Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review of Nova, Rat Attack

Yesterday, I'd mentioned a video that I'd mistakenly attributed to National Geographic. It is the Nova show from 2008 called Rat Attack.

For a show with the name Rat Attack, I would expect it to be full of the myths of rats depicting them as evil creatures that if they look at you, your hair will fall out and blood will drip from your fingers. However, Rat Attack only minimally feeds on people's fears. Rather, it presents a fascinating story about a once in a lifetime event in India in which the bamboo dies off while flowering which provides a bounty of food for the rats whose population skyrockets and then leads to the destruction of the rice crop with the subsequent issues for the people who live there. But, rather than just presenting a knee jerk reflex of nuke the rats, they present how understanding what is going on allows the people to avoid crop destruction and the rat population naturally reverts to normal.

The rats aren't the same species as my pet rats. Mine are Rattus Norwegicus, and the show's rats are Rattus Rattus. It's fun to see all those rats skampering around and they didn't do any pretending that a pet rat is a wild rat. A big pet peeve of mine is Hollywood substituting obvious pet rats for wild rats. Here, though, they were all Rattus Rattus. And, they were cute. Well, they did have several shots of dead rats but those weren't gratuitous shots. They had good reason for collecting dead rats. They were trying to determine where they were in the rat population explosion and they were confirming that the Rattus Rattus population was skyrocketing.

Interestingly, Rattus Rattus has different physiology from my pet rats which contributes to the ability of Rattus Rattus to sky rocket their population numbers even greater than Rattus Norwegicus can, apparently. I'd been impressed with 10-12 babies every month that pet rats can achieve.

So, here's a show that at times can be icky, dead rats, dead rat tails, rat autopsy, etc., but the show is fascinating and even-handed in its treatment of rats. The show really demonstrates well the interrelatedness of the species in an eco-system.

Here's a picture of the first Doctor grasping Patches with a whole bunch of Blondies snuggling behind them. Patches would give Rat Attack 2 thumbs up, but alas, she has no thumbs. Check the picture. They actually have a little bump on the side of their wrists that they use to help grasp, but not an actual opposable thumb.

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