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Genetically Engineered Rats: 10 Percent Rabbit, 100 Percent Cute

Written by PETA | April 1, 2010

Sticking up for rats—who are sensitive, intelligent, and nurturing—has always been high on our agenda, although not everyone understands that these dear little mammals are worth caring about … yet.

There is hope, however. For the last 14 months, we’ve been funding two scientists at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) who are formulating a hybrid species that will make rats less despised. You may remember when we lodged a complaint against the INRA for the glow-in-the-dark rabbit, but sometimes good things come from bad. The rabbit genome is nearly identical to that of the rat, and we have found a way to put this science and experience to good use. Using the same zygote microinjection process (to which we still object!) that was used to create the glow-in-the-dark rabbit, these geneticists can isolate the gene that’s responsible for bunnies’ cotton-ball tails and then insert it into fertilized rat egg cells. The results are truly phenomenal, producing a genetically engineered rat whom no one will want to harm:


Cute rat


“People are almost certain to be kinder to a tiny mammal with a powder-puff tail,” says PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. “Not only would this pay off in cities that kill these animals with gut-wrenching poisons, it would also make it harder for lab assistants to force-feed toxic chemicals to them or for homeowners to watch them struggle in cruel glue traps.”

Rats with a dominant gene for bunny tails can easily be released to breed with wild rodents in New York and other major cities, creating a “rat pack” whose charms no one will be able to resist.

Written by Logan Scherer

Commenting is closed.
  • Simon H says:

    lol funny April fools. Tis too cute! I want to volunteer for alteration too op lol

  • Aymee says:

    A rats tail is not a vestigial appendage. It helps them balance when climbing. To take it away makes the rat as vulnerable as a baby rabbit and will be wiped out by natural predators. This is one of the silliest things I have heard yet. Trying to convince people that rats are adorable is like trying to convince people that all babies are cute. Its not going to happen.

  • clarion says:

    omg for a second there i thought this was serious. don’t you ever scare me like that again! damn april fool’s day!

  • kevin says:

    Good thing was a joke. Caus eif they got in my house i have no problem catching them and feeding them to my snake. I dont care fluffy tail or not they are varments they get in youfr flowercornmealthen poop everywhere. Mongo would love the way that cotton tail tickled his throat as it slid down! HAHAHAHA!!!!

  • george says:

    oh right im so stupid P i should have known sorry peta for like completly exploding at you but i still think you should not abolish dogs as pets

  • Brandon Joule says:

    you got me for a second! haha

  • Brandon Joule says:

    april fools!! …i hope

  • Allen says:

    It’s a little scary how many people were incapable of deducing that this was merely an April Fool’s prank…

  • matt in chicago says:

    this is an april fools joke but as far as peta goes…i would put nothing past them at this point.

  • Kurta says:

    I saw this as soon as it was posted and had no comments. I had like 2 paragraphs written before I looked at the date. Good one I really thought you all went TOTALLY nuts at PETA.

  • Jamiera Martis says:

    I think that animals should only be created through natural ways. Genetically engineering a ratrabbit hybrid does not come under ‘natural’. I love rats as they are. I won’t love a genetically engineered hybrid. I think this idea is ridiculous and you should stop it immediately. It’s not the rat that has to change it’s our opinion of the rat.

  • Jamie says:

    LoL I’m a Fool ya got me! They are kind cute though! I have lop bunny I took in from an abused home so if I seen one of these rats run across the room I’d freak out wonder what fufu has been up too! Bunnies are cute but google rabbit your sure to find ways to prepare it! Sad but true so this wouldn’t really solve any problems might even cause more harm with people trying to trap them and breed them as pets! Good one PETA naughty but funny though Ingrid bumped her head for a minute there!

  • Oliver says:

    This has got to be an april fools joke surely?

  • Jenn says:

    its really funny to see how many people are taking this seriously almost funnier than the joke itself

  • kelly says:

    Love this! Thanks PETA! I can’t believe that so many people took this seriously my gawd lighten up folks.

  • karen says:

    hihihi I just saw how terrible the photo edit is! couldn’t notice that browsing on my mobile earlier But Bravo. It’s a very smart prank

  • Mel says:

    This is an April Fool’s joke because PETA wouldn’t condone cruelty to animals via genesplicing. If you guys can’t figure this out… that’s the biggest April Fool’s joke of all.

  • rick says:

    This a very wacko idea as rats need their hairless long tails for several reasons. The tail is used primarily as a cooling mechanism for hot days much the same as a dog’s tonque. There are tailess rats who are very prone to stroke and heat prostration due to their missing appendage. Secondly rats use their tails for balance when climbing around. Thus the bunny variation may be cute but would zero chance of survival outside in the real world along with polluting the rat genetics that are all ready wrong from the years of being bred in labs for docile natures and hailess for testing cosmetics. Rat live spans have been seriously comprimised from indiscrimant breeding and they rarely make two full years of life. Stop messing up mother nature’s process!!!!

  • george says:

    oh god! peta i have lost all faith in you this is plain wrong and not what AR is about we should be changing peoples mind about rats showing how social and loving rats are not this this isnt a rat this is a hybrid not a rat! WE SHOULD SEE RATS AS HOW THEY ARE we shouldent alter rats to change what people think of them this defiy the whole point. be ashamed peta.

  • shai mace says:

    to make them ‘cuter?’ this is a joke right??

  • Allie says:

    I thought it was pretty funny. I knew that PETA would never fund anything like that so it amazed me that people thought they were serious!! April Fools!

  • Lulu says:

    Good one!!

  • Mari says:

    april fool’s right? I can hardly see PETA encouraging testing on rats… in order to prevent testing on rats…?

  • emma says:

    I’d laugh if the actual april fool was that it fooled you in to thinking it WAS an april fool p But seriously anyone can tell a mile off that this isnt serious peta would never ever fund anything like this if someone actually tried to do this im sure peta would be all over them like a rash trying to stop it. The true peta supporters would know this is a mess about but i guess some people DO believe everything they read.

  • Caitlin Connerney says:

    Not a very good joke… I know PETA can be out of control sometimes and I really didn’t know if this was real or fake. I could see PETA doing this ridiculous thing. Not a good joke certainly not… I had to realize the picture was a awfullydone photoshop job before realizing the article itself was false.

  • Cat =^-^= says:

    This BETTER be an April Fool’s joke… but not a very funny one at that.

  • Jacob says:

    Your April Fool’s day jokes are starting to scare me a little. So many people seem to think this is serious and I can’t tell if that’s because we really ARE that gullible or if you’re just really good at making these jokes look like actual news. I think it’s a little of both. The real news you spread causes us to expect the unexpected making us “gullible” in a way. Although I think this is more obvious than last year. Hate to say it but I actually believed that you were going to put underpants on squirrels for about an hour or two.

  • Shelly says:

    Geez people LIGHTEN UP. AR people can be a nasty bunch let’s have a laugh when we can because we all know they are rare. Why don’t you go post some nasty stuff on sites that harm animals? LOL PETA you had me until I looked at the picture.

  • leda says:

    Ha ha April Fools. I was frightened there for a second. As a rat owner I understand the problems these little guys face their stigma in society and such but cute. I know PETA wouldn’t genetically engineer anything to make it cuter lol. Thats not what its all about!

  • Niranjan says:

    Come on guys! This is just an April Fool’s Day prank!!!!! PETA will NEVER fund such a project you guys very well know that! LOL!

  • bamabunny says:

    I’m assuming the concept of “April Fool’s Day” a traditional day to play pranks see Google changing their name to “Topeka” isn’t recognized by all cultures. It’s a JOKE people PETA does an April Fool joke blog every year! On another subject anybody see Ruben Studdard on Idol last night? Dropped 100 lbs. and attributed it to his VEGAN diet! Preach it Ruben!

  • AcidStar says:

    Making them cute isn’t the same as ‘glowinthedark rabbits’? Isn’t it true that for their species the “cute” rats are nothing but a deformation? Bad bad idea… Let the animals be the way they are. It’s up to humans to understand that regardless of their looks they should not be harmed!

  • karen says:

    I guess this is an awareness campaign of how we judge animals and treat them differently because of how they look. Bunnies are cute to me but not for people who eat them. Rats too might be cute to some. But rats carry diseases so either way we should stay away from them or adopt cats! Playing fair.

  • Fahad says:

    Lucky that this is a joke. April Fools!!

  • Disney Bolin says:

    Bad taste whether this is an April Fools joke or not.

  • Kelley says:

    Smarty Pants!! HA HA!!!!

  • Liz says:

    I am really hoping this is an April Fool’s Joke… I have becoming more and more disgusted with Peta lately after doing alot of research I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true.

  • Cassie says:

    I posted on this before realizing what day it was… I hate April fools day. This better be a joke!

  • Tiago says:

    april fools right?

  • Tom says:

    hah! I even read this and thought for a second “omg is this for real..??” Good one PETA! Very well written april fools post!

  • Danielle says:

    Although I understand that many people dislike rodents because of their tails I feel that manipulating science and changing the genetic makeup of these animals for any aesthetic reason is wrong. I have adopted rats and know they need their long tails for balance and instead of altering the animals we should be focusing on making people more aware of how smart and affectionate these animals truly are.

  • cassie says:

    I have always been a strong and faithful supporter of PETA however this is changing my mind. Playing god to manipulate peoples views is not alright. I am a vegan adopter and donate but this is disgusting to say the least. To release a new version of a species into the wild is tampering with something natural and natural is always better. My money will never go to fund genetic engineering of animals or experimentation and I feel it has.

  • Toby Saunders says:

    I started to post a complaint but then remembered that some unkind people think pranks are funny.

  • andyjack says:

    You will get flak for this! BUT…. it’s a pragmatic approach and it strikes at the heart of how people’s prejudices cause cruelty to the animals oh wait also to the humans! they don’t know very well and fear.

  • claire says:

    I have always been 100 percent behind PETA but that just all went away. Messing with the natural order of things is not gonna make people like rats an better.Rats have long tails for a reason and experimenting on them is supposed to be what PETAs all about stopping.Disgracful PETA shoudle be ashamed. Would you like someone to manipulate your body just because others don’t like it?? would you like to be tested on?. Look at hamsters they still terrify people and their tailess.This is such a waste of money.

  • Nicolette says:

    Happy April Fools right?

  • Mandy says:

    This is a joke right? Tell me you aren’t serious? Please? If you where to genetically modify these rats you’re doing exactly what we’re fighting to stop. There gods animals not ours we don’t have the right to decide what they should look like ect. I think putting a rabbit tail on a rat just to make it ‘cuter’ is ridiculous!

  • Jacob Carroll says:

    april fools ‘ too bad. this is hella cute

  • Leticia Herrera says:

    I really don’t think this is a good idea but I have no suggestions so…

  • Stephanie says:

    I don’t even know what to say I’m speechless. I am appalled and shocked. Cute or not breeding these hybrids and releasing them to the wild is not only a bad idea it could seriously mess up the environment and other animals that live there. No matter how cute no creature will ever be safe from abusive humans. This isn’t helping anything. Shame on PETA for funding breeding projects hybrids and breeding are not the answer.