Rats are various medium-sized, long-tailed rodents of the superfamily Muroidea. “True rats” are members of the genus Rattus, the most important of which to humans are the black rat, Rattus rattus, and the brown rat, Rattus norvegicus. Many members of other rodent genera and families are also referred to as rats, and share many characteristics with true rats.
Here I am giving you some interesting and must know facts about rats. Check it out…
- Rats have a powerful social chain of command. The largest and strongest rats will get the best food and harborage.
- Rats very lovable animals. They love being in the group of their own species or humans. They like playing collectively and love to sleep curled up together. They take care of the injured and sick rats in their group. When rats don’t have friendship, they can become lonely, depressed, anxious and stressed. A group of rats is called a mischief.
- Rats are sharp animals. They are more intelligent than rabbits, hamsters, mice, gerbils and guinea pigs for instance. They also have excellent memories. Once rats learn a direction-finding route, they never forget it.
- Rats are probing but shy. They choose to run away rather than confront a potential threat.
- Romans considered the rat to be a sign of good luck.
- The term rat generally refers to the two main species of house rat, the Norway rat and the Roof rat. Both species originated in Asia, but have spread throughout the world by human travel overseas. They both belong to the genus Rattus, which includes 51 species.
- Norway rats have a heavy and thick body about 7 to 10 inches long. They weigh about 10 to 17 ounces. Their color may vary from grayish-brown, a pure gray to a blackish- or reddish-brown. Their underside is gray to yellow-white. Their nose and muzzle are blunt, their eyes are small and their ears are close to the body and won’t cover the eyes if bent forward. Their tail is dark on top with a lighter underside and shorter than their head and body.
- Roof rats have a slender body about 6 1/2 to 8 inches long. They weigh about 6 to 12 ounces. Their color varies from black to brownish-gray. Their underside varies from gray to white. Their nose and muzzle are pointed, their eyes are large and prominent and their ears are large and cover the eyes if bent forward. They have a hairless tail which has a uniform color and is longer than their head and body.
- Rats have been used throughout history as food for people and pets, religious icons, laboratory animals, pets, mine detectors, animals used in sports (such as the now illegal practices of rat baiting with dogs,) and some have even been trained to drag wires through walls making some electricians’ jobs go much faster.
- Rats have very poor eyesight and are colorblind.
- Rats are routinely worshiped and fed in the Karni Devi, a temple completely devoted to them. These thousands of wild rats never gave any of their worshipers infected Bubonic fleas even during the plague years – scientists suspect this is because being territorial they kept invading rats (and their fleas) out of the area.
- Most rats are right-handed.
- Rats have been proven to make a laughter-like noise (unable to be heard by the human ear alone) when tickled and dream while sleeping.
- Inbred laboratory rats are created by breeding brother to sister for at least 300 generations. This produces animals who are more than 99% genetically identical, which is more similar then even current clones are!
- An adult rat can squeeze into your home through a hole as small as the size of a quarter.
- Rats can live for up to 18 months, but most die before they are one year old.
- According to the Guinness Book of World Records the longest lived domestic rat died at seven years and four months of age (which far exceeds the 2-3 year expected lifespan.)
- Rats have strong teeth that allow them to chew through glass, cinder block, wire, aluminum and lead.
- Rats do not have any thumbs.
- Rats are a very clean animal; they spend several hours per day grooming them.