20 October 2005

One for Ms Bear

This is a post especially for Ms. Bear, who is a big fan of rats. I know she'll like this story about a world record-breaking rat from New Zealand. She'll be less thrilled by the fact that the story end with the rat being trapped and killed, but I think she'll like the way he stuck it to the man before his time was up. So, my dear Ms. Bear, this one's for you:

Yahoo! News reports on the world's most elusive rat. Here's the executive summary:

  • Scientists think that a good way to work out how best to trap a rat would be to release one solitary rat on an otherwise vermin-free island and then try to catch it again.
  • Scientists think that will be a piece of cake.
  • Scientists, however, had failed to take into account that rats are dead smart and crafty, as well as good swimmers.
  • Upshot: after an 18 week chase and numerous different attempted trapping methods, scientists finally catch the rat on a different island for the one he was released on.
  • In the meantime, rat has set a world record for the longest confirmed open-water crossing by a rat.
  • Lessons learned by scientists:
  1. Conventional rat-trapping methods are not that good
  2. Rats are indeed good swimmers, as previously suspected
  3. Rats are smarter than you average bear pretty darn smart
  • Result: research group has article published in the lastest edition of Nature, i.e. gets published despite being unable to catch rat for ages. (There's no justice in the world).
Anyway, nice one rat. Stuck it to the man! Well done.