Pop Rats

Animal Scene - - ANI MYTH BUSTING -

It’s some­what funny that peo­ple fear or loathe rats, yet they are an im­por­tant part of pop­u­lar cul­ture and su­per­sti­tions. Here are just a few of the pop cul­ture ref­er­ences to rats:

• In the Chi­nese zo­diac, rats are the first sign. They are highly re­garded as in­tel­li­gent crea­tures and bringers of good luck (es­pe­cially the al­bino/white ones).

• Pop­u­lar films fea­tur­ing rats: Rata­touille, An Amer­i­can Tail, The Se­cret of NIMH, Stu­art Lit­tle, The Res­cuers,

• Peo­ple of­ten say “Rats!” to take the place of a more vul­gar or of­fen­sive ex­ple­tive.

• The pop­u­lar manga/anime Fruits Bas­ket fea­tures a lead char­ac­ter, the “prince” of the story, turn­ing into a rat when he is hugged by girls as a re­sult of a curse. The back­ground story fea­tured in the se­ries says the ox should have been the first an­i­mal in the Chi­nese zo­diac and the cat was Buddha’s fa­vorite, but the smart rat gave the cat the wrong date for Buddha’s party then rode on the ox to get to the venue, leap­ing off its back to ar­rive there first.

• In In­dia, there’s a tem­ple, Karni Mata, in Desh­noke, which is ded­i­cated to the wor­ship of rats. They are con­sid­ered sa­cred there and are hand-fed by visi­tors. The white ones are con­sid­ered aus­pi­cious. Rat stat­ues are also al­ways found in tem­ples of Ganesh, the ele­phant god.

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