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New York Daily Photo: Rats Gone Wild
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Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Rats Gone Wild

Meet Oscar at work. Oscar is a Miniature Schnauzer who lives in the Village. Unfortunately, we have a quite visible rat population in Washington Square Park, particularly at night. They are frequently seen even out in the open, near people, away from bushes, skittering about. The numbers of rats fluctuates, largely depending on the Parks Department's efforts at baiting and picking up trash, which is a big attraction to rats. Trash pickup is never adequate - click here for Garbage a la Mode. Oscar goes crazy when set loose in the shrubbery of the park - he has caught and killed as many as 10-20 rats in one evening. He will chase them, dig for them, track them around trash cans - he is relentless, tireless and tenacious in ferreting them out. However, rats are quite astute and can hear him coming. His owner, Andrea, has at times experimented by removing his tags - he then becomes a formidable stealth ratter and his success rate soars. Schnauzers were originally bred in Germany in the 1800s as "ratters" to keep down the vermin around farms. Miniature Schnauzers are the result of crossbreeding of the Standard Schnauzer to produce a smaller version that could live more easily as a house pet but still hunt vermin. This breed is the 10th most popular in the United States and is well suited to city apartment living. Imagine Oscar at the Karni Mata temple in Deshnoke, Rajasthan, India where rats are worshipped and 20,000 or so run loose. The temple pays tribute to the rat goddess, Karni Mata. Click here for an extensive article. I don't really recommend it, but if you have the stomach for it, see a video here ...


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