Saturday, April 12, 2008

Rat wars in India

India's armed forces, which have been battling insurgents in the northeast for over six decades, are now engaged with another enemy - rats. The rat population in the northeastern states of Mizoram and Manipur - the two states bordering Myanmar - has witnessed a massive growth. With rats destroying crops and devouring grain, the threat of famine looms over the region. Soldiers deployed in the area to fight insurgents are being called in to help the civilian administration tackle the impending crisis. The explosion in the rat population has been triggered by the flowering of a certain species of bamboo (Melocanna baccifera) that grows mainly in Mizoram but in other neighboring states as well. Thirty percent of Mizoram is covered by wild bamboo forests. The flowering of this bamboo results in millions of seeds being dropped. Rats devour these seeds. The high protein content of the seeds is believed to either dramatically increase fertility rates among the rats or provide them with the nutrition to enhance survival rates of the entire litter. Litters of over a dozen rats survive and within three months are ready to reproduce themselves. This has resulted in a major rat population explosion. Some experts say that the rat population in Mizoram is perhaps ten times that of humans in the state. Source: Asia Times Online

1 comment:

Quasi said...

Well, why don't they just get cats? Wouldn't that solve the problem? BTW, I’d like to tell you that I’ve written a scathingly funny book, The World Is Your Litter Box, which will be out May 6th. The book is cleverly disguised as a cute cat book so humans will buy it, but is, in fact, a how-to manual FOR cats. Check it out on my website,