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The Lair Of The Rat King

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posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 08:26 AM
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For those people phobic about rats, the Rat King would seem like the ultimate embodiement of evil. It is astonishing that this phenomena actually exists and their creation is an enduring mystery.

The rat king is a term used to describe a group of rats (numbering between just a few to a few dozen) who have become inexplicably and permanently tangled together by their tails.
Here is a mummified rat king from Germany:




These squeaking, quivering heaps are very rarely found but in some countries they are considered a portent of disease and disaster.

My interest in the subject started only recently when a builder friend of mine related a tale of a grim discovery to me.

He was renovating a shop for a company here in the UK when he came across an unusual mound of decaying rat corpses. He reported that there were about 10 or 12 carcasses in all. He was convinced that he had stumbled upon an 'Elephants graveyard' of rats - a place where rats go to die.

Perhaps he was right or perhaps the dead rats were left there by some pest controller. Either way, he was so offended by his find that he was immediately obliged to shovel the whole lot into a plastic bag and heave it into a skip!

Im not saying that what he found was a rat king, as i have said they are extremely rare, but it is a remote possibility and it made me think of what could create these monstrous formations.

Looking at a picture of a rats nest, perhaps an answer makes itself obvious:



Could it be that in the cramped environment of the nest the rats tails twist and knot together sealing the fate of the creatures, forever linking them - literally from the cradle to the grave?

Nobody knows the answer to this. A flaw in this theory exists in that the rats still need to eat and drink. Are they sustained by other rats? Do they crawl across the floor in clumsy unison looking for food and water?



Whatever the explanation, to find a live rat king - wallowing and hopping about in a soup of their own excreta would not be pleasant im sure!

Has anyone else experienced anything like this? If so, i dont envy you!




posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 08:46 AM
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Very interesting read and something i'd not heard of before. Would rats tails tangle that easy?, its hard to tell if they are actually tangled in the pics.



posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 08:54 AM
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reply to post by Catch_a_Fire
 

Perhaps in rare instances they do tangle up. Perhaps the whole tangle is cemented by their droppings?

There are other pictures on the web that demonstrate the formation better.
I dont know why i didnt use them really.



posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 08:55 AM
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I have never heard of such a thing.

Guess you learn something new every day.



posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 08:58 AM
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None of the rats I ever had got their tails tangled. Maybe there is a virus that causes this to happen.



posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 08:58 AM
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reply to post by Night Star
 

Thank you for commenting!

Its my first ever thread and it took me ages to do but i am pleased that people have read my little effort!



posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 09:07 AM
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Shame, that's sad. I will put on gloves and untangle them.
Now off topic, sorry, but I have to know. What is your avatar Silver Star?



posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 09:11 AM
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Hello I have nothing to add but this could be one of the most disturbing posts I've seen in awhile. Glad I haven't eaten breakfast yet.

I love it by the way.



posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 09:27 AM
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This is the only guy I ever heard talk about Rat Kings


I thought it was just a Tina Fey joke...

A pretty disturbing phenomenon.

Rat Kings



posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 09:38 AM
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Originally posted by Silver Star
reply to post by Night Star
 


Its my first ever thread and it took me ages to do


What a great and freakish and creepy first thread. Good work.

I love rats, but this is just something out of a H.P. Lovecraft tale.



posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 10:10 AM
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What a horrible way to go.
The harder you try to escape, the tighter the knot gets.



Maybe someone from India can chime in, they really love rats in India.



posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 10:45 AM
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The dead rats in your first pic look quite old although I'm no expert in rat biology! That would suggest they had been out and about to feed then came back to die?... Really weird.

I always thought the rat king was a method of pest control. By which a load of rats were coupled together into a box or big bag sealed up and left to do their thing. Then a few days/weeks later you open the box to find only one rat remaining alive which had killed the others and eaten them. That rat then had the taste for rats and you let it loose in your barn or whatever and it buggered off to find and eat rats. As it had become the rat king. Might be a load of rubbish but my Da told me this when I was a kid and I believed him


members.fortunecity.com...

[edit on 23-6-2010 by Big Raging Loner]



posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 11:04 AM
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reply to post by Alxandro
 

Those pictures definately illustrate it better.

A nice find, i had trouble locating the ones i used so thanks for putting them up.



posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 11:14 AM
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reply to post by Romantic_Rebel
 

I doubt a virus would cause it, in fact i dont think anyone really knows. To be honest, ive never really had much experience of rats so your guess would probably be better than mine.

Thank you for giving me the idea for my next post. It will be about the strange phenomena of the rats that wear hats!



posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 11:15 AM
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Originally posted by Big Raging Loner
The dead rats in your first pic look quite old although I'm no expert in rat biology! That would suggest they had been out and about to feed then came back to die?... Really weird.

I always thought the rat king was a method of pest control. By which a load of rats were coupled together into a box or big bag sealed up and left to do their thing. Then a few days/weeks later you open the box to find only one rat remaining alive which had killed the others and eaten them. That rat then had the taste for rats and you let it loose in your barn or whatever and it buggered off to find and eat rats. As it had become the rat king. Might be a load of rubbish but my Da told me this when I was a kid and I believed him


members.fortunecity.com...

[edit on 23-6-2010 by Big Raging Loner]


I'm in agreement with what you're stating is the true meaning of the rat king. They are extrmely territorial & will dine on their own kind.

I've worked around rats quite a bit, & I'm sorry to burst your bubble on this, Op, but I don't believe that the rats entangled their tails on their own. I believe that somebody may have tied their tails together after they were already dead. Most rodents would chew a limb, or tail, off to escape being entangled.
Any large snake owner will tell you that it's best to stun the rat prior to putting it in with the snake so the rat doesn't have the opportunity of chewing a hole through the snake in the event that the snake latches on at a bad angle leaving the rat to bite & chew.

I have to call hoax/urban legend on the theory.
Great post though. Fascinating!



posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 11:22 AM
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Originally posted by Big Raging Loner
The dead rats in your first pic look quite old although I'm no expert in rat biology! That would suggest they had been out and about to feed then came back to die?


You are right.

It somewhat disproves my 'tangled at birth' theory doesnt it?



posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 11:23 AM
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Thank you for this thread, (I think).
I was just sitting around, and hoping somebody would touch upon a topic that would upset me, and burn itself into my psyche for the rest of my life.

And, here you are! Hurray! Lucky me!

Hehe.

But, really, I thought I had seen everything. Wrong.

Thank you for reminding me once again, that the world is a really, really weird place.



posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 11:28 AM
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reply to post by Afterthought
 

It does have a bit of an urban myth quality to it. You could be right.

I dont discount the possibility of it being real though, so i think i'll try and dig up some more info.



posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 11:49 AM
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I've heard of rat kings before, but also believe rats would bite off their tails before dying like that. Anyone know if there has ever been a case of a rat king that was still alive?



posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 11:49 AM
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I've heard of rat kings before, but also believe rats would bite off their tails before dying like that. Anyone know if there has ever been a case of a rat king that was still alive?






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