The Internet went wild last week over a video of a rat dragging a slice of pizza down the steps of a New York City subway. But “pizza rat” is just the tip of the iceberg.
Rats are some of the most resilient creatures in the world. They eat just about anything, they multiply incredibly fast, and they might be one of the few creatures that survive the next mass extinction. They even have their own Wikipedia page.
Here are some amazing facts about everyone’s least favourite rodent vermin.
Rats eat everything (pizza rat is a case in point). They can survive on just an ounce of food and water a day, which they can easily get from NYC's trash and food waste.
As you might expect, rats are crawling with nasty bugs that can make us sick, like the bubonic plague (picture below). One study found that NYC rats carry the bacteria E. coli, Clostridium difficile, and Salmonella, as well as rat-bite fever and Seoul hantavirus (which can cause serious fever and sometimes death).
Urban dwellers beware: Rats can easily wriggle up toilet pipes, as a recent National Geographic video demonstrated.
But rats aren't going anywhere. According to 'The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History,' by Elizabeth Kolbert, they may be some of the few animals that could survive the next mass extinction. In fact, all of us mammals are descended from a ratlike creature that emerged from the mass extinction that killed the dinosaurs.
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