frequently high densities among rats leads to fighting between rats. Barnett describes how the omega rats (those at the bottom of the rat social hierarchy) often appear disheveled and thin. These social outcasts often die. It seems that stress caused their death, but Barnett notes that stress in and of itself doesn’t explain everything. So the question remains, “Why do these rats just die?”
The Blindness of Rat Research
The final section delves into the limits and promise of research on rats. Barnett cogently explains how researchers proved the notion of economic thresholds in rat control and how such control provided concrete and measurable economic benefits. He also explained how double baiting brought the most success in control of rats. Double baiting is the technique of putting out toxic baits once, which is then followed a few weeks later with another round of baits.
Anyone interested in learning about the world of rats and humanity’s research on them will find this book a worthwhile read. Dr. Robert Corrigan, rat expert for New York City, recommended the book at a conference in Kansas City, Kansas in December, 2010. His recommendation is well placed, though I should caution readers that Barnett’s writing style exhibits evidence of his heritage in the British Empire. Nevertheless, Barnett’s writing provides some excellent information if not always simple writing.If you want a pleasant, research-supported, read on rats, then this book is for you.
Stephen M. Vantassel is a wildlife damage management consultant who is fascinated with rats.