How I got the idea for my picture book, ‘Jurassic Rat.’

I was surfing the web for information on rats. Roof rats had invaded my roof. Consequently, I wanted to find a way to persuade them to leave. I don’t like to poison the poor things.

I came upon this significant discovery; ‘ A Chinese Super Rat Roamed Earth 160 million years ago.’

A FOSSIL of the oldest known ancestor of modern rats had been unearthed in China.


Bingo! Jurassic Rat was born.

I realized that no one had written about an insignificant rat that managed to hide from gigantic dinosaurs and still be alive today. Although, modern rats anatomy are slightly different from their ancestors – then again, so are humans, in respect to their ancestors.

Aren’t we, Homo Sapiens, physically diverse from the Neanderthal man, or farther away in time, from the Australopithecus afarensis, named Lucy?


Do you know how many different types of rats exist? Did you know that they are the most evolved class of animals known as mammalians?

May I name a few of the most common for you?

  • Roof rat, (Rattus rattus) also called the black rat or tree rat for the reason that they can climb trees and not only. Mine climbed up the power lines to reach the bird feeder in the winter, on the second floor. Wow! What an acrobat.

VID_20171208_075542 (1)_Moment_rat 2nd floor.

  • Norway rat, (Rattus norvegicus)  They love to steal a free meal from my dog’s bowl.


This little guy is a skeleton of a Norway rat. No worry, it died by natural causes. I think my cat caught it. I buried it in a paper box. Two months later I dug up the grave to find that the necrophagous insects had done a brilliant job. There lay only the rats bones and a few tuffs of fur. I  brushed off some dirt and debris then assembled the skeleton.

(I wore gloves and a face mask) Don’t get grossed out; this is called science. We learn a lot from bones.


How many of you have domestic rats for pets? Have you noticed how ingenious they are?

Let me know. I would love to hear from you. Have any of you ever thought of becoming an anthropologist or a paleontologist when you grow up?

Oh! I forgot to mention that the roof rats moved out after I introduced them to my cat, named Giant. In Italian, I call him Gigante.




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Author: eleanorannpeterson

As a child, I spent my summer holidays by the swamp catching tadpoles and other creepy critters or running after wild animals. I wanted to become a veterinarian when I grew up. But destiny turned my life around - I moved to Italy, where I obtained my BS in Environmental Sciences and Territorial Management. When not working in our family-run business, I write, read, play with clay, doodle, and go on scavenger hunts in the woods, followed by my six cats.

5 thoughts

  1. Hi. First of all congratulations on your debut picture book! I have many tree rats in my garden. They love the old carob trees in particular. They also make nests in my exterior airconditioning units and I had a nest in the motor of my car. They chew their way through anything 🙂 I’ll be happy to read and review your books once it’s published. We share a love of animals and nature, Eleanor. Glad to connect.

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