Monday, 4 June 2012

Sat at the BBQ

Enjoying a moderately mild bank holiday and the Tea Lady points out another rattus rattus this time in the dog run helping himself to dog food. The 9mm strikes again;
 I thought I would advertise the cartridge suppliers;
 The weather proof BBQ area, well it is a bank holiday isnt it;
The old garden BBQ still giving good service:
 The weather today was hit and miss but warm enough;


Dan H. said...

That ain't Rattus rattus, that's Rattus norvegicus (black rat versus brown rat).

As it happens, black rats (AKA ship rats AKA plague rats) are probably a bit above the northernmost point of their range here in Britain; they don't breed particularly successfully outside of human dwellings, as they can't really take the cold. You only really get populations of these in ports, where the local numbers get topped up periodically from visiting ships; they don't spread from ports.

R norvegicus (which certainly didn't originate in Norway) is a different beast altogether. It can breed and tolerate British winters, more's the pity, but it is a recent arrival here. R. norvegicus wasn't here in medieval times.

Finally, to lay to rest a mystery, bubonic plague does not always need rats to spread. The disease reservoir is in marmots in central Asia, but it'll infect rats, cats and humans equally happily, and the medieval pandemic strain could spread human to human (or cat to human) quite happily. This finding is a profound relief to most epidemiologists, since the cause of plague is the bacterium Yersina pestis; it isn't particularly common and is susceptible to quite a range of modern antibiotics. The alternate hypothesis for bubonic plague, that of an unknown long-incubation period filovirus, was a truly scary notion indeed since viruses are much harder to treat.

Bambibasher said...

Dan H, thanks for that, I will remember to call him ratty from now on. The cat has finally woken up aged 18 and decided to thin the mice out but the rats are a bit much for him.
My rat knowledge really is limited to what was on the cover of a Stranglers LP in the late 70's!
Regimental rat catcher I wasnt!