Today is World Rat Day! Here’s some “rat” to chew on (ew!)

Written by on April 4, 2018

Today is World Rat Day! On April 4, 1995, the first digest of the world’s longest running discussion groups for rats, the Ratlist, was first sent out. In 2002, a movement started among rat lovers to conduct the first World Rat Day, and chose April 4th in honor of the Ratlist. Since then, this online phenomenon has seeped out from the circle of rat lovers to the general public. Here are some fun facts about the furry critters:

– The most common type of pet rats, the fancy rats, was deemed to be the work of the rat catcher Jack Black. He caught them, bred them for different coat patterns, and sold them to such persons like Queen Victoria of the UK and Beatrix Potter of Peter Rabbit

– The most familiar rat species to humans are the Black Rat (Rattus rattus) and the Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus), generally known as the ‘Old World’ rats or ‘True Rats’, both of which originated in Asia.

– Rats seldom weigh over 1.1 lb in the wild.

– Male rats are called bucks, unmated females are called does, pregnant or parent females are called dams, and infants are called kittens or pups.

– A group of rats is either referred to as a pack or a mischief.

– Pet rats behave differently than their wild counterparts; they do not pose any more of a health risk than pets such as cats or dogs.

– Rats have a very good sense of smell and are easy to train, which has led to their use in Landmine and Tuberculosis detection.

– Depending who you believe, you’re never more than 10 feet, a few feet, or just three feet from a rat.

– Most rats are right-handed.

– A rat’s jaws can bite down with the force of 7,000 pounds per square inch, about the same force as a crocodile jaws.

– Rats fish by dangling their tails in the water and wiggling them about. Fish mistake their tails for worms. When a fish bites, the rat leaps into the water and grabs it.

– Rats show pity to the unfortunate. Sometimes able-bodied rats lead blind rats by allowing the blind rat to hold on to their tail or by each holding the end of a stick in its mouth.

– Rats have good memories. If one family member eats poisoned bait and dies, the rest of the family will avoid similar bait in future.

– More than 550,000 American families own pet rats or mice.

– A Hindu temple dedicated to the rat goddess Karni Mata in Deshnoke, India, houses more than 20,000 rats. Many people travel far to pay respect to the rats, which are believed to be reincarnations of Karni Mata and her clansmen.

– Rats have traveled in space. The first rat was launched into space from France in 1961.

– Rats are intelligent animals. They are more intelligent than rabbits, hamsters, mice, gerbils and guinea pigs for instance. They also have excellent memories. Once rats learn a navigation route, they never forget it.

– Rats are very clean animals. They spend several hours each day grooming themselves and each other.

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