Jack Black

Everyday Life, Famous Victorians, Home

🎶 This is not the greatest rat-catching in the world, no, this is just a tribute! 🐀

During the 19th century, London population almost tripled, making it the largest city in the world. The metropolis also became a true paradise for rats. 🐀 These clever rodents quickly took over not only the complex sewer system, but also the buildings above it. You could find them anywhere, from pipes and basements to attics and anywhere in between. Getting rid of that many rats was not an easy task and people would hire professional rat-catchers to help them solve the problem. ☠️

The most famous rat-catcher of the time was Jack Black, a man who boasted to work for the Queen herself and strolled the London streets in his flamboyant, colorful uniform. Black used a number of methods to catch and dispose of the rats, but he mostly relied on his trained ferrets and black tan terriers. The ferrets would pursue and “flush out” rats from the underground, and the dogs could track ferrets’ by smell and also kill rats on command. Rat-infested households were a bit problematic, as ferrets could get stuck in the nooks and crannies of the buildings. Because of that, Black had to catch the rats by hand or use more traditional rat traps. Being a prolific entrepreneur, he also experimented with training other animals to help him in vermin disposal, such as raccoons, badgers, and even a monkey! 🙊

More about Jack Black’s methods: https://academic.oup.com/jvc/article/19/4/520/4095121

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