Year of the Rat: 15 Fascinating Facts About Rats

Did you know that rats can giggle and sing? They love having fun, playing with each other and their human friends, and grooming themselves. According to the Chinese zodiac, 2020 is the Year of the Rat, so we’ve put together a list of 15 facts about rats that will make you fall in love with these fascinating animals:

Rats love being tickled – especially on their backs and tummies. If they’re in a good mood, they even giggle.

They’re altruistic – they’ll save another rat from suffering even if they don’t know the other animal and even if it means having to share food.

They’re very clean. They spend several hours a day grooming themselves and their companions. That’s more washing than cats do!

Rats smell nice. When they’re not forced to live inside dirty cages, their skin has a very pleasant, perfume-like scent.

Male rats sing after sex at frequencies beyond the range of human hearing, around 20 to 22 kilohertz.

Rats’ tails are highly versatile, helping them balance, communicate, and regulate their body temperature.

They adore companionship. They become depressed, anxious, and fearful if they’re alone for long periods.

They have good memories. They can recognise other rats and humans they’ve seen before.

They make great mothers. Female rats with litters will vigorously defend their nests and young.

Rats love having a good time. They enjoy playing hide-and-seek for the fun of it!

When they’re stressed, they grind their teeth.

They’re loyal. They can bond so strongly with humans that if they’re given to someone else, they may pine for their former companion – and, in some cases, may even die.

They smile with their ears. Happy rats have pinker ears, and they relax them so that they hang loosely to the side.

Rats appear to dream about exploring, but they can experience nightmares, too.

Hundreds of millions of rats are killed in laboratories every year.  They are abused in everything from toxicology tests (in which they are slowly poisoned to death) to painful burn experiments to psychological experiments that induce terror, anxiety, depression, and helplessness.

Will You Help Protect Rats?

Rats deserve our respect, compassion, and protection. You can help protect these social and sensitive animals by never buying products that were tested on animals and by signing below to urge Ajinomoto Co., Inc. to stop using rats and other animals in cruel experiments each year: