Rat King: What They Are And How They Form

Musophobia is a common fear across the globe as only a few could stand having a rat as a pet. For most people, it is quite scary and unacceptable when rats accidentally crawl on their legs or move around belongings in a creepy way.

If you are scared of a single rat, we can only imagine what would become of you when you encounter a mass of rats tied together at their tail, crawling to find solace or food. As gross as that sounds, you still want to know more about this rat phenomenon, right? Well, here’s your treat! This article contains everything you should know about the Rat King, we bet you’d keep reading until your curiosity is satisfied.

Rat King: What Exactly Are They?

With the term Rat King, your instinct may be playing a fast one on you. Don’t fall for the trick, as far as we can tell, rats really do not have kings or any supreme ruler. The phrase only refers to a collection of rats which have their tails tied together due to one or several possible mechanisms that range from sticky substance to entangling material.

The first point at which these mysterious creatures were noticed was in Germany. They were evidently backed up with a lot of instances proving their existence. From what has been observed thus far, a collection of Rat King varies and the highest has been recorded to be a collection of 32 rats.

Interestingly, the formation of these clusters is not limited to rats alone but has also been seen in squirrel and forest mice. A lot of interpretations have been given in attempts to explain such creatures, some say they are signs of a bad omen while others believe there is nothing apocalyptic about it.

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Rat King
A black Rat: Image Source

The phrase Rat King was derived from the German term Rattenkönig and it originally didn’t connote any meaning related to rats. From what we’ve learned, the word only referred to persons who lived off others, the occurrence of the Rat King stole the name and has been used to date.

Records have it that the earliest encounter of Rat King was reported in 1564. Subsequently, it was observed that the phenomenon is common with the black rats. Meanwhile, evidence of the Rat King has been kept as objects in various museums with the Mauritianum museum in Thuringia housing the highest mummified Rat King consisting of 32 rats, found in 1828.

How Do They Form?

Several scenarios account for the formation of a Rat King. But majorly, it is believed that they are most likely to be formed wherever one would find a mass of rodents. This makes it possible for their tails to be glued together by any sticky substance they dabble in or get entangled whilst trying to escape danger.

As soon as they are knotted together, they begin to struggle in order to free themselves but in that quest, they tend to make a stronger knot which binds them forever. It has been proven that as soon as they are formed, the rodents tend to live a short spanned life.

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Even as there are abundant pieces of evidence suggesting that the phenomenon is real, recent researches have contended that the occurrence of a rat king is almost impossible. In fact, many have specified that the occurrence of a rat king is mythical, asserting that people who claim to have seen them only got hold of several rats and tied them together.

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Despite the doubts, 58 different colonies of rat have been recorded out of which six were preserved to serve as evidence of their existence. Like mentioned earlier, the occurrence of these colonies is common amongst black rats. This is so because of their tails which are said to be semi-prehensible. Also, it has been observed that black rats come together in order to stay warm during cold weather; they end up having their tails intertwined unintentionally.

Considering the fact that rat kings are not common, and the claims suggesting that they never existed, one can understand the feeling of uncertainty and lack of conviction surrounding the creatures. As it’d be mischievous of us to outrightly align with one side of the debate, we will leave you to your own conclusion.

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