First, I would like to express my frustration with the inadequate allowances the internet makes for spelling conventions and typographical niceties. Well, the internet and also the "movie" software I'm using which doesn't let me create titles with some words italicized and others not. Ditto the title of this post—no italics possible. Sigh.
Rattus rattus (note the italics)—the rat that spread bubonic plague. Why would I have a plastic figure of one? (Actually I used to have two; the lost one was sort of a gelly plastic that was oh, so squeezable, still realistic in aspect, and forever sitting in an upright and inquisitive position, minus the red eyes!)
This might be the post you learn too much about Roz if I answer that question thoroughly! Let's just say that decades ago I came across a book called something like, "Plague, Rats, and Men." (I have searched for it since and not found it. My Amazon search doesn't yield anything familiar. If you know of a book with such a title, please let me know your suspicions and I'll check it out.)
The thing that was wonderful about this book was that it showed how something minute and uncontainable could alter the course of history. I found this fascinating, humbling, and a hell of a lot more scary than any Twilight Zone Episode. A life-long fascination with disease and "medical detectives" followed—which makes sense when you look at the places I've lived and visited.
I also have a huge plastic flea (thank you Danny). Makes sense doesn't it? And about 18 feet of shelf space devoted to books on disease, plague, parasites (don't get me started)—you get the idea, just a little light bedtime reading.