The Garlic Rat of Alabama, USA

Excerpt from the book Animals Evolution Avoided. This book describes 40 animals that ought to exist but don’t, because I made them up.


The Garlic Rat of Alabama, also known as the Onion Rat of Arkansas, is found in most of the southern states of the USA. The main parts of this rat’s diet are wild plants, mainly  the Wild Onion/Garlic.

All parts of this particular Wild Onion/Garlic plant are edible, the underground bulbs, the long, thin leaves, the blossoms, and the bulblets on top. It’s called both names because while it is a wild onion it has a very strong garlic aroma and the rat eats all elements of this plant. This aroma transfers itself to the rat, both in terms of breath and in terms of body odour. This both hinders and benefits the rat.

It hinders because the rat can always be tracked down by simply following the stale garlic smell, which is why the rat tries to live in windy places where its odour is carried away on the breeze. The benefits are that even if an animal tries to bite the rat, the rat will just breathe over its attacker, who will run away quickly to get some fresh air without pursuing the attack.

Even hawks and owls are put off. If a rat senses it’s about to be attacked by a raptor, it rolls onto its back and breathes and breaks wind simultaneously, filling the air with a pungent aroma that causes the bird to fly off coughing fitfully. Thankfully for the rat, its own sense of smell is poor, allowing the rodent to breed profusely.

Published by Julian Worker

I was born in Leicester. I attended school in Yorkshire and University in Liverpool. I have been to 93 countries and territories including The Balkans and Armenia in 2015, France and Slovakia in 2016, and some of the Greek Islands in 2017. My sense of humour is distilled from The Goons, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, and Midsomer Murders. I love being creative in my writing and I love writing about travelling. My next books are a travel book about Greece and a novel inspired by Brexit.

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