Nature & Environment
'Rat king' discovered by farmer in Russia
By T.K. Randall
September 22, 2021 · 6 comments
A rat king specimen kept in a museum in Strasbourg, France. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Edelseider
The unusual phenomenon happens when a group of rats get their tails hopelessly tangled together.
Finding a rat can be an unsettling experience at the best of times, but imagine finding a writhing ball of them, all trapped and tangled together so that they are unable to flee or free themselves.
This was the spectacle that met Alibulat Rasulov - a landowner in Russia's southwestern Stavropol region - when he ventured out into his fields to inspect the damage after a flood back in August.
He found a total of five bedraggled rats - all with their tails tangled tightly together.
Fortunately in this case the rats were lucky as Rasulov later took the time to free them, however most of the time rats that do find themselves in such a predicament have no hope of freeing themselves.
Several examples of rat kings - some with far more rats than this one - can be found in natural history museums across Europe including the "roi de rats" specimen which was found in Germany in 1895.
Exactly how rats end up becoming so tangled however continues to remain something of a mystery.
Source: Live Science
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