31 March, 2010

Rat Attack!



Just kidding. LOL.

Anyways, that title was inspired by the NOVA/Natl.Geo Special program they showed on PBS last night, and I watched, even though I've seen it before. It gets a little icky in some places, since he dissects rats and examines their insides, (I don't feel much for the rats since there were thousands) but it was very informative.

Every 48 years, when the bamboo flowers and creates fruit, the rats appear. They're always there, perhaps one hundred or so in the field the scientist was in, but then they start to multiply.

One female can produce 200 offspring during this time. If you have 50 females, that is 10000 rats in the course of the flowering/fruiting period. So every 48 years, the rats descend on the farmers' fields and eat the crops, once the bamboo fruit had been devoured completely and the rest of the fruit has germinated.

The surge comes in four pulses: 100 to 600, 600 to 1000, 1000 to 4000, and 4000 to nearly 12000 rats. At one point, there can be up to 10000 rats per acre. Consequently, after they've eaten all the rice in the fields, the farmers have nothing to harvest. Famine is the usual occurence afterwards, but now that people know more about this, they can finally do something about it. Like plan ahead and plant crops that ripen faster, to stay ahead of the rats. 


Icewolf said...

....is this real life? or a book?

The Golden Eagle said...

Yes, this is real life in India, where there is bamboo. Makes it creepier, huh?

Icewolf said...

that is SO weird