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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

30 Fascinating Facts

In this post there is 30 fascinating facts. Information provided by the magazine "Rats" from the article "30 Fascinating Facts" written by Kevin Schargen. But tweaked a little by me so its easier to understand. The facts are separated by classification in which the fact goes under. It may sound a little confusing, but you'll figure it out. The first category is:


1. Rats are capable of learning a bagful of tricks. With dedication (and the right treats), a rat can even learn to respond to its name, use an in cage litter box, and learn many tricks.

2. A 1998 behavioral study tested the effects of music on the intellective ability of the rat. Animals that were raised to the brain-building beats of Mozart performed experimental tasks better than those who were raised in a silent setting. ("Improved Maze Learning Through Early Music Exposure In Rats" Frances H. Rauscher, K. Desix Robinson and Jason J. Jens, Neurological Research, Vol. 20, July 1998, pp. 427-432.)
The next classification is:
Health & Handling
3. Respiratory disease is the most commonly encountered illness in pet rats. A bacterium called Mycoplasma pulmonis is the offending agent in many cases. (for more information on Mycoplasma see "Mycoplasma)

4. A high-ammonia environment (caused by poor cage-cleaning habits) and stress are major predisposing factors to respiratory disease.

5. If a rat is slobbering, it may be suffering from heat-stroke or a dental problem.

6. Rats sometimes produce "red tears." The fluid is alarmingly blood like in appearance, but it actually has a red pigment in it called porphyrin. Healthy rats may randomly give off this substance, but a persistent discharge may be a sign of sickness or stress.
7. Although wild rats can have dangerous organisms (like Yersinia pestis, the Bubonic plague-causing microbe), domestic rats tend to be free of such infectious agents. However, take routine precautions, such as hand-washing before and after touching your pet, to minimize the chance of spreading an illness to your pet or contracting one from it.
8. Rat urine and dandruff can cause allergies of both the skin and respiratory tract in humans. Concentrated ammonia in the air increases respiratory allergies, so regularly clean your rat's cage to prevent the buildup of this irritating gas.
9. Picking up a rat by its tail is not an acceptable means of transportation. With one hand securely positioned under the rodents chest, and the other hand cradling its hindquarters, the delicate rodent can be safely carried.
The next category is:

10. Rats are short-lived: The average life span is about 2 1/2 years. (for other information on
how long rats live see "How long do Rats Live?"
11. A rat's hairless tail serves an important function: When the animal overheats, blood flow to
the tail increases, allowing heat to be released directly into the environment.
12. A rat lacks tonsils and a gall bladder.
13. The retina of a rat has very few cones (special receptors needed to perceive color); as a
result, rats have no color vision.
14. Rats, especially albinos (the rats that are completely white with red eyes), can't see very
well, but this handicap is offset by the animal's great sense of smell and sensitive whiskers.
15. Despite not having sharp vision, the rat is a good judge of distance. It is thus able to leap with
confidence and precision.
16. Unlike humans, rats are able to hear high-frequency noises in the ultrasonic range. Keep this in mind when moving your rat's cage, because certain high-pitched sounds - such as metal-to-
metal contact - may be acceptable to your ears, but extremely aggravating to your pet's ears.
17. A rat's muscular anatomy prevents it from ever vomiting, therefore, it is extremely important to eliminate all indigestible toxins - such as poisonous houseplants - from your pets
18. Rats have no thumbs, so don't ask the pet shop for a refund if you discover that your little friend has only eight fingers!
The next category is:

19. A rat as young as 5-weeks-old can become pregnant. But it is not healthy at all and your rat can die if it becomes pregnant that young.
20. The gestation period for a rat is only about three weeks.
Sorry, but that is all I have about reproduction.
The next category is:


21. "Bruxing" (grinding of the teeth) is a form of rat communication that could mean your rat is relaxed - so if your rubbing behind its ear, it might "bruxe." However, it could mean your rat is stressed.
22. Rats have a strong digging instinct, so provide a generous amount of rodent-safe bedding, such as recycled paper litter, in its cage. (For recondmendations on food see "Recondmendations on Rat Supplies")
23. A rat that has been consistently and gently handled from a young age will rarely bite a human. But be cautious of older, poorly socialized rats, as they are more likely to nip.
24. Rats are nocturnal, (meaning they sleep in the day and are awake at night) but can adjust their schedule to their owner's time.
25. Although rats are often thought of as herbivores, they are indeed omnivores (consumers of both plant and animal matter). Therefore, do not allow your rat contact with small rodents, birds or a tank of prized Madagascan hissing cockroaches.
The next category is:
Radical Relatives
26. The rat's heftiest rodent relative is the South American capybara. An adult can weigh as much as a fully grown human!
These are pictures of capybaras.
27. Another intriguing relative is the gundi, a guinea pig-like rodent that goes through life without drinking any water. It gets all the moisture it needs from its diet and fat stores in its body.
The last category is:
Closing Trivia
28. Hundreds of rat species inhabit the Earth.
29. A "mischief" is the correct term for a collection of rats.
30. If you think your radiant rodent has what it takes, you can enter it into one of the many formal rat shows that take place each year.
Sorry, those 7 categories are all of the 30 facts. If you know some other facts, please write them in the comment box, and if there good I will put it on one of these posts.


Desiree said...

Though rats eat both plants and meat I've been told from the day I got my rat, Sampson, that it is a bad idea to give them meat because it makes them mean.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I have two rats both Dumbo hooded, one ive had for 11 months and the other ive had for only a month and i feed them a variety of vegetables and a tiny selection of meats they also have rat nuggets and rat treats. None of them have displayed aggressive tendencies.

Jay said...

Ive been a rat breeder for over ten years. All of my rats have had chicken, duck, meat based cat and dog food for protein and even meal worms as treats. None have ever been mean. Also...although I would NEVER let my rats go thirsty...a rat can go 2 weeks without a drop of water...just another interesting fact

If you don't think rats are necessarily the pet you are looking for, but want a pet similar to a rat, I would look into a chinchilla. This link is great for the history of chinchillas, and is really interesting.

Have any questions or comments? Email me at ratmanbv@gmail.com