Run for the Hills: The Critters are Coming


What happens when the delicate balance of nature tips in such a way that a particular animal population spikes to unsustainable levels? Pretty much what you’d expect: chaos… famine… and critters out the wazoo.


The wild bamboo forests in northwest India and parts of Burma are home to an odd curse: Every 48 years, like clockwork, they produce an army of hungry rats that devour the local rice crop. The phenomenon is called mautam (which translates to “bamboo death”) and is caused by the life cycle of melocanna bamboo, the local variety. The plants live for exactly 48 years, at which point entire forests die off simultaneously. But before they die, they produce a tremendous amount of seed-filled fruit. The fruit will replant the next generation of bamboo, but in the meantime, it also provides a huge increase in the amount of food available to the local black rat community.

Check out the rest of the critters that are coming!

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