It’s not just Easter Island where rats have made themselves unwelcome. Rats are among the best stowaways, and humans have been carting them about unintentionally for hundreds upon hundreds of years. As we explored various ecologically delicate islands, we brought rats with us. Rats are fantastic opportunists and very difficult to control — many of these pristine islands were simply not prepared for the arrival of rats. So rats would eat the eggs of ground-nesting animals, or spread disease, or outcompete native species — generally, they would muck up an entire ecosystem. And, as pointed out, they tended to carry European diseases which indigenous peoples were not prepared for.
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