3 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Your Rat!

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3 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Your Rat!

double rex dumbo rat, courtesy of Judi Cox.
double rex dumbo rat, courtesy of Judi Cox.

Our rats are beautiful, complex creatures that we struggle to understand sometimes. However, we still love them to the moon and back! We’ll never understand why it is necessary to stash our keys under the couch, eat all of the buttons off of the remote, or steal an entire chicken leg from the plate only to cover the wood floors in grease. But, it’s all part of being a rat! Anyways, I’ve got three little things that you might not know about your rats!

Rats Can Only See Within 3 Feet of Their Bodies- If That!

history of the pet brown rat Rattus norvegicus
Rattus norvegicus, aka the brown rat or fancy rat. This is where all of our pet rats came from; and while they suffered a dark, grotesque history, they would not be the modern pet rat that they have become without this behind them.

With the speed at which rats fly to the correct top corner of the cage when we enter a room or arrive home, you would think that the rat could see you as clear as day. NOPE! Rats actually have a very limited field of vision. The most they can see is within three feet of them; and even then, it is still blurry and out of focus.

fawn ruby eyed dumbo and top eared ratsRats’ eyes are not the primary sensory organ that they use to survive. Instead, their noses and ears are the ones who lead them to safety and their food. This does not mean that rats do not somewhat rely on their sense of vision too; as it has been proven in many instances that blind rats are more jumpy, caught off guard more easily, and are generally more timid than rats who have their normal sight. This points to only one conclusion: while the vision of a rat may not be very good, it is still well enough that they WILL miss it should they become blind.

Almost All Rats Are Infected with Mycoplasma

rat mouth teeth and incisorsMycoplasma infections can be super nasty, sometimes claiming the lives of the young, the elderly, and the ill. The active infection is called Murine Mycoplasmosis, while the bacteria itself is called Mycoplasma pulmonis. This bacteria is found on (and in) virtually every pet rat. The only way to eliminate it is to birth a litter via c-section in a sterile lab to prevent the mother from passing it to the kits. Like staph and strep, it can become active when the immune system is under great stress.

Rats Can Detect, Understand, and PREDICT Patterns

dumbo rats
Dumbo rats come in a wide variety of colors and coat types. Isn’t Pico the rat adorable? He’s in a brass like tiny vintage bird cage.

Believe it or not, rats are able to detect pat-terns, under-stand them, and predict what the pattern will do next. As a rat owner, you might see this trait subtly in their every day behavior. Your rats have probably picked up on your daily rituals, such as your night time or morning ritual. They know exactly when they will be played with or fed based upon your activities. They also understand voice cues as well. Rats have actually been able to make surprisingly accurate guesses regarding stock market trends. This was one of the most intriguing studies that I have seen yet. I thought it was PERFECT for showing to those who know very little about rats. It demonstrates their intelligence and ability to learn.

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