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JAMA 100 Years Ago
July 11, 2007

THE PLAGUE OF RATS.

Author Affiliations
 

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2007;298(2):234. doi:10.1001/jama.298.2.234-a

The Darwinist tells us that if it were not for the law of survival of the fittest, and for the equally cruel law of Nature which impels sentient creatures to prey one on another, any single given species would within a few years overrun the earth. This dictum seems well borne out in an official bulletin recently issued,1 in which we are warned against the rat. This prolific pest breeds three or four times a year; the females breeding when about four or five months old. The average litter is ten, but it often numbers fourteen or more. As a conservative estimate, a single pair, breeding without check or life losses, three litters of ten each in the year, would in three years have a progeny numbering upward of twenty million. The eleventh generation would begin the fourth year by numbering over one hundred millions. [sic]

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