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Rats

Discussion in 'Animals on the Titanic' started by Thomas Cattus, Aug 13, 2000.

  1. I noticed during James Cameron's movie Titanic, that during the sinking many rats were running along the corridors trying to escape the water. I wonder if the real titanic was as infested with rats as depicted in the movie? Its hard to imagine the real luxury liner Titanic with the likes of the millionaires such as the Astors, the Wideners, and Cardeza's cruising along with rats! It would amaze me that Thomas Andrews the builder, would be going along to work out fine detail and improve customer conveniences, when his ship was infested with rats. It would appear to me he would be trying to erradicate the rats and not worry about how many screws to hold up a coat rack! Seems bizarre that a luxury liner of the Titanic's standard, would be infested with rats by the time of her maiden voyage.

    Also I've been interested in the titanic since my high school days. I enjoy listening to the survivors accounts of the sinking. One survivor sticks out to me and I wish that I could have met her. It was Ruth Becker (Blanchard). She seemed like a very kind and sweet lady. Her accounts of the tragedy seemed so vivid.
     
  2. The Titanic was probably not overrun with the critters, but in that day and age, I would be rather surprised to find that a few didn't get aboard. Rats typically work their way into pallets of food or any other conveinient hiding place and get hauled aboard that way or by simply climbing up the mooring lines. These days, food stores are a lot more carefully inspected and mooring lines have large metal sheilds on them to act asa barrier against unwanted "Passangers". Back then, such barriers weren't always in use.

    Cordially,
    Michael H. Standart
     
  3. George Behe

    George Behe Guest

    Michael Standart wrote:

    >The Titanic was probably not overrun with the >critters, but in that day
    >and age, I would be rather surprised to find that >a few didn't get
    >aboard.

    Hi, Michael!

    Your fears are justified. :)

    A number of rats were seen 'fleeing' the forward boiler rooms the day before the collision, and Walter Lord described how a rat disrupted a party that was taking place in steerage on the evening of April 14th.

    All my best,

    George
     
  4. Hi George, I wonder how the steerage passangers dealt with the rat? (Caught another and held rat races maybe? The next best thing to an election! ;-) )

    Seriously, it's not so much of a problem these days...thank God. Medical officers are pretty vigilant about that sort of thing. On every ship I served on, a representative from the Medical Dept. would be on the peir inspecting stores...especially food stores...to make sure we didn't have "stowaways" of the four or six legged variety Still, the little buggers do slip on from time to time. When I was on the Ranger, a mouse was seen in the dry stores and the Medical dept had to catch it befor we were allowed to pull into Pearl Harbor HI. Took them several days to do it too.

    Cordially,
    Michael H. Standart
     
  5. I have no experience of shipping myself, but from what I've read, it wasn't that uncommon for rodents to stowaway on ships. Saying that, I expect that the incident portrayed in the film was exaggerated for the sake of melodrama. The connection with the ancient saying about 'rats deserting a sinking ship' is obvious...

    Bottom line, there may well of been a few rats lurking around in Titanic's bowls, but I doubt there were too many. Considering that the Titanic was so new and all...
     
  6. William, being new doesn't neccessarily mean much. The ship was tied to a peir for a little over a year after launch just being fitted out, and I've never seen photos of rat gaurds on the mooring lines. Rats go where they can and stay wherever there is a ready source of food.(Discarded leavings from shipfitters lunches for example. The little buggers breed fast too, so if you can't keep them off, controlling them is a real nightmare.

    Cordially,
    Michael H. Standart
     
  7. Hi All,
    I read in Senan Malony's book "The Irish Aboard Titanic" that one of the stokers deserted the ship after he saw a pet cat departing the ship with her kittens.So, there went one of the "ratters" to help with the problem!
    Elaine
     
  8. Hello Michael,

    You say you've served on ships before? Well, in that case, I guess you must know your business...

    Is this the reason some ships had a ship's cat? As a furry rodent exterminator...
     
  9. Hi William, I suppose it's possible, though all of my experience was in U.S. Navy warships. None that I served on had any mascots while I was stationed aboard.

    The ships I served on were the USS Ranger, USS Mahlon S. Tisdale, USS Germantown, USS Comstock(I was on the commissioning crew for this one.) and the USS George Washington.(The carrier, not the missile sub.)

    Cordially,
    Michael H. Standart
     
  10. angeline2011

    angeline2011 Member

    i remeber that scene, it was like as if they knew the ship was sinking!