3. Rats Are Smart
The crafty part of their reputation holds true, as rats are highly intelligent and have infinite ways of getting what they want. Their intelligence also means they are easily trainable and, just like most humans, will go out of their way to do something if they know a reward is in store. Some of their simpler tricks have included coming when called, responding to a treat bell and knowing not to roll the plastic, rolling exercise ball down a flight stairs when they are secured inside it. While the latter might seem like common sense, it was not too common for the poor hamster that tried it. Some of rats’ more elaborate antics have included quickly rushing through mazes that would take humans several hours to figure out, jumping a ship when it’s sinking and playing basketball. Not with the regulation-size basketball, of course, but rather with a miniature ball and a miniature hoop that combined for a miniature slam-dunk. Go, rats, go.
2. Rats Have Personality
Some are hyper. Some are laidback and sweet. Some are hyper and sweet while all are downright comical. There’s no way a rat cannot have a personality based on all the fascinating facts about the species. While they fall into the rodent category — which is the same place you find hamsters, gerbils, mice and even rabbits — they are quite distinct from the rest. Their hairless tails are one fascinating feature, since it is typically as long as the rat and serves to balance him when perched atop a windowsill or play tube. They have the ability to jump incredible distances, and elongate their bodies, enabling them to skitter through the smallest spaces. If a rat’s head fits through an opening, he can contort his body to fit through, too. And if you think that’s something, just wait until they like you and start licking your arm.
1. Rats Are Affectionate
Like most pets that are raised with love (reptiles aside), rats learn to trust you absolutely and thank you when credit is due. Don’t bring home a brand-new rat that has known nothing but life in a crowded pet store in a snake food tank and expect instant results, however. They, too, need to be shown love before they will return it. And return it they will. While there is no way to gauge how many people keep pet rats, we do know there are dozens of rat clubs, rat Facebook pages and rat YouTube videos that prove that plenty of folks are reaping the rewards of rat ownership. If you do purchase one from a pet shop’s snake food tank, know you are also doing the rat a favour by saving his life. Also know your nurturing, love and care will be amply rewarded, perhaps with a tender, tickley, sand paper-tongued kiss.