Incredible Rat Facts for Kids

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Updated on: Educator Review By: Michelle Connolly

Rat facts, have you ever considered how many facts you know about rats?

Do you know Remy, the rat chef in the Ratatouille movie? This creature is known as a rat. Rats have a good memory and sense of taste, which is why Remy was able to cook in Ratatouille, but this is a fictional character and they cannot cook in real life. However, they are so bright that they can detect and remember the flavour of rat poison.

If you find this rodent creature interesting and want to learn more about it or consider getting one as a pet, let’s get to know them better.

Here Are 10 Rat Facts That You Probably Didn’t Know:

  1. Rats are intelligent and social animals that can learn tricks and respond when called, which is why some people keep them as pets.
  2. Rats do not have a favourite food; they will eat almost anything. They enjoy eating meat, grain products, seeds, fruits, and veggies. They might even try to eat the furniture!
  3. Their sharp teeth allow them to eat anything from glass to wire, and they chew on wood to keep their teeth short, trimmed, and strong.
  4. If you are thinking about getting a pet rat, know that it will bless your life for three years because they live from 18 months to three years.
  5. When a rat is pregnant, she can have up to 20 babies at the same time.
  6. A group of rats is known as “mischief”. Baby rats are known as pups; another name is pinkies, the name likely a reference to their colour at birth.
  7. The whiskers on rats are so sensitive! They use their long hair to touch objects or the floor to get a better sense of their surroundings.
  8. They use their long tails for balance and can direct some of their body heat out through their tails to stay cool.
  9. They’re great swimmers who can hold their breath for several minutes; they can swim for three days before drowning.
  10. They poop so much that one rat can leave 25,000 droppings per year.

Let’s Find Out More About the 2 Types of Rats:

Norway Rats

The Norway rat is known to be larger and more aggressive to animals, humans, and each other, so if you see two rats fighting, you’ll know they’re Norway rats. A “sewer rat” is another name for the Norway rat.

Norway rats prefer to eat cereal grains, meats, fish, nuts, and some fruits, which are all healthy choices.

Their habitat is unusual; they live in fields, farms, buildings, and woodpiles, in other words, anywhere they can hide, and they prefer small spaces. If they infest buildings, they will live in the basement or ground floor. Their nests are usually made of shredded paper or cloth.

They are cute and tiny, but they can cause a lot of damage, such as chewing on things they shouldn’t, such as wires, and causing fires. They urinate on stored foods because they poop so much. The most important reason people avoid them is that they carry diseases.

Roof Rats

Roof rats are the opposite of Norway rats in that they live high off the ground, such as on the roof of a tall building, making them excellent climbers, and that is how they got their name.

Their weak point is that they are colourblind and have poor vision, while their strong point is that they have a strong sense of hearing, smell, touch, and taste.

Roof rats begin reproducing at three months of age and can be pregnant for up to 21 to 23 days.

Roof Rats enjoy a variety of foods such as fruits, berries, vegetables, cereal, pet food, nuts, grain, worms, snails, and rotten food.

Roof rats’ name implies they live anywhere up and nowhere down on the ground, such as the rooftops or lofts. However, they can also be found in shacks, garages, boxes, ceilings, under floors, and wood piles. 

6 Frequently Asked Rat-Related Questions: 

1. What Is the Difference Between a Rat and a Mouse?

I understand how easy it is to mix up a rat and a mouse because they both have similar appearances. However, let me help you tell them apart: their sizes are different. Rats have large, heavy bodies, whereas mice have small, thin bodies. In addition, mice have long, thin tails covered in hair, whereas rats have shorter, thicker, and hairless tails.

2. What exactly is a “rat race”?

The race between two rats to see who can get to the piece of cheese at the other end of the room first by outrunning each other The twist is that they spend much more energy to win the cheese than the reward is worth. 

“Rat race” is also a saying that describes how we get so caught up in life that we forget to enjoy the moment.

3. Can rats see in the dark?

They are known to be active at night, but many people don’t realize that they have poor eyesight and can’t see well in the dark. Instead, they rely on their other senses, such as excellent hearing, a strong sense of smell, and sensitive whiskers, to navigate their surroundings at night.

4. Do rats bite?

They are peaceful creatures, so they prefer to live in quiet places. If you annoy them, they will defend themselves, attack, and possibly bite you. Some rat species’ saliva contains dangerous diseases like leptospirosis and Hantavirus. Rat bite victims may develop a rat-bite fever in rare cases. It’s best to turn around when you see a rat.

5. Can rat be kept as pets?

We are not suggesting that you keep a rat as a pet, but domesticated rats make excellent pets. They are well-known for being intelligent, loving and friendly. They are better pets for humans than hamsters and other ‘pocket’ pets because they are eager to play and learn new things. In addition, in the companion animal situation, they have an almost human quality in that they quickly know their names and come when called by their human.

6. What is the best bedding material for a pet rat?

Paper pellets or corn bedding are far better for domesticated rats. They are extremely sensitive to the fumes released into the atmosphere by common wood shavings, particularly those containing pine and cedar. Pine and cedar shavings contain acids that harm the respiratory, destroying cells that line the lungs and throat.

That’s All for Now on Rats

Thanks to all the information you’ve gathered about them, you’re a rat expert now, but the real question is, would you keep a rat as a pet? And, if so, what would you call it?

If you enjoyed learning about this facinating animal why not check out more fantastic facts about other animals: Koalas, Land Animals, Sharks, Raccoons, Moon and Sun Bears, Rats, Chickens, Cats, Pandas, Monkeys and Whales.

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