#2. You Can't Kill Them
This one's a no-brainer: A monster is only scary if it is somehow harder to kill than a normal person. Maybe it just preys on the defenseless, like the killers from Scream, or maybe it possesses a supernatural constitution, like literally every other, significantly cooler movie monster. Seriously, Scream, your monster was Matthew Lillard? On a scale of "one to lame," that's like eight. Eight lames.
If you haven't seen it or don't know who Lillard is, we've just spoiled it for you. That's a shame.
But wait, how does this apply to rats? They're tiny little rodents. We kill them with a spring and a bit of metal. Rats aren't invincible ... right? Oh God, please tell us that's right, next sentence ...
Ha ha, not even close, pussies! In certain ways, rats are god damn immortal. For instance, what's the most surefire way you can think of to kill a rat? Poison, right? Well, to start with, rats only eat a small amount of any new food source at first, to make sure it doesn't make them ill. That's right: They caught on. They know you're trying to kill them, and are taking measures to correct that ... mistake.
"Well, you eat one poison chocolate, and then suddenly you've eaten the whole box, right?"
On top of which, humanity is starting to come up against an entirely new strain of rat, something scientists are comfortingly calling "genetically mutated super rats," which are immune to almost every type of poison.
"We must be in a recession. This is the shittiest cyanide I've ever tasted."
Dang! You know shit is getting real when even famously stoic science starts naming their new species like comic book villains.
#1. They Want Your Blood
The most frightening aspect of any movie monster is its insatiable blood lust. Zombies, vampires, wolfmen and even Jaws are all motivated by one simple, horrifying thing: They think we're delicious.
And so do rats.
"Everyone goes to sleep eventually."
Sure, we all know that rats will take a few bites from corpses. (Thanks, CSI! That and "semen on everything." That's all we took away from your show.) But that's just because they're scavengers, right? Rats aren't picky when it comes to their food sources, everybody knows that. But that's not entirely true. There is one thing rats seem to love more than anything else, and given the chance they will risk everything to get it again and again: your blood.
They're basically a bunch of furry little vampires that live in your walls. A 22-year study of urban rat bites found that the most common time to be bitten was between midnight and 8 a.m., while sleeping peacefully in your own bed, unaware that a huge, diseased rodent was chewing on your face. Oh, and that's not hyperbole, either: Rats most commonly go for the face and hands.
This is why you don't teach them to sit on your shoulder. Or gnaw on your ears.
But this is like spiders, right? They might bite you once or twice, but it's either in self-defense or desperation. It's not like they routinely prey on human bei- of fucking course it's like that. Haven't you been paying attention to this article? Once someone is bitten by a rat, their chances of being bitten again dramatically increase.
But ... but why? If it's not defense, and there's plenty of other food, why on earth would they do it?
We actually told you the answer already. It's just that the part of your brain responsible for keeping anxiety in check told you it was a joke. Rats will repeatedly attack the same victim because they seriously and literally want your blood.
In 1945, Professor C.P. Richter did a study to see what exactly attracted rats to humans. He gave a group of rats access to a large quantity of blood, and found that within 24 hours they had consumed it all, even though it was four times as much "food" as they would normally eat in a day. Richter's actual, word for word scientific conclusion: "[Rats can develop] a real craving for fresh human blood."
You think you can pacify them with milk, but when rats have their own temple, you know it's only a matter of time.
And, it bears repeating, these are the things that might be climbing up your toilet right at this very moment. Soooo ... might be time to invest in a good, solid, waterproof safe, eh?