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Rats In Jamaica

( Originally Published 1851 )



In no country is there a creature so destructive of property as the rat is in Jamaica; their ravages are inconceivable. One year with another, it is supposed that they destroy at least about a twentieth part of the sugar-canes throughout the island, amounting to little short of L.200,000 currency per annum. The sugar-cane is their favorite food; but they also prey upon the Indian corn, on all the fruits that are accessible to them, and on many of the roots. Some idea will be formed of the immense swarms of those destructive animals that infest this island, from the fact, that on a single plantation thirty thousand were destroyed in one year. Traps of various kinds are set to catch them, poison is resorted to, and terriers, and sometimes ferrets, are employed to explore their haunts, and root them out; still, however, their numbers remain undiminished, as far at least as can be judged by the ravages they commit. They are of a much larger size than the European rat, especially that kind of them called by the negroes racoons. On the experiment being tried of putting one of these and a cat together, the latter declined attacking it.

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