Rats have been blamed for many things, from drinking beer, to eating currency and ruining clothes. Now, the latest allegation against the four-legged, long-tailed rodent is the consumption of cannabis at a police warehouse of all places.
The Mathura Police in Uttar Pradesh accuses rats of “eating” more than 581 kg of marijuana, which was found last month and was subsequently scheduled to be produced in court.
The entire cannabis loot was kept at the highway and Sher Garh police stations’ warehouses and was worth a total of Rs 60 lakh (over 70,000 U.S dollars). According to the policemen in charge, the rodents consumed 80% of the total loot until they (the policemen) decided to destroy the rest. Descriptions of the precise sequence of activities that took place after the rats allegedly consumed the cannabis, however, are a bit vague.
In response to this bizarre claim, most Indians and international observers are baffled.
Subham Singh, a pest control officer, says rats can’t consume as much cannabis as the Mathura Police claims. He also stressed that 100 rats could not consume 581 kg of cannabis within days. Similarly, the court argued that rats cannot ingest so much marijuana and that several rat carcasses would have been discovered if a big group of rats had consumed the marijuana.
The Court’s Decision
The court has established new rules for the police to sell off confiscated marijuana at auction or publicly dispose of it. The court ruling states that since a rat problem plagues most police stations and storage houses, the court has decided that there must be guidelines put in place to protect the cannabis that has been seized.
The judge, Sanjay Chaudhary, identified three instances when rats damaged cannabis stored in police warehouses.
First, the police had claimed that over 180 kg of pot had been “destroyed” by rats when the court requested them to exhibit the marijuana they had captured as evidence.
Another incident had 386kg of the drug, and according to the authorities, “part” of it was “eaten up by the rats.” Lastly, eight Argentine policemen were sacked in 2018 after they claimed rats were responsible for 500 kg of marijuana stolen from police storage.
According to Judge Chaudhary, the police had 700 kg of cannabis being held at police stations in the Mathura area, all of which were now at risk of rat infestation. Considering the rats were “too little,” he said that the police might lack the necessary skills to handle the situation. Therefore, the only way to secure the stolen products from “such courageous vermins” was to auction them off to research institutes and pharmaceutical companies, with the revenues going to the government.
Later, the court ordered the removal of rats in all stations and warehouses. The Judge also requested evidence showing that rodents had indeed ingested marijuana. The police team has also been instructed to provide a report and supporting documentation in this case by November 26.
After the trial, Mathura City Police Superintendent Martand Prakash Singh told CNN that rain and water, not rats, had destroyed the marijuana. He denied the court allegations stating that rats were not mentioned in the report provided to the court. He said that the only thing the police had indicated was that the rain and water had destroyed the cannabis they had collected.
Similar Rat Consumption Habits in India
As mentioned before, rats have been blamed for a series of weird evidence disappearances worldwide within the last decade.
For example, the cops detained three males in 2020 at the same Shergarh police station with 386 kg of marijuana stashed in a vehicle. The SHO of Shergarh police station testified in court that the confiscated marijuana kept in the warehouse had been “eaten” by rats. But, Shergarh Police Station is not the first in India or elsewhere to assert that rats had consumed marijuana or drank alcohol.
Another excellent and early instance is when rats were reported to be responsible for devouring 540 kg of marijuana that had gone missing from police storage, according to Pilar, Argentina, authorities in April 2018. The missing marijuana wasn’t discovered until a police officer detected an error in the weight of the amount of marijuana confiscated.
The third example is Arid Bihar. In the years after Bihar prohibited alcohol in 2016, police have performed countless searches, detained thousands of individuals for consuming alcohol, confiscated several bottles of foreign and domestic liquor, and conducted numerous arrests. All of a sudden, multiple bottles of alcohol went missing after the authorities in Bihar’s Kaimur district seized 200 beer cans with aluminum steel tops and stored them in a storeroom in 2018. Patna’s police personnel claimed that rats drank the booze. After further examination, it was discovered that the individuals treating themselves to the booze bottles were not the rodents but rather constables Nirmal Singh and Shamsher Khan. It is noteworthy that both men were drunk when they finally got arrested.
Another instance was when technicians were sent to fix a broken cash machine in Assam in 2018; they discovered that bank notes worth over 1.2 million rupees (US$14,691, UK£12,143) had been destroyed. The entire incident was blamed on Rats.
Last Words: What Science Says
Experts explained that the assertion itself was improbable. Only on extremely rare occasions will the animals mistake medication for food, and if they did, “a huge group of mice would have ingested it. However, the absence of rodent carcasses within and around the scenes negates these claims. Additionally, it has been established that Lab rats become drowsy when exposed to marijuana’s primary psychoactive component, THC, according to a University of British Columbia research from 2016.
In this research, twenty-nine rats were trained to participate in an experiment where they had to select between an easy or tough job to get goodies. The rats usually chose the more complicated – and rewarding – activity, but after administering the THC, the same rodents preferred the easier tasks.