What does Dorset’s 21-inch mega-rat tell us about food and the modern era?
After a photo appeared online depicting a giant rat, several experts offer their view on how it came to be so large
A rat-catcher has caught a giant rat. A photograph of the rodent, stretched out from nose to tail, beside a tape measure shows that it ran to 53cm (21in). Or it did before it ran into the rat-catcher’s manchester terrier.
“There’s a definite increase in rat numbers and a definite increase in size,” says Terry Walker, who caught and measured the creature in Bournemouth, Dorset. (He happened to have a tape measure on him for repairs, not to measure rats.)
Are rats getting bigger – and if so, why? Walker believes they are. “They used to be 14in, 16in. Then 17 became the norm. Then 18,” he says. Last spring, he caught a whopper at 19in, only to see the record broken by a 20-inch rat in Hampshire a few months later. Rat-catching seems as competitive as fishing.
For the full article, you can head over to The Guardian.
Boffins build bugged bees bearing backpacks
Boffins at the University of Washington have developed a portable sensor system for bumblebees, an improvement on previous research that saddled bees with GPS tracking chips, if not a prelude to the autonomous drone insects depicted in Black Mirror.
The researchers – Vikram Iyer, Rajalakshmi Nandakumar, Anran Wang, Sawyer B. Fuller, and Shyamnath Gollakota – undertook the project because insect-size drones run out of power after after 20 to 30 minutes in the air while living insects lack that limitation. They presented their findings in a paper on Tuesday and intend to do the same in-person next year at the ACM MobiCom 2019 conference.
Head over to The Register for the continued article.
Study reveals striking decline of Vermont’s bumble bees
A new study examining 100 years of bumble bee records reveals that almost half of Vermont’s species, which are vital pollinators, have either vanished or are in serious decline.
After conducting the state’s most extensive search for bumble bees, and combing through historical records from museum collections, the team has concluded that four of Vermont’s 17 bumble bee species appear to have gone extinct.
The study, led by University of Vermont (UVM) and Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VCE) researchers, was published in the Journal of Insect Conservation.
For the results of the study, click here.
125 people mugged by seagulls on North York’s coast over three years, claims new report
Some victims have even needed hospital treatment for their injuries. The birds swoop down and attack on the hunt for food.
Officials at Scarborough Council say hundreds of eggs and nests have been removed to try and curb the problem. They also aim to raise children’s awareness of the gulls by going into local school.
For more on this article, head to ITV.