|Common Nicknames||Slimy Scamperers, (Rat) Bastards, Baby|
|Domesticated||Yes (based on subspecies)|
The Rat is a common Aloria mammal which has existed across the world for millennia. Over time, its subspecies have developed several physical adaptations suited to their surroundings. Through all of this, the Rat’s mentality has remained the same. It is a skittish animal, though two of its four varieties are open to domestication. The animal is best known as a pest alongside its smaller cousin, the Mouse, due to its penchant to eat vegetation, stored grains, or pantry foods, but it is also well known as a cute but short-lived pet.
The Rat is a widespread animal whose history across Aloria is virtually impossible to track. They were ubiquitous by the end of the Fourth Void Invasion and existed in the societies of the early Qadir, Altalar, and Ailor on their respective continents. Over the millennia, it seems these animals had adapted to a wide range of terrains and environments, some unique to one region while others were far more common. However, they were ignored for many years by many people and in fact, some suspect that Rats and Mice were long confused for each other until a point a few hundred years ago. Since then, Rats have remained a part of life for many in the world. For some, they are pets and kept out of the reach of felines or avian threats; to others, they are a pest, swarming in the filth of sewers and forming vast nests in the roofs of dwellings. Furthermore, some Rats are kept as animals for experiments and testing by alchemists and scholars, seeking to understand the ways of the world. Finally, they exist instead in the wild away from all civilization, living short lives as prey animals in the world food chain. Despite all these factors, the Rat and its many subspecies will remain a constant and continuous presence in the world.
The Rat is a uniform creature despite its various subspecies. Their bodies are generally a foot long including the tail, weigh a mere pound or two and never exceed five inches in height at their highest point when laid flat. Their heads have a narrow snout ending in a small blunt nose with whiskers. Two eyes of varying colors sit on each side of their head and they have a pair of rounded but narrow ears above that. They are supported by a set of four paws and bear a thin, bald tail. Their bodies are then covered in a thin layer of hair which can vary in color, but is often also greasy due to their larger bodies picking up more moisture and dirt together with their body hair.
As mentioned above, the Rat is a diverse animal. In its spread across Aloria, a wide variety of subspecies have emerged on the various continents to suit a variety of different needs. In general, their population numbers are equal between the two sexes and there is also no sexual dimorphism between males and females. Below can be found a listing of the various subspecies of Rat in Aloria.
- Black Rat: The Black Rat, also known as the Anglian Rat, is perhaps the most widespread rodent in all the world. Coming from Anglia, the rodent spread across the entire Regalian Empire on grain shipments from this one Lordship and can now be found wild in the wilderness or urban areas of Aloria, but also domesticated as a pet. They commonly have black fur (though splotches of other colors are possible) and they vary heavily in size.
- Sewer Rat: The Sewer Rat dominates the underbelly of the urban centers of Aloria, with theories existing that they are as old as Altalar civilization. This species has the greasiest fur, with a range of grey colorations to it, and are often looked to as the cause for diseases spreading because of their disgusting appearance. They are not capable of being domesticated.
- Forest Rat: The Forest Rat is a species commonly found in the forests of Essalonia. It is the only Rat type known for having a lightly furred tail rather than the scaly ones common to all other species. They are also notable for being more fluffy than other Rat species, with fine brown hair. They often fall on the smaller side and are capable of being domesticated.
- Yellow Rat: The Yellow Rat is an exotic species from The Far East and is rarely seen in wider Aloria. They are well adapted to swimming in water, as they often populate Rice fields and focus on eating the bugs that seek to feed on Rice. Despite this purpose, it is more an expression of the food chain, rather than an inherent alliance between them and the Sihai. They have a violent personality when confronted, and make a variety of high pitched squeals when they are threatened, causing a swarm. Their name is actually not Alorian racial insensitivity, instead relating to the pale brown-yellow coloration of their fur.
Life Span and Development
The Rat is an animal born in a small den, whether in an attic corner, some small hole in the forest, or in a damp nest built in a sewer cranny. It can have as many as ten other siblings and all grow rapidly from pink, hairless babies into miniature versions of their parents by the end of the first month. From there, they continue to rapidly mature, growing to full adult size by the age of three months but they reach sexual maturity by the sixth week of their growth. At this time, they either leave the nest permanently or remain to attract and pursuing mates to attach to the nest. They live rather short lives due to the high predation they suffer from at the hands of a variety of larger animals, as well as their bodies built to reproduce fast. Their average lifespan is only one to two years, even through domestication.
The Rat is a skittery and generally energetic small mammal which lives a very active life. They constantly seek out food in the form of plant matter (and in the case of the Yellow Rat subspecies, insects) to feed themselves and their children. Relations between different species of Rat are often simple, as Yellow and Sewer Rats are quite loathsome of other species of Rats, and the same can be said in return. All subspecies are caring toward their young, though after they reach sexual maturity, parental instinct fades away. Out of the species, only the Black and Forest Rat are capable of being domesticated.
Territory and Groupings
Rat nests are often much larger than those of Mice, numbering into the 100+ range, and forming vast squirming piles should they swarm. These are often led by an Alpha female and male Rat, who lead their nest around as need be. Rats are not very territorial but they can and do face off with other groups not in their own nest should two groups or members from two groups encounter each other. Rats are also more aggressive than Mice and tend to nip, bite, and throw their bodies around to seek dominance.
- Commoners in major agricultural areas like Anglia and Ithania believe that Rats will steal any spare Regals lying around, resulting in artwork depicting them with two coins in their mouths. Mice are often featured with only one as they are seen as smaller and less of a threat than Rats.
- Rats as a whole are often tied to ideas on the spread of plague and death, with scholars claiming the harmful miasma that causes such illnesses clutches to the animal’s greasy hair where it festers for weeks.