Year of the Rat: 15 Fascinating Facts About Rats

Posted by on January 23, 2020 | Permalink

Did you know that rats can giggle and sing? They love having fun, playing with each other and their human friends, and grooming themselves. According to the Chinese zodiac, 2020 is the Year of the Rat, so we’ve put together a list of 15 facts about rats that will make you fall in love with these fascinating animals:

  1. Rats love being tickled – especially on their backs and tummies. If they’re in a good mood, they even giggle.
  2. They’re altruistic – they’ll save another rat from suffering even if they don’t know the other animal and even if it means having to share food.
  3. They’re very clean. They spend several hours a day grooming themselves and their companions. That’s more washing than cats do!
  4. Rats smell nice. When they’re not forced to live inside dirty cages, their skin has a very pleasant, perfume-like scent.
  5. Male rats sing after sex at frequencies beyond the range of human hearing, around 20 to 22 kilohertz.
  6. Rats’ tails are highly versatile, helping them balance, communicate, and regulate their body temperature.
  7. They adore companionship. They become depressed, anxious, and fearful if they’re alone for long periods.
  8. They have good memories. They can recognise other rats and humans they’ve seen before.
  9. They make great mothers. Female rats with litters will vigorously defend their nests and young.
  10. Rats love having a good time. They enjoy playing hide-and-seek for the fun of it!
  11. When they’re stressed, they grind their teeth.
  12. They’re loyal. They can bond so strongly with humans that if they’re given to someone else, they may pine for their former companion – and, in some cases, may even die.
  13. They smile with their ears. Happy rats have pinker ears, and they relax them so that they hang loosely to the side.
  14. Rats appear to dream about exploring, but they can experience nightmares, too.
  15. In 2018 alone, 177,904 scientific procedures were performed on rats in Great Britain. Many of the animals used were eventually killed.

Will You Help Protect Rats?

Rats deserve our respect, compassion, and protection. You can help protect these social and sensitive animals by never buying products that were tested on animals and by signing these urgent petitions to help stop thousands of rats and other animals from being used in cruel experiments each year:

Read This Before Adopting a Rat

If you think you’re ready to give a rat a loving, permanent home, make sure that you’re sure! Adopting an animal is always a life-changing decision – rats are smart animals, and caring for them requires time, money, and attention. If you’re ready to make that commitment, please don’t buy them from breeders, dealers, or pet shops.

There are many homeless rats who would make great companions, so contact your local rescue group if you’re serious about adopting a pair. Why a pair? Because rats who live in pairs have far more full and interesting lives than those who are housed alone, who can feel lonely and depressed.