Last night I attended a School Transfer meeting with my son. He was enthralled by the biology department (where I had as a 15 year old studied biology). The cause of his excitement? The pet rats being handled by the students conducting the tour. On returning home, I thought I'd read up on domesticated rats, as they were rather appealing little chappies. As I started to research, I was struck by the similarity to a certain Barnet Councillor (and a few of his friends). First of all, the Latin name Rattus Norvegicus. Simply substitute a "T" for the first letter of the name and it seems to sum up our lovable councllor.
There are many little snippets of Rat behaviour decribed on Wikipedia, which reminds me of the way Robert Rams has "risen to the top" of the local Tory hierarchy.
Here are a few examples :-
Brown rats live in large hierarchical groups, either in burrows or subsurface places such as sewers and cellars. When food is in short supply, the rats lower in social order are the first to die.It sounds rather like the way that the non cabinet members were shafted to ensure that the likes of Rams got a pay rise.
It also seems that rather like Barnet's Libraries and Robert Rams, proximity to rat populations can be fatal :-
Similar to other rodents, brown rats may carry a number of pathogens which can result in disease, including Weil's disease, rat bite fever, cryptosporidiosis, Viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF), Q fever and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. In the United Kingdom, brown rats are an important reservoir for Coxiella burnetii, the bacteria that cause Q fever, with seroprevalence for the bacteria found to be as high as 53% in some wild populations.Another similarity with Robert Rams is the way they both squeak to communicate :-
In addition, they commenly sqeak along a range of tones from high, abrupt pain sqeeks to soft, persistant 'singing' sounds during confrontations.Of course not all rat behaviour is similar to Robert Rams and his Tory chums. They clearly seem to be a far more social and amiable bunch
Social behaviorIt is common for rats to groom each other and sleep together. As with dogs, rats create a social hierarchy, and each rat has its own place in the pack. Rats are said to establish an order of hierarchy and so one rat will be dominant over another one. Groups of rats tend to "play fight", which can involve any combination of jumping, chasing, tumbling, and boxing. Play fighting involves rats going for each other's necks, while serious fighting involves strikes at the others' back ends.
Clearly there are some distinct differences. I can honestly say that I've never seen such behaviour (apart from the hierarchy and dominance) in the Council chamber.
By the way, on other matters Rams
I apologise to any rat lovers who may feel that they get a bad enough press without being compared to Robert Rams.