Yes, you read that title correctly, rats, the city’s most hated residents, have some lessons to teach us.

Before you turn away in disgust, take a moment to consider the seemingly humble rat. Of the many creatures that coexist with humans, the rat, in many ways, has mastered taking advantage of our built environments, modes of transportation, and waste stream. Okay, this still sounds a little gross, but it’s quite an accomplishment.

Image: A rather cute rat eating a peanut

Source: Pixabay

Rats have colonized the world and adapted to live alongside us, often to our chagrin. In cities, like New York City, the prevalence of rats can be particularly concerning. Maybe, though, we should consider what these little creatures, even in high numbers, can tell us about our own behavior. Is it really the rat’s fault that we have created such a perfect life for them?

Rodentologist Bobby Corrigan has been studying rodents in cities around the world for more than 20 years. As a thought leader in this unique niche, he has some insights to share with us on what we can learn (and how we can improve ourselves) simply by observing the rat.

Here’s a great video from Vox to show us more…

Via: Vox 1

Learning from the rats…

See, rats can teach us things! What stands out in particular here is the way Corrigan turns “pest control” on its head. It’s not them, really, it’s us!

Our behavior is equally as problematic as the rats themselves. The amount of trash we produce, the quantities we consume, and food waste we just brush aside, sure, they are great for the rats, but they aren’t great for us (or the environment).  Take a look at our article about the amazing things rats can do to clear mines and diagnose Tuberculosis for us at a fraction of the cost of conventional measures!

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Rats Becoming Our Heroes?

What potential are we missing by ignoring the "untouchable" things? Let's start with the amazing abilities of rats to save millions of lives! Really!

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Imagine if we looked at other “problems” in this same way. Instead of dealing with the outcomes, we turn the problem on its head to find the real root of the issue. Beyond rats and public health, it’s not a bad method for tackling most obstacles we encounter.

There may be no end to the number of animals that can match our intellect in different aspects. Take a look at this great piece from an EWC favorite, SciShow!

Via: SciShow 2

So, the next time you see a rat, pigeon or pig for that matter, go ahead and thank it. If we look closer, it might just be expanding our notions about what is possible in the species we share the planet with.

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

-Liesl

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Notes:

  1. “How Rats Take Advantage of Human Failure.” YouTube. Vox, 16 Jan. 2018. Web. 07 Feb. 2018. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6wzFliHRbo&feature=youtu.be>.
  2. “3 Animals That Are Smarter Than You Thought.” YouTube, SciShow, 7 July 2014, www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ssphf4UcQdo.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

COO Ever Widening Circles

Liesl is a camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often floundering—yoga lover. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV