The Rat King – Buy
While I was in the Animal Attic at the Otago Museum it also gave me the opportunity to view the single greatest exhibit on display in the building. The Museum has many fascinating sights including the skeleton of a 17 metre long fin whale which has been hanging from specially designed and built iron girders since 1883. Before going on display, the whale was owned by Captain William Barry, an ex-whaler who made a living from lecturing throughout New Zealand. After exhibiting the skeleton at a store in Nelson, he toured the country with the whale and at one point held a dinner party in its jaws. However, as impressive as the fin whale is, it doesn’t beat ‘The Rat King.’
A Rat King is formed when the tails of a group of rats become tied together in a way that they cannot escape. Usually the tails are knotted and entangled with straw, hay, hair or other material found close to their nests. Whenever I’m at the Otago Museum, I make a point of visiting the Rat King. It consists of eight Black rats whose tails are tangled together with horse hair. The rats had fallen from a nest that was located in a local shipping company shed in the 1930’s. I’d like to own it. I’d put it on display on the mantelpiece in our living room. I think it would really tie the room together however my wife disagrees.