Today marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year and this time it’s the year of the rat.  In the Chinese calendar every year is represented by one of twelve different animals.  Last year it was the Year of the Pig🐷, which marked the end of the twelve animal cycle and now we begin again with the rat🐀.

Chinese new year of the rat drawing
©The Strawberry Post

According to some stories, the Jade Emperor called all the animals to join him at a great event, and made the animals take part in a race to see which order the animals should be arranged in the calendar.  The rat, being clever and cunning, hitched a ride on the Ox who dutifully made its way towards the finish line first.  But at the last moment, the rat jumped off the ox and crossed the finish line first, making the rat the first animal in the Chinese zodiac, and the ox the second.

Rat Facts🐀

This year, rather than focusing on the Chinese zodiac, I wanted to bring you some interesting and fun facts about rats.  These creatures are often seen as vermin in our world, and because of this are seen in a very negative light.  But rats are surprisingly smart creatures and even though you may not want to see a wild rat near you, you shouldn’t dismiss how amazing these creatures can be.  Here are some fun and silly facts about rats:

  • Musophobia is the fear of rats or mice.
  • A group of rats is called a mischief.
  • Male rats are called bucks, while females are referred to as does.
  • Rats are very social, live in large communities, and have attachments with other rats in the same way humans do.  They will play together, sleep curled up together with other rats they like and even take care of injured of sick rats.
  • Rats who don’t have any companionship, even from humans will often get lonely and even depressed.
  • Rats have an excellent memory, once they learn to navigate a certain route, they will never forget it.
  • Rats feel peer-pressure just like us humans do.  They feel the urge to conform and will choose to eat food that is not at all tasty, just because thye are in the company of other rats who are eating it.
  • Rats are often thought of as unclean or dirty, but in actual fact rats spend hours a day cleaning/grooming themselves and other members of their group.
  • Rats have long been blamed for causing the Black Death in the 14th century, which wiped out almost half of Europe’s population.  But scientists now believe that the plague ridden fleas that came over from Asia were more likely carried by gerbils, not rats, who would have better thrived in the climate at that time than rats.
  • In India, at the Karni Mata Temple, thousands of rats live and are worshipped.  The rats are seen to be the reincarnations of human souls, linked to Karni Mata who was a sage and Hindu goddess.  The rats are fed milk at the temple and it is considered lucky to eat any food which the rats have nibbled.  Rats are also said to be the vehicles for the God Ganesh in Hinduism.

That’s it!  Ten fun facts about rats🐀.  What do you think?  Has it changed your opinion on these creatures?

-Information sourced from my own brain and: ChineseNewYear.Net, Encyclopedia Britannica, One Kind Planet & Wikipedia

*If you believe any information is factually incorrect, please feel free to comment below or contact me via the contact page links and I can look into amending it.

Do you like rats?  Do you know of anyone who is a rat according to the Chinese calendar?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂