The Rat Who Would Not Be Caught

By Deane Barker on October 20, 2005

World’s Most Elusive Rat Dead After 18-Week Chase: Scientists wanted to figure out why rats were so hard to catch, since rats are apparently a big problem in New Zealand (my home country, incidentally).

[…] a Norway rat was originally lured into a trap with chocolate. Its DNA was recorded, and the rat was outfitted with a radio collar and set free on the tiny island of Motuhoropapa off the coast of New Zealand.

With no rats to compete with, the test subject traversed the entire island for about four weeks before settling on a home range, data from the radio collar showed.

For the next four weeks, conventional rat-trapping techniques were employed — snap traps, live traps and waxed devices — without success.

After 10 weeks, the radio signal was lost.

Turns out the little vermin swam 1,300 feet to another island. They confirmed this when they did DNA research on rat droppings on that other island and they matched.

In other news, there is still no cure for cancer.