When scrolling through social media over the last few days, you may have noticed a video of a ‘rat’, bathing itself in a strangely human-like way.
Understandably it went viral, because how often do you see a rodent standing on two legs washing its pits and reaching round to scrub its rear?
After watching it for about three seconds, it’s easy to see the humour in its anthropomorphous ways before scrolling down to your next animal-based meme.
Here’s the video:
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Watch it again though. Really watch it and remove it from the backdrop of being a light-hearted viral video.
If something looks unnatural, it’s probably because it is.
Speaking to UNILAD, Elisa Allen, Director of PETA, said:
Rats are fastidious groomers who don’t need the help of soap and water to stay clean.
Although it’s unclear whether or not this video has been doctored, we hope it opens people’s hearts to these delightful and fascinating animals – who giggle when they’re tickled and purposely put themselves in harm’s way if it prevents another rat from suffering.
Millions of rats – who are all as intelligent and playful as this character – are suffering in laboratories around the world or dying slowly and painfully in cruel traps and they desperately need our compassion.
The rodent is thought not to be a rat but a pacarana or similar South American rodent – the video was taken in Peru.
Dallas Krentzel, an evolutionary biologist who studies rodent diversity at the University of Chicago at the Field Museum, told Newsweek:
With the large head size, bipedal position, flexible forelimbs, short stiff tail, and consistent coat color…this animal fits the ID of a pacarana.
There’s just no other rodent that would fit all of those features and the fact this video was taken in Peru, where pacaranas are known, just seals the deal.
It makes sense this animal could wash itself like a human because it needs that forelimb mobility for foraging and food processing.
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Tuomas Aivelo, a researcher in Urban Rat biology at the University of Helsinki in Finland told Gizmodo the rodent’s ‘movements are pretty strange’ and ‘a rat wouldn’t do that unless there’s something it really wants to get rid of’.
It’s likely someone has covered the rodent in soap and it’s potentially irritated by it, hence the scratching all over to get rid of it, as oppose to human-like scrubbing to get clean.
Me after watching that shower rat: Awwwwe ??
Realizing that it may be in pain: Nooo ??
— J.ColeRo (@franteclavanojr) January 30, 2018
Plenty of people on social media also noticed the dark aspects of the video, observing how there’s no water the rodent is cleaning the soap off with.
Aivelo said it’s ‘totally possible’ the rat was in pain.
This shows it’s worth taking a second look at everything you see online.