It's a no-brainer, really. Whenever you see a whole bunch of rats tangled up together by the tail- it doesn't take a Nostradamus to divine that something bad might happen. You wanna hear something bad? You probably have TOO MANY RATS!
The Rat King is a cryptozoological phenomena that happens when a number of rats are intertwined at the tails- which are stuck together by a gunk made of blood, filth and excrement. Supposedly, the rats all grow together while joined at the tail- and is seen as an omen of ill fortune, particularly in Germany, where the majority of Rat King sightings and incidents have been reported.
The Mauritianum scientific museum in the town of Altenburg in Thurinia, Germany has a display of the largest well-known rat king (above; picture from Wikipedia). It was said to have been found in a miller's fireplace in 1828, and consists of some 32 rats joined together at the tail.
Theoretically, it is possible to have a rat king- assuming there are thousands of rats living in a tightly cramped space. Some of the young rodents just might find their tails inextricably tied together.
With a population of rats under these living conditions comes the increased chance of outbreak and disease- and so the sighting of a rat king in medieval Europe means a plague is about to hit- so no surprise there.
Rat King Sightings
The earliest reported rat king sighting was in 1564. In modern times, however, these incidents are few and far between- most of which were already exposed as hoaxes.
- Bogor, Java. A rat king of ten field mice was found in 1918.
- New Zealand. A rat king discovered in 1930 is displayed in the Otago Museum in Dunedin. It was later found out that the rodents' tails were entangled in a mat of horse hair.
- In 1963, a rat king was discovered by a farmer in the Netherlands. Further investigation using X-rays show that the rats are joined by their fractured tails tangled together, which according to proponents, show that the creatures survived this way for a rather extended period of time.
- The most recent sighting of a rat king was in January 2005, discovered by an Estonian farmer in the region of Võrumaa.