How smart are rats?

Rats are usually seen as nuisances at best, or disgusting vermin by most people and almost nobody wants a rat anywhere near their home. But the truth is that rats are amazingly intelligent creatures!

Rats are highly sociable rodents and like to live in families, with other rats to keep them company. Domestic rats can be trained and actually enjoy the company of humans, learning tricks just please their owners. Without the company of other rats or humans, they can become sad or depressed. They are so loyal to their families, that rats can be seen taking care of other sick or injured rats in their families, something rarely seen in the rodent world.

This group mentality also means that communicates with each other using their tails and their whiskers, and even express happiness by making a chattering sound and vibrating their eyes. This range of emotions doesn’t stop here, they also know about peer pressure and making impressions, often “giving in” to what other rats are doing, even if it was not a first - choice activity for them.

Rats have incredible memories that allow them to remember paths, hiding places, food stashes and nests in vast areas of land, meaning they can revisit places they know have been profitable for them in the past.

They are very shy creatures, and though domestic ones love to interact with humans, wild ones will always prefer to hide or run away from a threat instead of attacking. This shyness is just part of their vast arsenal of survival skills. They can last longer than camels without water, eat almost anything and live in the harshest conditions possible. Their tails, apart from communicating, also help them keep their balance when climbing, which they are exceptional at; and helps them regulate their body temperature.

Contrary to common belief, rats are extremely clean. They can spend hours at a time grooming themselves and their family members every day, leaving their nest only to look for food. This means that if city rats are unclean, it is due to human pollution and waste; rats that live in the wild are some of the cleanest animals you can find.

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