The GREen Pod

Welcome to the special series of The GREen Pod, made and hosted by the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) at the University of Greenwich. Tune into this series of podcasts to hear about some of the fascinating sustainability work being conducted by scientists at NRI as they study insect behaviour, pest and disease control, climate change, gender inequality, social mobility, pollution and plastics, crop disease and food systems and waste.

Episode 3 -Rats - the perfect pet or the stuff of nightmares? They’re agile, cunning and adaptable; fierce, loyal and curious. Rats are remarkable animals that can be tricky to control. Disease spreaders but also life savers; rats present us with the ultimate paradox. Can humans and rodents ever peacefully co-exist? Should scientists spend time trying to understand these creatures, or should their efforts be solely concentrated on trying to wipe them out?

Show Notes

Join host Linden Kemkaran as she speaks to Professor Steve Belmain, an expert in ecology at the Natural Resources Institute, and part of the Agriculture, Health and Environment Department at the University of Greenwich.
Steve discusses whether rats really are too clever to control and why he thinks it’s unwise to anthropomorphise rodents and give them human characteristics. 
By examining some of the myths and fears associated with rats, Steve explains why it is sensible to fear them, but also why we should respect and praise them for their usefulness. 
Certain rodents possess behaviours and characteristics which are incredibly valuable to humans in terms of bomb and illness detection.
Steve suggests that some rats are so useful and trainable that we could see them being deployed instead of sniffer dogs at airports and ports very soon.

 Fun Fact: Rats are incapable of vomiting and they also suffer from ‘neophobia’ – the fear of new things. Why is it important to understand facts like this in order to control them? Listen and find out …! 

What is The GREen Pod?

Welcome to the University of Greenwich sustainability series of podcasts. Created by students and volunteers, with support from the Sustainability Team. Whether you’re looking to brush up on knowledge, learn something new or delve into a specific niche, there’s a show for you. The podcasts were launched during the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 to keep connections between the sustainable agenda and our students and staff.

Switch on, sit back and enjoy these discussions with peers and professionals alike.