Follow OneKind


Rats are extremely social and affectionate animals. They enjoy the company of other rats and domestic rats love being with humans too.


Love our site? Help keep OneKind’s work going and click on our ads if you like what they offer!

Facts about rats

  • Rats take care of injured and sick rats in their group.
  • Without companionship rats tend to become lonely and depressed.
  • Rats have excellent memories. Once they learn a navigation route, they won’t forget it.
  • When happy, rats have been observed to chatter or grind their teeth. This is often accompanied by vibrating eyes.
  • Rats make happy "laughter" sounds when they play.
  • Rats succumb to peer-pressure, just like humans. Brown rats are prone to disregard personal experiences in order to copy the behaviour of their peers. The urge to conform is so strong that they will even choose to eat unpalatable food if they are in the company of other rats who are eating it.
  • Although very curious animals, rats are also shy, and prefer to run away than confront a potential threat.Rats are extremely clean animals, spending several hours every day grooming themselves and their group members. They are less likely than cats or dogs to catch and transmit parasites and viruses.
  • A rat can go longer than a camel without having a drink of water.
  • Rats’ tails help them to balance, communicate and regulate their body temperature.
  • The rat is the first of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. People born in this year are thought to possess characteristics which are associated with rats, namely: creativity, intelligence, honesty, ambition and generosity.
  • Rats are recognised as the vehicle of Lord Ganesh in Indian tradition. They are worshipped at the Karni Devi Temple, where priests and pilgrims will feed them grain and milk.
  • Rats are used in experiments in the UK. Find out more about OneKind's Let's not turn back the clock on cruelty campaign to ensure welfare standards in the UK are not lowered.

Back to list

Quick Facts

  • Type: Mammal (Rodent)
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Lifespan: 2-3 years
  • Size: Average body is 25cm long with tail being a further 20cm
  • Weight: 350-450 g for females and 450-650 for males
  • Habitat: Extremely adaptable and can thrive in most habitats providing there is adequate food/water supply.
  • Range: Originated in Asia, but has spread throughout the world.
  • Scientific name: Rattus genus
Screen shot from They're Here movie

Watch They're Here finalist in the Youtube Charity film awards 2011.