Rats are almost as fecund as germs.

In New York, under fair conditions, they bear from three to five times a years, in litters of from five to twenty-two. They live to be three or four years old, although now and then one may live somewhat longer; a rat at four is older than a man at ninety. “Rats that survive to the age of four are the wisest and the most cynical beasts on earth,” one exterminator says. “A trap means nothing to them, no matter how skilfully set. They just kick it around until it snaps; then they eat the bait. And they can detect poisoned bait a yard off. I believe some of them can read.”

“The Rats on the Waterfront” by Joseph Mitchell

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