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Episodio #94: È l'anno del Topo, ne vorresti uno come animale domestico?

Cat with pet rat crawling on it, studio background, Source: Universal Images Group Editorial

Le celebrazioni del nuovo anno lunare del 2020 segnano l'inizio dell'Anno del Topo, il primo animale del ciclo di 12 anni dello zodiaco cinese. È allora un buon anno per considerare il topo come un animale domestico?

SCARICA la trascrizione col testo a fronte in inglese.

Italian

I topi hanno avuto in passato cattiva pubblicità. 

Hanno la reputazione di diffondere malattie come la peste bubbonica, la leptospirosi e la salmonellosi.

È una sfida anche per il migliore esperto di relazioni pubbliche.

Ma c'è anche un’altra faccia della medaglia per i topi.

La scrittrice e allevatrice di topi Marti Leimbach racconta che c'è molto da scoprire sui topi come animali domestici.

"They're very small pets so you don't need a lot of space but they're really smart. So, they're actually as smart as dogs are. And you can train them, you can teach them, they're very affectionate, every single one of them is different. I mean right now in this house I have 27 rats - no that's not true I have 27 babies, and nine adults. And every single one of them has a different personality, and I can actually predict their behaviour. So to have an animal that's that kind of smart, unique, playful, inquisitive, they're very cheerful, they're clean. It's a pretty fetching combination." 

Secondo alcune voci, la regina Vittoria fu la prima a introdurre l'idea di tenere i topi come animali domestici dopo che il suo celebre acchiappatopi, Jack Black, aveva iniziato ad addestrarli a fare acrobazie.

Anche celebrità come Paris Hilton, John Cleese e Angelina Jolie hanno avuto i roditori come animali domestici.

Il 25 gennaio - l'anno nuovo lunare - segna l'avvento dell'Anno del Topo.

La maestra di Feng Shui e astrologa cinese Foon Chik sostiene che il topo può avere un impatto nelle nostre vite.

"2020 is a rat year, and it's a specific kind of rat year, it's a metal rat. The metal is one of the five elements in Chinese astrology. So there's metal rat, water rat, wood rat, fire rat and earth rat. So the metal rat, the metal element, the qualities of the metal element are about sharpness, clarity and doing the right thing."

L'astrologa ritiene che il topo come creatura dello zodiaco è molto astuto e dotato di ottima parlantina, per cui la diplomazia si trasformerà in uno stadio più pacifico.

E il 2020 potrebbe essere l'anno dell'amore...

"The rat is what's called a romance creature in Chinese astrology, so when it's a year for a romance creature they can be a time when love is in the air, lots of romance, but also the rat can bring about some sex scandals!"

Marti Leimbach informa che, geneticamente, i topi sono molto standard, ma che ci sono diverse varianti fisiche che possono piacere a persone diverse.

"All the rats we have, genetically, are pretty much the same. So they all are what we call "Norway rats" (Rattus Norvegicus) - they're not originally from Norway, they're brown rats. But they do come in a lot of varieties, and those varieties range on ear set, so you have standard top ear rats like these, also Dumbo ears so the ears are kind of out to the side. You have different fur types, so you can have a curly hair or straight hair or satin. A curly hair is called a Rex. And you can even have rats like this, she's a velvet so she has unusually soft fur."

Lois Scott è una delle clienti di Leimbach.

Sta prendendo per sé tre topi - Leimbach non vende topi soli perché si tratta di animali socievoli.

"It feels really exciting because my cat passed away and I haven't been with a pet for a while, for me anyway, because I love animals. And it's really exciting to know that I'm getting three - not only one - but three rats and it's really great."

I topi domestici somigliano ai loro parenti selvatici quanto un normale cane da compagnia ha in comune con il suo cugino lupo.

L'Australian Rat Fanciers Society stabilisce a 60 dollari il prezzo per adottare un maschio sterilizzato.

L’RSPCA del New South Wales rende noto che i topi sono degli eccellenti animali domestici e sono molto popolari tra i bambini.

Allo stesso tempo, l'associazione ricorda che i roditori sono piccoli e delicati e che possono infortunarsi o rimanere stressati se maneggiati in modo inappropriato.

Intanto, secondo l'astrologia cinese, chi nasce nell'Anno del Topo tende ad essere affidabile e ad avere una vita stabile. Potrebbe ottenere potere ed essere in grado di tramutare avvenimenti sfortunati in buona sorte.

English

Rats have had a bad press in the past. 

They have a reputation for spreading diseases like bubonic plague, Leptospirosis and salmonella. 

That's a challenge for even the best public relations expert. 

But there's another side to rats. 

Writer and rat-breeder Marti Leimbach says there's a lot to be said for a rat as a pet. 

"They're very small pets so you don't need a lot of space but they're really smart. So, they're actually as smart as dogs are. And you can train them, you can teach them, they're very affectionate, every single one of them is different. I mean right now in this house I have 27 rats - no that's not true I have 27 babies, and nine adults. And every single one of them has a different personality, and I can actually predict their behaviour. So to have an animal that's that kind of smart, unique, playful, inquisitive, they're very cheerful, they're clean. It's a pretty fetching combination." 

Queen Victoria is rumoured to have introduced the idea of keeping rats as pets after her famous rat catcher, Jack Black, started to train them to do tricks. 

Celebrities including Paris Hilton, John Cleese and Angelina Jolie have all kept the rodents as pets too. 

January 25th - the Lunar New Year - marks the beginning of the Year of the Rat. 

Feng Shui master and Chinese astrologer Foon Chik says the rat could have an impact on all our lives. 

"2020 is a rat year, and it's a specific kind of rat year, it's a metal rat. The metal is one of the five elements in Chinese astrology. So there's metal rat, water rat, wood rat, fire rat and earth rat. So the metal rat, the metal element, the qualities of the metal element are about sharpness, clarity and doing the right thing." 

She says the rat as a creature in the zodiac is very shrewd and a very good talker, so diplomacy will shift into a more peaceful stage. 

And 2020 could be a year for love... 

"The rat is what's called a romance creature in Chinese astrology, so when it's a year for a romance creature they can be a time when love is in the air, lots of romance, but also the rat can bring about some sex scandals!"

Marti Leimbach says genetically, rats are pretty standard - but there are a number of physical variants which will appeal to different people. 

"All the rats we have, genetically, are pretty much the same. So they all are what we call "Norway rats" (Rattus Norvegicus) - they're not originally from Norway, they're brown rats. But they do come in a lot of varieties, and those varieties range on ear set, so you have standard top ear rats like these, also Dumbo ears so the ears are kind of out to the side. You have different fur types, so you can have a curly hair or straight hair or satin. A curly hair is called a Rex. And you can even have rats like this, she's a velvet so she has unusually soft fur." 

Lois Scott is one of Ms Leimbach's customers. 

She's picking up three rats for herself - Ms Leimbach won't sell rats singly because they are social animals. 

"It feels really exciting because my cat passed away and I haven't been with a pet for a while, for me anyway, because I love animals. And it's really exciting to know that I'm getting three - not only one - but three rats and it's really great." 

Pet rats have as little in common with their wild relatives as the average family dog does with his cousin the wolf. 

The Australian Rat Fanciers Society puts the price of adopting a desexed male rat at A$60. 

RSPCA New South Wales says rats make excellent little pets and are very popular with children. 

However, they warn the rodents are small and delicate and can be injured or stressed if handled inappropriately. 

Meanwhile, according to Chinese astrology, someone born in the Year of the Rat tends to be reliable and live a stable life. 

They may hold some power and are able to turn unlucky events into good fortune. 

Report by Allan Lee 

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