Rat King

Size: 30 x 21

Medium: etching

Year: 2024

Edition: multiple

A subject I explore periodically – Rat King

‘Rat kings have been reported from Germany, Belgium, Estonia, Java, and New Zealand, with the majority of cases reported from the European countries. The existence of this phenomenon is debated due to the limited evidence of it occurring naturally, although the discovery of a live instance in Estonia in 2021 is considered to be proof that it is a natural, albeit extremely rare, phenomenon.Another concern is the possibility that some of the centuries-old preserved museum specimens could be fabricated, such hoaxes being common in earlier eras. 17th–18th-century naturalists proposed many hypotheses to explain this phenomenon. Most were dubious, ranging from the rats getting stuck together during birth and glued later, to healthy rats deliberately knotting themselves to weaker rats to make a nest. A possible explanation is that the long flexible tail of the black rat could be exposed to sticky or frozen substances such as sebum (a secretion from the skin itself), sap, food, or excretory products. This mixture acts as a bonding agent and may solidify as rats sleep especially when the animals live in proximity during winter. After realizing that they were bound, they would struggle, tightening the knot. This explanation is plausible given that most cases have been found during winter and in confined spaces.’ – wikipedia



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