Rats – how far away are they from humans? Are you never more than 6 ft away from a rat?

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How far?

To read the full story follow the link http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20716625

 

Charlotte Pritchard from the BBC has recently completed an interesting article which seeks to challenge the old story of “rats you are never more than 6 foot away from one” and “there are as many rats as humans in the UK”. She has unearthed some interesting facts which challenge these age old tales. It is unclear how these well recited facts came to be folklore but they have been widely reported for at least 100 years.
The one rat per person rule seems to come from a 1909 book entitled The Rat Problem by WR Boelter. In it he conducted a survey where he asked people in the English countryside whether it was reasonable to say that there was one rat per acre of land.It is widely believed now that this was no more than an educated guess. “There were 40 million cultivated acres of land in England at the time so he concluded there were 40 million rats. It just happened that the population of the UK in 1909 was also about 40 million.”
So just how many rats are there in the UK?
About .5% half a percent of dwellings have rats within. Normally this would only be 2 or 3 rats at a time.

About 3% percent of dwellings have rats in the garden, normally in the garden often in the compost heap.

About 5% percent of commercial buildings have rats.

About 5% percent of sewers have rats.

The brown rat or Rattus norvegicus is the commonest form of rat in the UK – but despite its name, it did not originate in Norway and is believed to have spread from east Asia.
The estimate is that there are somewhere around 3.3 million rats in urban environments.

About 40% of agricultural buildings have rats.

The estimate is that there are somewhere around 7 million plus rural rats.

So therefore we have around 10.5 million rats and somewhere around 60 million humans in the UK.

Given the spread of rats  and their numbers divided by our landspace in urban areas the current estimate is that we are never further than 50 metres from a rat. not quite so punchy a story as the old 6ft one but much more accurate!

 

 

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