13 Fascinating Facts About Rats
Rats have a terrible reputation for spreading death and disease. But there are some facts about rats that you probably didn’t know.
Rats carry infectious agents that transmit diseases like plague and Leptospirosis. They have known to transmit more than 35 diseases, according to Center of Disease and Control (CDC).
Striped mice, Gambian rice, and door mice were also allegedly held responsible for the Monkeypox Epidemic in 2003. But there are some facts about rats that you probably didn’t know.
Did you know that they have personalities and emotions? Probably not! Let us set aside the characteristics that give them a bad name for a bit, and focus on the interesting aspects of these misunderstood rodents.
One of the many facts about rats is they are highly skilled swimmers. If they were allowed to compete in the Olympics, Michael Phelps would have some serious concerns. They can hold their breaths underwater for up to three minutes, and wade in the water for as long as three days.
#2. They Are Revered in Some Cultures
More than 15,000 rats are housed in a temple dedicated to the Hindu goddess Karni Mata. Here they are sheltered and worshipped. Templars believe that they reincarnate as rats in their next lives.
People feed the rats, walk with them, and consider killing them virtually the same as blasphemy. And if someone does accidentally kill one, they have to replace it with a gold rat-statue. Surprisingly, the bubonic plague never infected the people living inside the temple, although it did pervade in the residents of nearby areas.
#3. They Have a Special Mechanism to Regulate Body Temperature
Rats have different behavioral adaptations than humans. They don’t sweat. The dilation and contraction of blood vessels in their legs regulates their body temperature.
#4. A Rat’s Teeth Can Grow Freakishly Long
Just like human fingernails, there’s no stopping a rat’s teeth. They can grow to up to 5inches in a single year. To keep them at a reasonable length, rats constantly gnaw.
That’s why they’re often found chewing on all kinds of stuff, including wood, lead, aluminum sheets, and even wood.
#5. There Are Many Different Types of Rats
Contrary to popular belief rats don’t just have a single species. There are 56 species of rats in all ―Norway rats, roof rats and pack rats, to name a few. They also come in different colors; black, brown, the variety is diverse.
Related Article: “Types of Rats and What They Look Like”
#6. Some Rats Are Massive
Don’t tell me that at least one monstrous rat the size of a full-grown dog hasn’t scared out of us. Sure, small sized-rats are prevalent, but massive species are not that uncommon. The Gambian Pouched rat, though not as bulky, still measures a massive 3 feet in length.
The Sumatran Bamboo rat can grow up to 21 inches in length and weigh a massive 8.8 inches.
#7. Rats Are Prolific Breeders
You shouldn’t show leniency in eliminating a rat infestation because rats are prolific breeders. A female rat can reproduce every three weeks, giving birth from six to 10 offsprings in each cycle. In 4 months, these pups are sexually mature to have offspring of their own.
#8. Rats Have Feelings and Form Friendships
One of the fascinating facts about rats is that like us they have feelings. Rats live in packs and thrive in communities. Here they socialize and play together. They are grief-stricken at the loss of a playmate. After the loss of a close friend they even go on hunger strikes, and have bouts of depression.
Interestingly, rats take care of each other in troubling times. If one of their friends gets sick or injured, they will move mountains to ensure his well-being.
However, they’re reluctant to make form friendships with unfamiliar rats, and might even attack them if they feel threatened.
#9. They Are Clean
Surprisingly, rats are clean animals and spend long hours grooming themselves and their buddies. They pay heed to cleanliness to such an extent that they’re considered cleaner than cats and dogs.
“They are grief-stricken at the loss of a playmate. After the loss of a close friend, they even go on hunger strikes, and have bouts of depression.”
#10. Rats Can Laugh
According to researchers, when rats play their serotonin levels surge. As a result, they emit a muffled laugh, similar to a cricket’s chirp.
#11. Rats Are Virtually Blind
Although rats are colorblind, they compensate for their limited eyesight with their remaining senses. A rat’s hearing is also a great tool to sense danger. They are also excellent climbers courtesy of their multifunctional tails.
Their sense of taste, touch, and smell is extremely receptive and helps them to interpret their surroundings, and find food.
#12. They Used to Live Longer
The average lifespan of a rat is 1 to 3 years, but, back in the 90s, there was a rat which lived to the remarkable age of 7 years, and ingrained his name in the Guinness Book of World Records.
#13. Rats Endure Harsh Conditions
Rats are more resistant to carcinogens and radiations than humans. Researchers have dosed them with toxic substances in several experiments, but they have never shown any signs of cancer.
They are also tolerant of harmful acids and can survive long periods in the absence of oxygen. Living in a place, saturated with heavy metals, without developing a disease, is normal for them.
So what do you think of these amazing creatures now?***