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Peculiar but very, very Interesting Facts about Rats

1. Rats have poor vision. To improve its ability to identify
what it is looking at, a rat with red or pink eyes often
will move its head side to side. This adds "motion" to its
vision. Rats supposedly also don't see in color.

2. Rats normally prefer to have cage mates. It is possible
to cage male or female rats together, though you should
watch carefully for conflicts when introducing a new rat.

3. You may enjoy keeping both male and female rats. But
beware, rats can breed at a very young age, and if you let
them play together you may discover that rats can court and
mate in just a few seconds.

4. Usually male rats make better "pocket pets," as they
enjoy sitting and having their ears scratched by their human
friend. Female rats are more curious and love to explore and
play games. Both males and females make great and
entertaining companions.

5. Unlike dogs, a rat can eat chocolate without a health
problem (other than weight gain.)

6. Your pet rats, if unsupervised, could eat smaller
animals. Rats are omnivores, meaning that they eat both
plants and animals, and even long domesticated rats still
have enough predatory instinct to consider smaller rodents,
birds, or fish as a handy snack.

7. Rats don't have canine teeth.

8. Rats don't have thumbs.

9. The oils in cedar and pine are toxic to rats and other
rodents, and should not be used in their bedding materials
or cage substrate.

10. A rat's temperature is normally regulated though its
tail. And if the temperature is really high, a rat
will lay on its back so that it can cool off by sweating
through the soles of its feet.

11. A group of rats is called a mischief of rats. Fitting,
isn't it?

12. A red discharge from the nose or eyes of a rat is
usually porphyrin, not blood. One way to tell the difference
is that porphyrin is fluorescent under UV light, and blood
is not. Porphyrin is produced from glands located in the
rat's head behind the eyes. Visible discharge can be caused
by stress or illness.

13. A rat may chatter or grind its teeth when it is happy.
When a rat chatters its teeth it may look like it has
"vibrating" eyes. This is caused by the lower jawbone
pressing on the backs of the eyes. This is a good sign,
regardless of how silly it looks.

14. Your rat's jawbone isn't fused in the middle like a
human's is, so sometimes it may appear that the lower
incisors have wiggled apart some. It is not a sign of a

15. Rats can't vomit. A rat can gag on something if it eats
too quickly. The plus side of this is that rats can usually
eat and drink before surgery, but the negative is that it
can't easily get rid of a toxic substance once it is eaten.

16. A Rat can survive being flushed down a toilet (depending
on the toilet...and the rat of course)!

17. There are officially sixty million Rats in the UK alone.
That's just the ones who returned their census forms.
(That's one Rat for every person!)

18. Rats, even wild rats, are scrupulously clean. They spend
hours every day carefully grooming themselves and each
other. Their reputation for being filthy comes from their
lives with humans, as they like to recycle human garbage. If
people were tidier, there would be fewer wild rats.

19. Rats take care of the injured and sick in their groups,
carrying food to those that are unable to forage for

20. The Rat is the first symbol of the Chinese Zodiac - and
stands as a symbol of cunning and prosperity.

21. The ancient Mayan civilization used to worship the Rat,
as did the ancient Egyptians. Even today there is a Temple
in India devoted to the rat, where hundreds of thousands of
rats scurry around in safety and harmony with the human

22. The herb Valerian is the Ratty equivalent of Catnip. The
Pied Piper is said to have used it in his famous efforts at
rat removal.

23. Around the mid 1300's, the great plague struck in
Europe. The black rat, also known as Rattus Rattus (not a
very unique name) is thought to have been the prime carrier.
The Plague, or Black Death, was caused by infection with a
bacterium, Pasteurella Pestis, which passes part of its
lifecycle in fleas. Rats were plagued by the fleas, and died
of the disease as well. But, since no one knew about
bacteria or viruses in those days, the rats were never

24. Rats are very social and normally prefer to live with
other rats. It is possible to group female or male rats
together, though care should be taken when introducing a new

25. It is estimated there is one rat for each person in the
United States.

26. An adult rat can jump at least three feet (one meter)
straight up and four feet (1.2 meters) out from a standing

27. Rats can climb up the insides of pipes with diameters as
small as one and one half inches (four centimeters).

28. The two most common rat varieties kept as pets are the
black rat and the roof rat.

29. The most common type of rat that is responsible for
residential infestations is the Norway Rat.

30. Rats are breeding mature at only five weeks of age.

See Page Two Rat Facts

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