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50+ Fascinating & Fun Rat Facts You Never Knew!

Nicole Cosgrove

Rats are animals that have been captivated in the human mind for years. From ancient societies that worshipped rats to Pixar movies that children love, humans just can’t seem to get enough of rats, despite their somewhat squeamish and scary appearance.

To learn more about rats, read on. We offer over 50 fascinating and fun rat facts you never knew. You will probably be shocked to learn about such interesting and complex creatures!

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Rat Health and Body

rats inside cage
Image Credit: Pixabay

1. In just 3 years, rats can produce half a billion offspring.

2. Rats can have up to 22 babies at one time.

3. Some female rats can go into heat just 10 hours after birth.

4. In just six hours, a female can mate up to 500 times if desired.

5. The kangaroo rat can live 10 years without any water.

6. Rats have a shockingly impressive sense of smell. They have even been used to detect diseases and landmines.

7. Whenever rats feel happy, they can make a sound similar to laughter, but humans can’t hear it.

rats in cage
Image Credit: sipa, Pixabay

8. Most rats can lift up to 1 pound, which is more than the typical bodyweight of a rat.

9. Rats have such a good memory that they can memorize a route just after navigating through it once.

10. Rats are so intelligent that they can play hide and seek.

11. Rats perform better than some humans at certain brain-related tasks.

12. Though much smaller than alligators, rat jaws are built just like the alligators, which allows them to exert a lot of power per bite.

pet rat eating mango
Image Credit: jarleeknes, Pixabay

13. Much like humans, rats are ticklish.

14. Rats have belly buttons.

15. To regulate their body temperature, rats do not sweat. Instead, they expand or constrict the blood vessels in their tail.

16. Rats can fall 50 feet without risking injury.

17. Rat enamel is believed to be stronger than some metals, including steel. Because of the enamel, rats can chew through many substances, such as wire, lead, glass, and even cinder blocks.

18. Though their teeth are strong, they grow their entire lives, which can be difficult and annoying when it comes to eating. As a result, rodents chew at their teeth to keep them short.

Two rats eating pumpkin
Image Credit: Kira Hoffmann, Pexels

19. You can tell how old a rat is by looking at its teeth. The more yellow the teeth are, the older the rat is.

20. Rats can sometimes restart their own heart after having an electric shock.

21. Rats have terrible eyesight and are colorblind. Recent evidence suggests rats see far more than we originally thought.

22. Rats can jump 2 feet in the air when standing still or 3 feet with a running start. A 3-foot jump for a rat is the same as a human being jumping on a garage.

23. Although rats and mice are similar, they aren’t the same. One way they differ is that mice like trying new things, but rats are neophobic. In other words, rats are very scared to try new things, including new food.

24. Some rats can hold their breath for as long as 3 minutes. Plus, they are great swimmers.

rat in water
Image Credit: Piqsels

25. Even though rats are thought of as dirty creatures, they are one of the cleanest animals. They are cleaner than most cats.

26. Rats have one of the most intricate and complex social circles, complete with multiple modes of communication. Rats can communicate through body language, sound, smell, and touch.

27. Rats will get depressed and lonely without proper companionship.

28. Rats can be victims of peer pressure, just like humans.

29. Rats dream in their sleep.


Rats and People

rat in mans hand
Image Credit: Piqsels

30. Every year, rats are responsible for about 20% of agricultural product destruction worldwide.

31. Even though rats are not eaten in America, many countries still choose them as a culinary meat. Indonesia, the Philippines, China, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam are just a few examples of countries that love to dine on rats.

32. During the making of the 2007 movie Ratatouille, Pixar’s animators kept rats in the animation offices to ensure they created animated rats with accuracy.

33. In India, over 25,000 black rats are worshipped in the Karni Mata Temple.

34. There is another monument dedicated to rats and mice located in Russia. It is a 6-foot-tall mouse made from bronze.

35. The most common pet rat is The Fancy Rat, though it isn’t much different from non-domesticated varieties.

two fancy rats
Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock

36. Rat infestations can cost as much as $25,000 to get rid of, though catching the problem early is much more affordable.

37. Alberta, a Canadian Providence, is the largest known inhabited area that does not have any rats. Only about 12 rats a year enter the providence, but Alberta’s rat killing team quickly exterminates the problem.

38. In the US alone, there are around 14,000 rat attacks on people.

39. It is predicted that rats ate $2.1 billion worth of Pablo Escobar’s money every year.

rat in tree branch
Image Credit: Piqsels

40. In 1954, Bombay experienced a terrible rat problem. There were so many rats that citizens could pay their taxes in dead rats instead of money. The program was quickly cut because people took advantage of the system by breeding their own rats to avoid paying taxes.

41. Although rats are often found where people are, certain species like to be on their own. For example, the largest rat species wasn’t discovered until 2009 because it likes to hide deep in the Papua New Guinea jungle.

42. Back in the day, one of the most popular European jobs was as a ratcatcher.

43. Ratcatchers typically had “ratters” with them, which were animals trained to hunt rats, like the rat terrier dog.

44. Queen Victoria kept rats as pets, but she also hired a ratcatcher because the palace was overrun.

45. Queen Victoria’s own royal ratcatcher gifted Beatrix Potter, the author of the Peter Rabbit series, an albino rat.

46. It is believed that the Victorian ratcatcher Jack Black is responsible for domesticating these animals in the 19th century.

rats in hand
Image Credit: Karsten Paulick , Pixabay

47. In the 20th century, many South American dictatorships used rat torture as a form of interrogation.

48. In ancient Rome, the Romans did not have a word to differentiate a rat from a mouse. Instead, they called rats “big mouse” and mice “little mouse.”


History of Rats

49. Rats are called a generalist species, which means they can live in different environmental conditions and adapt based on resources.

50. Antarctica is the only continent on the globe where rats are not present.

51. The first dog known for rat catching was named Hatch.

52. In 1961, a rat named Hector visited space via French ships.

53. It has been suggested that ancient Egyptian birds primarily ate Mediterranean rats.

eagle eating rats
Image Credit: Piqsels

54. Despite its name, the Norway rat does not originate from Norway.

55. The modern black rat did not spread across Europe until the Roman conquests.

56. Even though rats are often cited as the cause of the bubonic plague, recent evidence may suggest otherwise. Because rats can also die from the plague, there should be massive rat die offs if rats were responsible. However, there were no rapid die offs reported. As a result, some experts believe that the Black Death was due to human contact.

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Conclusion

Next time you see a rat, don’t scream in terror. Instead, observe the interesting creature and appreciate its complexity – unless it is inside your home. As we learned above, the last thing you want is a rat infestation because they are so costly to get rid of.


Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.