“To the world, you are one person. To a rat, you are the world.” — Charlie S.
(PETS/RATS) Today, April 4 is World Rat Day! There’s no doubt rats get a bad rap, but they’re actually really kind and helpful creatures, who can be wonderful pets for people of all ages. In fact, rats are some of the most social, intelligent animals in the world. But sadly, millions are used in research experiments every year.
These sweet animals deserve greater recognition and treatment. In honor of World Rat Day, we urge you to look past the common myths and prejudiced stereotypes. Here are some fun facts that might make you reconsider your opinion of rats, courtesy of Review Online:
- Rats have touchy tummies and whiskers. Rubbing a rat’s belly like you would a dog’s isn’t recommended until the rat trusts you and is very comfortable with you. And if you stroke your rat’s face, make sure to rub in the direction the whiskers grow (stroke back toward the ears) – pulling them forward is very uncomfortable for the rat.
- Rats can sense moods. It’s always best to interact with your rat when you’re in a good mood and feeling calm. Rats can sense tension, fear and other negative emotions in the people who handle them and may respond in kind. Try to give off only good energy when you’re hanging out with your rat.
- Rats grind their teeth but not during sleep, like humans. Rats grind their teeth when they are feeling content. Interestingly, they also do it when they’re feeling stressed. The grinding keeps their tiny choppers at the proper length.
- Rats have poor eyesight. Especially pink eyed rats. Rats will often sway while standing still – they do it to detect motion.
- Rats thrive in the company of other rats. Rats are social and do much better with other rats around. I recommend you have at least two rats so they can keep each other company. Same sex pairs or groups are best. Male rats are generally not aggressive with one another if raised together from a young age.