A rat is a medium-sized rodent found on all inhabited continents. They live on garbage in slums and are also often known to carry disease. The bubonic plague which killed one third of the population of Europe is attributed to rats which carried plague-infected fleas living in their fur. The genus Rattus includes over 50 species.
Rats are capable of surviving in a wide range of different environments ranging from grasslands, forests, urban settlements, ships, and the unforgiving arctic. They tend to thrive around human beings. Rats can survive on an extremely diverse diet, including seeds, fruits, small birds and mammals, scraps and even garbage.
Scientific laboratories frequently use rats for studies of behavioral psychology, as well as the effects of drugs or radiation.
Rats can be kept as pets, although it is unwise for a child to try to tame a wild rat found in a slum. Like gerbils and hamsters, they must be raised in a sterile environment before being brought into your home, lest an accidental bite infect you with a deadly disease. They are usually kept in a cage or a terrarium, sometimes with other rats or mice. Domestic rats are curious, clean, and gentle creatures with a lifespan of approximately three years.
Atheists and rat eating
See also: Atheism and rodent eating and Dietary practices of atheists
In 2020, CNN reported concerning China, which has the largest atheist population in the world and has a high percentage of atheists in its population (see: China and atheism): "Vendors in small city markets often sell wild animals including rodents, yak, snakes and even porcupines, and experts say that makes them far more dangerous. The meat could contain deadly pathogens like the coronavirus."
In 2020, the Daily Mail reported on individuals in the Guangdong province of southeast China eating live mice as a delicasy.
In 2020, amidst a coronavirus epidemic, Chinese officials began cracking down on wildlife markets.
NBC News reported:
|“|| Tired of fast food? Well, now you can travel to China and try some "pest food." As the country suffers from a plague of a reported 2 billion rats displaced by a flooded lake, many of the creepy creatures are being trucked from central China to the booming south to end up in fancy restaurant dishes, Chinese media reported.
Rats had been doing a roaring trade thanks to strong supply over the last two weeks, the China News Service quoted vendors as saying.
"Recently there have been a lot of rats... Guangzhou people are rich and like to eat exotic things, so business is very good," it quoted a vendor as saying, referring to the capital of Guangdong province, where people are reputed to eat anything that moves.