December 5, 2022

For information about the photo, which is only marginally relevant to the post, skip to the end.

Minkurinn - the mink - was imported in 1931 for the fur, and was to become a new production line for farmers. The government subsidised the business heavily, but it never gained ground as intended. Big losses occurred, though there are still mink fur farms in Iceland.

Already in 1932 minks escaped captivity and in 1975 they had colonised the whole island. They er among the three mammals inIceland that are not protected - meindýr, remember? The other two are rats and mice. They wreak havoc in all nesting areas and cause huge damage in the very profitable eiderdown production.

Fur farming is highly debated in Iceland, with one side advocating for an end to it (for animal cruelty reasons), while the other side extolls the positive effects fur farming has on Iceland‘s carbon footprint.

Rats. Rottur. Brúnrotta, or brown rat, more specifically. That's our rat. Its larger relative, svartrottan (the black rat) arrives here occasionally, by boat, but apparently doesn‘t thrive or survive in Iceland, for some reason. No sources claim the presence of rats in Iceland before the 1700s, and those also arrived by boat. Of course, how else? Iceland is so unique, that even our rats are unique! The rats in Iceland are unique in that they mostly live under ground, in the sewer system. Rats in other countries live above ground, in nature as well as under ground, but I think we can all figure out why. So if you catch glimpse of a rat running in the tall grass, it will most likely be because a sewage main has burst. 

We could not find a map of where ratts mostly reside, but it‘s long been thought that you‘ll find most of them in the West part of Reykjavík. They have of course spread out into other parts of the capital area, as well as the country side. But they're always close to ushumans. Because they love sewers.

Miðbæjarrotta is a relatively new term used to describe someone who lives and breathes the city centre area of Reykjavík– 101 Rvk.

Instead of a sewer rat as a cover picture, we've gone with a Hero Rat. Often vilified, (some) rats are actually very clever, especially when trained. The photo is of one of the many rats trained (by APOPO) to save people by sniffing out land mines, diseases, and more, and now most recently they are being trained to rescue earth quake victims buried in rubble. For that they get little back packs. As a reward: a little bit of banana is enough. Hard to hate rats when they are trained into possessing superpowers!


Minkur = mink

pl.: minkar

Rotta = rat

pl.: rottur


Mið = centre

Bær = town

Rotta = rat

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