Sunday, 15 July 2007

Furry mammals

I saw a rat this evening.

I wasn't frightened or freaked out. I didn't think yuk, or dirty, or disease. It just looked cute.

And then years of conditioning desperately tried to overcome me. There were voices in my head saying things like "plague" and "death." I resisted and tried to hold on to ideas like cute and cuddly.

About a minute later I saw a rabbit. I didn't have any little voices saying "myxomatosis."

And I wondered why rats were singularly demonised? We don't squeal with horror when we see squirrels or rabbits. Even the mouse is only reviled by the woman in Tom and Jerry cartoons and my friend Sandra.

Do rats have exclusivity on the ability to carry disease? I know they can harbour weil’s disease, salmonella, tuberculosis, cryptosporidiosis, e.coli and foot and mouth disease but I don't think they are the only mammals with this ability.

Squirrels can carry lyme disease which has so many symptoms I lost interest reading them, plague and mad squirrel disease which is likened to mad cow disease.

Rabbits are primary carriers of tick fever which can be a serious illness, tularemia which produces ulcers and a fever that lasts a month, powassan virus which can cause severe encephalitis and rabies.


Helen said...

But little bunny rabbits are so cute.
When I worked on a local paper, about 18 years ago, we ran a story about a pensioner who was attacked by a rat.
She said it was the size of a large cat. It grabbed her by the throat because they are apparently short sighted and it mistook her neck for light at the end of the tunnel. Or something.

Ann said...

I'm not saying bunny rabbits aren't cute apart from the one my brother had which was called Rambo for a reason. I just think rats are kind of cute too.