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Mon, Oct. 3rd, 2005, 08:27 pm
Every picture tells a story

What story does this picture tell? I came upon this photo which, according to the metadata, was taken just over a month ago, quite by accident when I typed "rats" into Wikipedia on impulse. What happened to this poor rat? Is it still alive? Is this photo genuine? How likely is it that a wild rat, even an injured one, would let a human get so close to it?

Mon, Oct. 3rd, 2005 11:01 am (UTC)
swiftrat

Looks very much like an elderly domesticated self-agouti rat with a nasty ear mites infection. The rat kicks/scratches at its ear madly til it's red raw and bleedy like that - my little neice had a mouse that got the same thing, her mother didn't want to take it to a vet, and the poor mouse eventually lost its whole ear and died. (and yes, I gave my aunt a good lecturing about the vet issue).

Tue, Oct. 4th, 2005 08:43 am (UTC)
marko_the_rat

May I play the devil's advocate? If you look at the photo at full size (it's actually quite a high resolution photo) you see the rat has lots of specks of dirt in its fur consistent with its environment. It even has one on its eye (eww!). If it's a pet, I really hope it got some much needed veterinary attention after this photo shoot.

Mon, Oct. 3rd, 2005 12:33 pm (UTC)
vassilissa

I agree with swiftrat. It's a good photo, though. Painfully adorable. Excuse me, I have to go tickle someone now.

Mon, Oct. 3rd, 2005 01:38 pm (UTC)
lupine52

The photo looks very genuine. Knowing little about rats I would say it was in a fight and got gnawed a bit, but I trust swiftrat is correct in her analysis.

Mon, Oct. 3rd, 2005 01:45 pm (UTC)
schnee

It might have been taken with a telephoto lens.

Mon, Oct. 3rd, 2005 03:55 pm (UTC)
dakhun

Likely. There's very little depth of focus, which is characteristic of a telephoto.

Mon, Oct. 3rd, 2005 10:52 pm (UTC)
vivo

Aye, I agree with these thoughts. 'Getting close' to the animal isn't much of an issue- we see spectacular photos of incredibly human-shy animals every day. Photographers can do great things.

Tue, Oct. 4th, 2005 09:24 am (UTC)
porsupah

Not to mention, of course, that the camera could easily be operated remotely, or even automatically.
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Thu, Oct. 6th, 2005 10:56 pm (UTC)
marko_the_rat

Great sleuthing Zen! *hugs* I'll look forward to those photos, even though it's not a pleasant subject matter. What worries me is Swiftrat's claim that it looks like a domesticated self-agouti rat; could it be a pet that someone abandoned after it got "too hard" to take care of?
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Thu, Oct. 6th, 2005 12:33 pm (UTC)
nightcoon

I don't think there's anything wrong with that rat, he's just scruffy because he goes down sewers and stuff. City rats are always pretty scruffy animals ... and I'm not saying anything against them, I adore rats. But, gotta face facts, their lifestyle is not the cleanliest. And it was probably a very good zoom camera the photographer used.