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Mon, Jul. 12th, 2004, 06:19 pm
I'M RAT AND I'M PROUD!

porsupah posted this link about animal totems and I wanted to say a few words in defence of rats. Now, this is in no way an attack on my esteemed colleague and I'm pleased he liked the entry for red pandas, but I want to set the record straight.

I am not 'damaged' and I am to be neither pitied nor feared. It is obvious the author was speaking from their own fear and prejudice rather than any knowledge about rats or those blessed with this totem. A particularly charming example is the notion that rats will eat to excess and throw up rather than let any other animal share their food. Both rats and mice are incapable of regurgitating. I do not feel I should be worried about signs of wastefulness in my life; quite the opposite in fact. I'm the one who scavenges left over food so it doesn't go to waste. The author may not be aware that scavengers perform a valuable role in the ecosystem. I do not think I should feel in the least bit guilty about being a rat, and nor should any other rat.

Mon, Jul. 12th, 2004 06:10 pm (UTC)
nicodemusrat

Dude, total slam on rats. Uninformed, too.

"overeat and throw up" - As you pointed out, Marko, rats are phsyiologically incapable of vomitting. It's the basis for many rat poisons, actually.

"Trade Rat because it leaves a stone in the place of what it takes." - As far as I know, this is a myth. Rats will often leave what they're carrying to pick something else up, which may be the origin of this. But there isn't a separate species of "Trade Rat".

"Black Rats carried the fleas that led to the Black Plague." - Nope, that was the brown rat (rattus norvegicus), which was spreading through Europe and displacing the black rats. The name "black plague" is not derived from the animal but from the symptoms, IIRC.


It also goes directly against many other rat totem interpretations, such as intelligence and thriftiness. The Chinese zodiac rat, in particular, is associated with wealth.

It's just more rat bashing.

Sat, Jul. 17th, 2004 03:13 pm (UTC)
porsupah

I wonder if the site author in question might be amenable to some polite education? I feel a little awkward in having indirectly caused distress; I admit, I only looked at my own entry, and at that for "rabbit".

On a tangent, are rats unique in not being able to expel harmful foodstuffs? It seems like a widespread trait, although I'll admit I've not specifically collected information on the topic. ^_^ I wonder how complex the genetic tweaking would be to (re-?)introduce the ability..

Tue, Jul. 20th, 2004 11:32 am (UTC)
nicodemusrat

I feel a little awkward in having indirectly caused distress

I wouldn't worry about it... I think us rats are used to seeing it by now. :)

I wonder if the site author in question might be amenable to some polite education?

A good suggestion!

Wed, Jul. 21st, 2004 04:50 am (UTC)
marko_the_rat

I feel a little awkward in having indirectly caused distress

I wouldn't worry about it... I think us rats are used to seeing it by now. :)


Quite right! It was nothing against you at all, Porsupah. We get so much abuse, it's like water off a rat's back. In fact, I was glad for the opportunity to establish my rat credentials.

I wonder if the site author in question might be amenable to some polite education?


The impression I got from a brief perusal of her website is that she would not be amenable to such education. She has achieved such a high state of enlightenment that she had transcended the need for something so tawdry as 'facts'. Sadly, a malaise that affects much of the new age movement and discredits what they do have of value.