Of Rodents and Humans

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,264
Brassicaland
#1
This very title is clearly a parody of the controversial English textbook Of Mice and Men.
While more than 50% of all mammals are rodents, their relatively small size has rendered them somehow less important than others.
Wait! Rodents and Humans are the most numerous mammals on Planet Earth, and most likely human activities render rodents this numerous.
https://www.britannica.com/list/the-most-numerous-organisms-in-the-world
Rats and mice are usually considered major pests, but they have made considerable contributions to humans by being companion animals (the fancy rats and mice), lab animals, mine and disease detectors (Herorats).
Other rodents have been used for food, fur and companions, such as capybara, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, chinchillas.
We often have a love/hate relationship with squirrels; while they are almost universally considered cute (big eyes, furry and big tails, furry little body, and comic actions), they can be pests as well.
I may start discussing the most important domestic animal very soon.
 

Von Ranke

Ad Honorem
Nov 2011
6,377
Thistleland
#2
Any Excuse does for me to bring Robert Burns into the discussion :)


To a Mouse




WEE, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi’ bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

I’m truly sorry man’s dominion,
Has broken nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An’ fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
’S a sma’ request;
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
An’ never miss’t!

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
O’ foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin,
Baith snell an’ keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
An’ weary winter comin fast,
An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell—
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro’ thy cell.

That wee bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble,
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter’s sleety dribble,
An’ cranreuch cauld!

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o'mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

Still thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me
The present only toucheth thee:
But, Och! I backward cast my e’e.
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!
 
Last edited:
May 2015
763
Wellington, New Zealand
#3
Prior to the arrival of humans on these islands there were no mammals, apart from three species of bats and marine mammals. This meant that all the ecological niches occupied by mammals elsewhere were occupied by either insects or birds, leading to an unusually large number of flightless birds, including the kiwi, the weka, the moa (now extinct), and the kakapo.

The first rodent came with humans ... the kiore (Pacific Rat), and much later of course the Norway Rat, and the Ship Rat ... all these alien species have caused havoc on the native species of fauna and flora and now we're very much concentrating on exterminating the all the predators.

New Zealand plans to exterminate all rats, possums and other pests in the nation by 2050 in a world-first “hugely ambitious” program designed to protect native birds such as the flightless Kiwi. John Key, New Zealand’s prime minister, said the scheme - which the government likened to the first moon landing – is due to begin next year and will use a mix of fences, traps, baits, poisons and new technologies.
New Zealand announces plan to completely eradicate rats*
 
May 2015
763
Wellington, New Zealand
#5
Unintended consequences

Good luck with that. Then look up the Law of unintended consequences, one of mother Nature's favourites. :)
The law of unintended consequences applies to EVERY species of animal imported into NZ including someone's pet pussy, bunny rabbits, sweet song birds, including lambs and calves etc.

All our offshore islands are now predator free after some really hard work ... time now to work on the main islands.

Why restoration is possible on islands
The water that surrounds islands acts as a moat, keeping threats away. Pest mammals can be permanently removed (eradicated) if the islands are too far from each other, or from the mainland for the animals to swim between.
The first attempts at eradication were against larger animals such as wild cattle, pigs, goats and cats. More recently, the smaller species, including mice and three species of rats have successfully been cleared from numerous islands.
Ecological restoration: Offshore islands


Work on the creation of Mainland Islands and protected fly-ways has begun.
https://www.visitzealandia.com/

In the last two centuries, thirteen species of New Zealand’s indigenous birds have officially become extinct, while a further twenty-four species are currently considered ‘endangered’ (that is, having a high or extremely high risk of extinction in the wild).2 Concern about this situation has prompted approaches to bird and habitat protection in New Zealand which are both intense and innovative.
Review: Island Reserves and Mainland Islands, including a Review of Ecosanctuaries | Australian & New Zealand Environmental History Network
 

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,264
Brassicaland
#6
The law of unintended consequences applies to EVERY species of animal imported into NZ including someone's pet pussy, bunny rabbits, sweet song birds, including lambs and calves etc.

All our offshore islands are now predator free after some really hard work ... time now to work on the main islands.

Why restoration is possible on islands
The water that surrounds islands acts as a moat, keeping threats away. Pest mammals can be permanently removed (eradicated) if the islands are too far from each other, or from the mainland for the animals to swim between.
The first attempts at eradication were against larger animals such as wild cattle, pigs, goats and cats. More recently, the smaller species, including mice and three species of rats have successfully been cleared from numerous islands.
Ecological restoration: Offshore islands


Work on the creation of Mainland Islands and protected fly-ways has begun.
https://www.visitzealandia.com/

In the last two centuries, thirteen species of New Zealand’s indigenous birds have officially become extinct, while a further twenty-four species are currently considered ‘endangered’ (that is, having a high or extremely high risk of extinction in the wild).2 Concern about this situation has prompted approaches to bird and habitat protection in New Zealand which are both intense and innovative.
Review: Island Reserves and Mainland Islands, including a Review of Ecosanctuaries | Australian & New Zealand Environmental History Network
Certainly, the Kiwis have all the rights to undo most of the previous abuses, but the Maoris killed off the moas; therefore, even the natives were not totally innocent.
The extinction of elephant birds is another case of the not quite innocent natives.
We most acknowledge that damages have been done, and we are attempting our best to avoid further damages.
 
May 2015
763
Wellington, New Zealand
#7
Certainly, the Kiwis have all the rights to undo most of the previous abuses, but the Maoris killed off the moas; therefore, even the natives were not totally innocent.
The extinction of elephant birds is another case of the not quite innocent natives.
We most acknowledge that damages have been done, and we are attempting our best to avoid further damages.
Early Maori settlers in Aotearoa hunted moa for food. As it was big it provided food enough for a number of people ... it was easy to catch and kill. In the normal cycle of existence the moa was preyed upon by Haast's Eagle ... Te Papa - Tai Awatea / Knowledge Net - Giant eagle (<EM>Harpagornis moorei</EM>), Haast's eagle, or Pouakai
but when moa became fewer the eagle was thought to hunt humans too.

The Maori seemed to have called the bird Te Pouakai or Te Hokioi. Murdoch Riley in his book on Maori bird lore says that most authorities favour Te Hokioi. Other authorities say that the bird was a very large hawk that lived on the tops of mountains, another that it stayed always in the sky and was a descendant of the star Rehua. It was regarded as the ancestor of ceremonial kites, which generally took the form of birds. Elsdon Best records that it was a legendary bird, reputed to carry off and devour men, women and children. The birds were also depicted in rock drawings.
The Haast eagle succumbed to the environmental damage resulting from Polynesian colonisation. It became extinct probably several hundred years ago, along with the Moa, its main food source. Trevor Worthy says that Maori did kill them as their bones have been found in middens and fashioned into tools.
- See more at: New Zealand Birds | Birds | Gallery | Haast eagle, Harpagornis moorei

Clearing the land by fire to create planting areas, and bringing kiore (pacific rats) were the main two ways the Maori contributed to affecting the country environmentally.
 

Nostromo

Ad Honorem
Jan 2014
2,497
Queens
#8
Any Excuse does for me to bring Robert Burns into the discussion :)


To a Mouse




WEE, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi’ bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

I’m truly sorry man’s dominion,
Has broken nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An’ fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
’S a sma’ request;
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
An’ never miss’t!

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
O’ foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin,
Baith snell an’ keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
An’ weary winter comin fast,
An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell—
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro’ thy cell.

That wee bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble,
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter’s sleety dribble,
An’ cranreuch cauld!

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o'mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

Still thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me
The present only toucheth thee:
But, Och! I backward cast my e’e.
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!
Brilliant!

I tried to read it with a Scottish accent... thank God there was no one around to hear it.
 

Von Ranke

Ad Honorem
Nov 2011
6,377
Thistleland
#9
Brilliant!

I tried to read it with a Scottish accent... thank God there was no one around to hear it.
I am glad you enjoyed the poem. Here is a pretty good recital in the Scot's dialect which may help.



Also a song by Ian Anderson titled One Brown Mouse which was inspired by Burn's poem.