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Adrienne Kruzer, RVT

How Smart Are Rats?

By February 17, 2010

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Rats are extremely intelligent, in case you haven't had the pleasure of experiencing their smarts for yourself.

Scientists have performed studies with sounds and food and discovered they understand much more than we used to think.

Rats understand causal relationships, something scientists thought only humans and some higher primates could understand. This puts rats way up there on the list of the smartest animals!

So make sure you provide enrichment and activities for your rat to keep them busy when you can't play with them. Try making a toy for them to chew, or a maze for them to navigate.

Has your rat done anything to show off their intelligence?

Photo Flickr user jack berry


February 22, 2010 at 5:06 pm
(1) Emma says:

That is sooooo cool. I think of rats in a totally new way now.

February 22, 2010 at 8:02 pm
(2) sysmgr says:

I have owned 4 Rats. You don’t realize how smart they until you own one. Rats are not only smart, they are very loyal to their owners. Rats love people.

February 23, 2010 at 12:25 am
(3) Gail says:

I love my ratters. And they really are intelligent! Most people I know think I’m a loony until they meet my ratters…

February 24, 2010 at 7:13 pm
(4) sam says:

rats are the most adorable animal ever! no offence to dog lovers but i think rats are os much cuter and funnier i have 1 rat her name is fefe and she is the most adorable thing ever!!!!:):P

February 24, 2010 at 7:20 pm
(5) striker(sam) says:

this year i did a speech on rats and i hope a convinced people that rats are actually REALLY REALLY cute and smart and most of my friends reacted when i said i have a pet rat but when they came over and saw her they were like ” omg that is soo cute i want one now”.peace out rat lovers

February 24, 2010 at 7:29 pm
(6) striker8 says:

rats are super cute.my friend has a rat and at first I was in shock but when i saw it i couldn’t get over how adorable it was.

February 24, 2010 at 7:29 pm
(7) sam says:

hey rats are cool

February 25, 2010 at 8:21 am
(8) samstriker says:

hey guys as u can c i like posting notes and all i have to say is rats ……….their AWESOMELY COOL,lol peace out all rat lovers

February 26, 2010 at 4:33 pm
(9) Lisa says:

I have two rats and they are so awesome. They teach you that they have brains too. They are always doing something to get my attention. I am always learning how smart they can be!

November 28, 2010 at 12:31 am
(10) I says:

was that the full article????????

November 28, 2010 at 1:30 pm
(11) exoticpets says:

Well that is the complete blog – did you click on the links in the blog to read more on the hyperlinked words?

December 13, 2010 at 2:56 pm
(12) Elissia Fogle says:

I love my fabulous 5.(3 girls,2boys) I’ve owned rats since i was 16 and I’m 20 now. I’m in love. there one pet im always gonna have in the house for sure :) Lots of ratty love!!

December 18, 2010 at 1:15 pm
(13) Ninja Kitty says:

In college, my roommate got me a rat for my 19th birthday. Unbeknownst to us, the rat was pregnant. You can handle rats from 5 days on, and they become so affectionate. I can also vouch for their intelligence. That year, my friends all got baby rats a Christmas gifts, and I managed to start a rat craze at a medium sized university (which will remain unnamed, since pets are prohibited in dorms, lol).

May 18, 2011 at 10:06 am
(14) shelly says:

i have one of my own right now he is only 2 years old.but i love him to death.oh and wear do u get leashes and callers at??

September 3, 2011 at 8:35 pm
(15) pacmanHERO says:

I had a rat once. He was so smart. Merry used to groom me and lick me and he was the sweetest thing! He lived for about 2 and a half years. He actually got an infection or cancer or something in his ear which eventually caused him to have to get half his face surgically removed. He died from it too. But he died in my arms. I spent half the night with him curled in my arms and I knew it was his last night. I love rats!
They learn fast and are so intelligent! I learned so much from him!
In loving memory of Meriadoc Brandybuck and his buddy (my friend owned him) Pippin Took.

October 7, 2011 at 3:50 pm
(16) Jaie says:

I got my pet rat around 6 months ago and my babygirl and i do everything together, she sleeps in my sweatshirts and goes with me everywhere. She has been a great pet i found her to be so smart I can’t wait to get another rat!

May 5, 2012 at 3:45 am
(17) Ann says:

Rats are the most filthy, disgusting, and frightening animals in the universe. I’d rather come face to face with a shark than see a rat within 20 feet of me. Seeing some of these comments disgusts me. I would love nothing more than to murder every single one of those creatures.

May 5, 2012 at 3:46 am
(18) Bridget says:

Rats are gross!

June 22, 2012 at 6:08 pm
(19) Claire says:

No need to be hateful…they are talking about domesticated rats, not sewer rats (which are scary and gross). They are like tiny dogs, they love to play and be affectionate and are super loyal. My two (Algernon and Theo) and some of the best pets I have ever had, and certainly the most clever! They are always happy to see you, and to watch them sit there and try to figure out new ways of escaping and climbing is amazing! SO smart! That’s why psychologists like them for experiments, they are very capable of learning.

August 28, 2012 at 8:45 pm
(20) Andrew says:

Rats are crazy smart. They are even smarter than 95% of dogs, which is hard to believe, but you have to meet one to find that out. Dogs usually take several weeks to learn tricks or complex tasks. Rats take about a week, and can improvise along the way. They are extremely clean (as long as you clean their cage) very quiet, and love love love LOVE people. Once you go rat, you’ll never go back!

September 3, 2012 at 7:08 pm
(21) judy Griffith says:

I have had pet rats and wild rats as pets for 17 yrs.

December 31, 2012 at 9:56 pm
(22) Ratman says:

I got in an argument with my sister about if rats are smarter than dogs (we have 3). Thanks for this info!!!

Also, I found that not ALL rats are completely loyal to their owners. We have 1 rat that always wants to escape and run around and be free like a normal rat. Poor guy, he wouldn’t last a second in the wild XD.

March 13, 2013 at 1:17 pm
(23) shawn says:

We have a rat that the kids brought home when it was just a baby so we went and bought a cage.. I was disgusted at first but very curious.. I learned to love Jerry he is the most loveable little animal.. And smart today he was on my shoulder and i sat down at my computer, Jerry crawled down my arm to the table, took a pee, then got back on my shoulder and he has figured out how to open his cage… We love Jerry and my 5 year old grandson carries him everywhere and Jerry just sits on his shoulder and rides…The only sad thing is a rat has a very short life span and were going to be sad when he is gone….

April 12, 2013 at 11:47 pm
(24) Blue sky rescue says:

We love ratties! They’re fabulous! I can’t think of a better pet for most people! My Blaze loves riding my shoulder everywhere and like another poster mentioned, Blaze will crawl down my arm to do his business, then scamper back up to hide under my hair while we go from room to room. He kind of reminds me of Jack on the Titanics bow saying he’s king of the world. Blaze would rather be loved on than eat, while my other, Rex, would rather eat first, but make no mistake, Rex loves me, too! People who dislike rats are just uneducated about the domestic kind. I wouldn’t trade mine for anything. I just wish they had a longer lifespan.

May 1, 2013 at 8:37 pm
(25) kimber says:

I have had a horrible fear of rats and mice forever. I lost my potbellied pig and in mourning her, I got a rat. I love him! He loves me and my classroom full of kids! I still hate his tail but he is adorable!

November 29, 2013 at 3:07 am
(26) Yadis says:

I adopted a pet rat from a pet store. I named him Hubert he was an older rat but best pet rat I ever had. I had him for about 3 years until he caught an upper respiratory disease and he started to wither away. His final hour, he kept squeaking with me by my side. I finally figured out he wanted my sister present too. I called her as soon as she came through the door, Hubert crawled closer to the cage bars, stuck his little paw through the cage, squeaked and then collapsed. If that’s not intelligence, I don’t know what is. Rats are very smart, I trained him to come to his cage when i would say, “go home Hubert.”

March 6, 2014 at 3:55 pm
(27) maureen says:

i have owned a rat for 3 n half years n she has sadley just passed away only 2 days ago . its broken my heart .i never knew such an attachment with a little pet . i loved her n she was smart n she loved me .beautiful little creatures . and in time ill definatly be buying another rat .

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