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5 Reasons Why You Should Care About Rats

Written by Alisa Mullins | July 24, 2013

Last Friday, the owner and the former manager of Global Captive Breeders, LLC (GCB), a rodent and reptile breeder and dealer in Lake Elsinore, California, were arrested and charged with more than 200 total counts of felony cruelty to animals following a two-month PETA undercover investigation at GCB that led to the rescue of more than 16,000 rats and hundreds of reptiles. Not only was this the largest seizure of animals in California history, it also was the largest rescue of neglected rats in U.S. history.

Rats don’t always get a fair shake, but authorities in this case rightly treated their abuse with the gravity it deserved. We’d like to see a lot more people treat rats with more kindness and consideration, and here are five reasons why:

1.      They giggle.

When Dr. Jaak Panksepp, professor of veterinary and comparative anatomy at Washington State University in Pullman, tickled rats’ tummies, they laughed in high-pitched chirps that are inaudible to human ears without special equipment.  

 2.      They help each other out.

In a study conducted at the University of Chicago, rats responded to other rats’ cries of distress and let them out of an uncomfortable tube, even if it meant forgoing a food reward to do so.

3.      They have superpowers.

Rats have an extremely wide range of vision and can move their eyes independently of one another. In essence, they have eyes in the back of their heads.

4.      They can learn tricks (and so can mice).

Rats and mice are so smart that they can recognize their names and respond when called.

5.      They’re good mothers.

In The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights, PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk writes about a woman who recalled watching a mother rat groom her babies and teach them to shell the peanuts that the woman left out for them and to dart and run if danger approached. The mother rat dipped the babies’ paws in water and smoothed the fur around their ears and faces while they obediently sat still with their arms around their mother’s neck.

Ready to fight for rats’ rights? Visit our animal experimentation and wildlife pages to find out what you can do to help.

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  • Angie says:

    I don’t have any rats or mouses but I do have hamsters I would love to get a rat they are so cute and smart (:

  • Sheila O. says:

    This viedo horrified me and I was shocked to see that such cruelty could take place. I’m only fifteen but I have a pet rat named Sumi and have always been a rodent lover. I agree with “erin mette” that Peta should make a petition about this to save rats around the world today!

  • Jeaneen says:

    Hi, I love Rats. I had Rats as pets for many years. They are very affectionate, love to play and really become our furry babies.

  • erin mette says:

    There needs to be a petition about this and needs to stop!!!! I had pet rats and coco would’ve rather been with me than her own babies… they are smarter than dogs and cats, and that video angered me!!! peta please do something about this!!! use this letter if you want to start something… Please!!

  • Laurin says:

    I love rats. They are intelligent, affectionate creatures. I have rescued several rats that most likely came from pet stores like petco. ALL of them got cancer after a few years! I took them to vets that all said most females get breast cancer after a year or two. Thats not normal! I feed them an amazing raw diet. Why are they all doomed to cancer? :(

  • PAOLO italy says:

    Hi PETA…I think your work is very important…don’t stop!!

  • Charly says:

    I didn’t know this! Its absoloutely terrible! From now on I’m going to respect the rats and mice more often <3