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Fifty quirky rat facts

Updated: Mar 13

Rats are among the major worldwide pests. Key rat types worldwide are the Norway rat (brown rat or wharf rat) and the Black rat or the ship rat.

Rat Infestation

Rats have spread across the globe by traveling on ships and have caused havoc on islands by causing the extinction of numerous wildlife, including small mammals, birds, reptiles, invertebrates, and plants. Rats are omnivores, so they survive by eating various human foods and other items. As opportunistic commensals, rats thrive around human settlements relying on people and their buildings for food, water, shelter, and space. Rats are a vector of numerous human pathogens and are thus despised for their habit of transmitting diseases. However, despite the classification of rats as pests, some people favor them as pets because rats can be friendly pets that also learn different behavior from their owners. The popularity of rats as pets over two centuries has led to the evolution of pet rats with sought-after markings and color variations. Rats are among the key animal species favored for medical research. With their keen sense of smell, rats also help detect landmines and diseases. However, most people identify rats as pests, which is their depiction in popular culture. Urban areas with dense building clusters, sewer networks and plenty of fresh food and food waste have led to an increase in rat populations in cities globally. As rats are neophobic and avoid contact with a new object or consumption of new food, they elude simple control measures. Rodent proofing, trapping, and poison baiting are common rodent control tools that pest controllers use but with limited success. Winning the war against rodents is difficult as they are agile, intelligent, and elude capture or baiting. We are sure you will like reading our list of fifty quirky rat facts we gathered through our research below. 1.Squeezing through 19 mm gaps: Rats can squeeze through any hole with more than a 19 mm diameter. 2.Master chewer: The incredible ability of rats to chew through glass, cinder, wires, aluminum, and lead make them enter through most barriers blocking their way into a building. 3.Bucks and does: Like in deer, male rats are bucks, whereas female rats are does. 4.Compassionate creatures: Rats take care of injured and sick members of their rat pack. 5.Good memory: Rats have a good memory, which is why they are popular as research subjects in laboratories. They can remember the spaces in which they live and the paths they take to move around. 6.Social in nature: Rats like to be around their kind and dislike being lonely, so they become depressed. 7.Feeling their way around: Rats brush their long hairs against surfaces along which they are moving to map their surroundings. 8.Incredible sense of smell: Their 1207 olfactory receptor genes give rats a keen sense of smell. As a result, rats are popular for sniffing out landmines, diseases, drugs, explosives, and counterfeit cigarettes. 9.Express happiness: Rats may chatter or grind their teeth when happy and move their eyes. In addition, happy rats may make sounds suggesting laughter. 10.Neophobic: Rats are inherently suspicious of new objects, which makes it difficult to make them enter a rat trap or consume poison rat bait. 11.Peer pressure: Rats imitate their peers and succumb to copying the latter. Such behavior helps in the control of rats through trapping and poison baiting. 12.Wide-ranging vision: Rat eyes can move independently and even focus on objects above them, a habit that helps them to evade predators like birds swooping down on them. 13.Clean creatures: Rats are clean creatures that groom themselves every few hours, like cats. 14.Unusual smile: Rats smile with their ears! A happy rat relaxes by drooping its ears which become pinkish. 15.Dams and kittens: A pregnant or parent rat is a dam, and her children are pups or kittens. 16.Genus Rattus: Only the genus Rattus of the Mammalian order Rodentia qualify to be called rats, though people use the name for members of other genera. 17.Strong memory: Rats can remember people they have seen earlier. 18.Rat catchers: Ratcatcher is an old profession that requires the person to catch rats to prevent their presence and multiplication. Even today, cities worldwide have official rat catchers to keep their rat population at bay. 19.Black and brown: Rattus rattus is the black rat or ship rat, whereas Rattus norvegicus is the brown rat or wharf rat. 20.Colorblind with poor eyesight: Rats are color blind and have poor eyesight. 21.Poop factory: A rat can generate up to 25,000 droppings a year. 22.Athletic creatures: Rats are good at swimming, climbing, and jumping. Rats can swim for a long time and even breathe in water. Rats can jump vertically or horizontally and can climb rough surfaces up or down. 23.Dental age determination: The color of rat teeth indicates their age. Young rats have white teeth, whereas older ones turn yellower like humans. 24.An object of worship: The Karni mata temple in India’s western state of Rajasthan has over twenty thousand rats. 25.Human-like society: Rodents have complex social structures consisting of leaders, assistant leaders, rebels, and outcasts. 26.Vegetarians by nature: Ideal rat food is vegetables and fruits. 27.Ace voyager: Rats have spread worldwide by being stowaways on ships. 28.Culinary delicacy: Rat meat is a popular food in many Asian countries and one African country. 29.Liking their food through smell: By smelling the food odor from the breath of other rats, rats begin liking some foods. 30.The fancier version: The fancy rat is the most common rodent kept as a pet and is a type of Norway rat. 31.Have versatile tails: Rats use their tails to balance themselves, communicate with other rats, and regulate body temperatures. 32.Coprophagic: Rats can feed on their feces to recover nutrients from the substance. 33.Prolific breeders: A female rat litters six times a year, averaging five to ten pups in each litter. A rat pair can easily reach a population of 1,250 to 2000 annually without checks on their breeding and multiplication. 34.Playful: Rats can play hide-and-seek. 35.Ticklish animals: Like humans, rats are ticklish. 36.Bite with a bang: Rodents have hard teeth and a strong grip to let their jaws exert a pressure of twelve tons per square inch. 37.Year-long longevity: Rats can live up to one and a half years but most die before attaining the age of one. 38.Ace diver: A rat can fall fifty feet and remain injury-free. 39.Ace jumper: A rat can jump up to two feet high. 40.Whisking around: Rats feel their way around while moving in the dark by using their whiskers to find out the size, shape, orientation, and texture of an object. 41.Dreaming on: Like humans, rats can dream too. 42.Invasive predators: On islands, rats have become invasive predators of birds whose eggs they devour. Island birds would have evolved without rat-like predators, and the former are decimated by rat attacks on their eggs and chicks. 43.Bruxing their teeth: Rats grind when stressed, contented, or relaxed. Such a phenomenon is bruxing. 44.Long fasting: Rats can remain without food for four days. 45.Food tasters: Rats have a great sense of taste and will taste new foods to ensure they won’t harm them or if they will like it. Due to such behavior, feeding toxic bait to rats is not easy. 46.Pet choice: People have kept rats as pets for at least two centuries. The pet rats are typically domesticated brown or black rats. 47.Only rat-free continent: Antarctica is the only rat-free continent that is too cold outdoors for rats to survive. Also, it has no buildings to shelter rats. 48.Ace swimmers: Rats can even swim up sewer pipes into toilets which makes it difficult to flush them down the toilet. 49.The Dumbo rat: The low, saucer-shaped eared rat that suffers from a congenital malformation due to selective breeding is a popular pet choice. 50.Rat-free areas: Some places worldwide, including Alaska and New Zealand islands, are rat- free.

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