Rats are one of the most adaptive mammals and can be found on all continents and can live in a wide variety of conditions.
They can spread over vast kinds of places.
People think of them as pests and want to get rid of them.
What not a lot of people know is that they are vital for our environment in a lot of ways as well.
Rats not only help the environments by helping the ecosystems they are a part of but also help us directly in many ways.
What are some of their contributions to the environment?
More than 100 million people died because of a plague caused by rats in the 14th century.
This plague was spread by the rat breed Rattus or more commonly known as the black rat.
Rattus was the most common rat breed of that time.
This plague became the reason for the hatred towards rats in the mass public.
The brown rat, which the current descendant of Rattus is not responsible for the plague but still receives a lot of hate.
However, some places are fond of and respect rats.
Places like China and India are few of the countries which have communities that respect rats.
How are rats a source of food?
In the animal world, rats are a desired food source for birds, reptiles, some mammals, and a few water creatures.
Not just these animals, even humans like to eat rats as food.
In multiple Asian cultures, rats are one of the most liked dinners and taste very good.
In some African countries, barbecued rats on sticks are common.
How do rats help in spreading seeds?
Biologists all around the world are well acquainted with the fact that rats play a significant role in spreading seeds of various plants.
By doing this, they assist in the growth of new trees and help our environment in turn.
Moreover, rats spread spores for underground fungi.
These are important for some plant germination as they only sprout when attached with a fungus.
Rats spread the seeds by catching them in winter and not consuming them, these germinate and turn into new vegetations instead.
What role do rats play in aeration of the soil?
Rats are responsible for digging tunnels for themselves underground.
Rats digging the soil is beneficial because it allows for mixing.
The digging also helps in fertilization of soil by burying carbon deeper down.
This digging helps the plants growing in that area nourish better.
What have rats done for science?
Rats are also contributors to research and development.
More than 90 percent of the animals used in clinical testing in labs all around the world are rats.
They have for a long time and continue to help scientists discover the impacts of treatments and diseases.
Rats have contributed to modern medicine and science in general.
How rats help us sniff out mines
Rats called Hero Rats are a breed of African rats trained to detect land mines.
In previously conflicted areas, these pouched rats are used to sniff out land mines as they are lightweight and do not set these land mines off.
Rats have played a significant role in our lives for a long time than we commonly know and have contributed in more than one way.