People are wreaking havoc on the biosphere. We’re imposing our own form of natural selection, and causing many animal species to go extinct. Scientists call it defaunation—the extinction of fauna—and say it’s happening faster than ever before. Since the year 1500, 320 species of vertebrates have gone bye-bye (and the remaining ones have seen their numbers cut by 25%). Scientists also estimate that that in the past 35 years, there’s been a 45% reduction in the total number of invertebrates on Earth.
There have been at least five mass extinctions on this planet of ours, and some scientists say we’re in the midst of another one. They call it the Anthropocene Extinction Event—the one being caused by humans.
One troubling aspect of this phenomenon is that there’s another species—besides humans—that is gaining from all this carnage: rats. When we cause a big vertebrate species that eats shrubs and grass to go extinct, that food becomes available to rats. Rats are survivors that can adapt to a wide variety of environments, and they don’t need too much food to get by. And human activity has indirectly caused the rat population to skyrocket.
There’s a problem with that. Rats—being the filthy creatures that they are—carry lots of parasites (they helped cause the Black Death, after all). Many US diseases are caused primarily by rats, such as Lassa Fever and Tularemia.
The human population will only continue to grow. And that means more and more people will live in cities—with the attendant cramped living spaces, huge food supplies, and constant rivers of garbage that rats enjoy so much. (Some scientists estimate that the number of rats in New York City is twice the number of humans!) So more humans will mean more rats, and possibly more rat diseases.
Here at Rest Easy, we try to do our part for the planet by keeping the rat population in check. If Nassau rats are giving you trouble, give us a call so you can rest easy.