Rats are far more intelligent creatures than people give them credit for.
In a simple experiment, researchers at the University of Chicago sought to find out whether a rat would release a fellow rat from an unpleasantly restrictive cage if it could. The answer was yes.
The free rat, occasionally hearing distress calls from its compatriot, learned to open the cage and did so with greater efficiency over time. It would release the other animal even if there wasn’t the payoff of a reunion with it. Astonishingly, if given access to a small hoard of chocolate chips, the free rat would usually save at least one treat for the captive — which is a lot to expect of a rat.
The researchers came to the unavoidable conclusion that what they were seeing was empathy — and apparently selfless behavior driven by that mental state.
I like rats more than I like people mostly.
Reason #468 to like rats. They are better than most people.
I actually considered getting a Rat befeore I got Panthro. I had it all planned out. His name was going to be Johnathan and I had my eye on a brown one.
But then I realized, that as much as I enjoyed the idea, I love small animals, but I’m too fearful of hurting them or something.
Occasionally when I’m at work, I’ll hear a customer in the small animal department sneer, “A pet rat? Why on Earth would anyone want a rat for a pet?!” And sometimes when I’m talking to someone about my pets, I’ll mention that I have a rat, and the customer will be absolutely incredulous. In both cases, I usually smile and tell them all about my little Olivia and what a delight she is, and it’s a shame that rats get such a bad rep because they really do make wonderful pets.
A gal I work with printed out a copy of this article and tacked it up on the bulletin board in the break room because one of our co-workers and I are both ratty mamas and she thought we’d get a kick out of it. I think we should post a copy on the rat enclosures on the sales floor so people can understand how awesome they truly are.
Ready for the fiesta! (via That Cute Site)
A question I get asked surprisingly often at work is whether or not we sell clothes for guinea pigs. Sadly we do not; we have an entire section devoted to doggy apparel and, now that it’s Halloween season, costumes for cats as well, but the closet thing we sell to small animal clothes is a ferret harness that inexplicably looks like a referee shirt.
I suppose it’s for the best; I seriously doubt that small animals like to wear clothes like a dog might, and there’s probably a serious risk of hurting the animal when you’re trying to manipulate the tiny arms and legs through the openings in the clothes.
So, my dream of having Olivia wear a little tiny princess dress (since I’m always calling her my “Ratty Princess”) will probably never be realized. Oh, well. I’m still probably going to buy a vampire cape and a sailor bib for my two cats to wear…