Attack of the Rats

November 22, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Posted in Lifescape | Leave a comment
clipped from news.bbc.co.uk

A farmer hunting rats
The local farmers call it a flood; an inundation that happens every 50 years.
It isn’t water flooding the precious farmland in north-eastern India, but rats.

A once in a generation, gigantic plague of rats, that ruins crops and leaves people starving.

A rat army so big, so mythical, that until now some scientists did not believe it was real.

This explosion in the rodent population, leading to swarms of hungry pests, is caused by a glut in the food supply, namely bamboo seeds, researchers have confirmed.

Bamboo
is an aggressive plant that has annihilated its competition, and carpeted the area.

Approximately every 50 years, though, that carpet of forest dies off.

an internal clock signals to each plant that it is time to flower, set seed and die.

Bamboo forest (Image: SPL)

“But when the bamboo seed falls – you end up with 80 tonnes of seed per hectare on the ground.

Between June and September 2009 community rat collection campaigns in the Ayeyarwaddy Delta collected more than 2.6 million rats

Dead rats collected in the  Ayeyarwaddy Delta in 2009

‘Rat armies’

Rat in rice crop

Rat tails collected by communities in Burma

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