Rats are scary smart

November 05, 2010

Forget sentient machines, rats are going to take over the world. I'm about halfway through Bill Bryson's At Home: A Short History of Private Life (which is excellent by the way), and he's discussing briefly the evolution of rats in the home. For the past couple of days I've been unable to get the following passage out of my head.

Rats are smart and often work cooperatively. At the former Gansevoort poultry market in Greenwich Village, New York, pest control authorities could not understand how rats were stealing eggs without breaking them, so one night an exterminator sat in hiding to watch. What he saw was that one rat would embrace an egg with all four legs, then roll over on his back. A second rat would then drag the first rat by its tail to their burrow, where they could share their prize in peace.

What the hell?! Perhaps Ratatouille is less fiction than any of us wants to believe.

You should follow me on Twitter here