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A few years ago, Amelia who was a very solitary rat was jumping up and down on my feet and running in a circle around my chair.. she kept running back and forth to the closet... like Lassie in the TV show... I finally got up an opened the closet door to find Fuzzy Rat locked inside... That was before I read any studies on rat empathy.. and it left me with me slack jawed. Really, it's not something you expect and it's really remarkable when you see it happen. Not only did Amelia try to help Fuzzy Rat, but when she couldn't, she recruited me to do it for her. Amelia never had the self confidence to become a shoulder rat, but she was very clever otherwise. There were obviously multiple levels of thought going on between identifying the fact that her friend was in distress and getting a human to help.

Rats helping each other has been documented in labs, rats asking humans to help their friends hasn't been as far as I know, but having seen it myself, I know there's more to come on the subject.
 

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i read that. I think it is very remarkable.

Though I wonder about some of my own rats when during snack time they act like a bunch of jerks shoving and fighting! lol
 

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It's exteremly interesting but I don't like the fact that they basically forced rats to swim in water
 

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It's exteremly interesting but I don't like the fact that they basically forced rats to swim in water
Any kind of behavioral experiment begins with training at a young age. If any of the rats were to be extremely frightened of swimming, they likely would be left out of the experiment group. I spend hours a day for a couple weeks acclimating our mice to the test chambers we use so believe me when I say that they're not just throwing a scared rat into something it has never seen before.
 

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Rats are much smarter creatures than most people think and we have all seen their personalities and emotions firsthand which make this most likely not surprising at all to any of us, but probably shocking to non rat people lol. People never believe me when I tell them how smart rats are or that they have personalities.

That's cool what Amelia did for Fuzzy Rat. I can picture one of my rats, Rose locking another one of my rats in the closet though instead of saving him lol.
 

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In a certain way Amelia was a real disappointment, never becoming a true shoulder rat due to her inability to handle stressful situations, but indoors she was a very smart and competent rat.

Amelia was 7 months old when Fuzzy Rat hand picked her to be her roommate, intros were over in less than 5 minutes and they slept together within hours of meeting. Amelia took very good care of Fuzzy Rat when she became disabled with tumors, oddly the day Fuzzy Rat died, Amelia disappeared and didn't come out of her secret nest in the pantry until Fuzzy Rat was gone... but up to that point she was practically Fuzzy Rats nurse, making sure she was always preened and her tail was clean. That didn't mean Fuzzy Rat wouldn't steal Amelia's food or that Amelia liked having her food stolen, but aside from that Amelia was a great care giver. Fuzzy Rat once attacked our parrot when he nipped my ear.. she charged up my arm from the kitchen table and went after the bird as soon as I turned my head in pain. But to be honest, Fuzzy Rat hated that parrot and any excuse to kill him would have been welcomed. Our parrot made the mistake of attacking Fuzzy Rat when she was a pup... which was something Fuzzy Rat never forgave or forgot. Oddly enough, our parrot never attacked any other rats after that. Still, I'd like to think Fuzzy Rat went after our parrot to protect me, not just to get revenge when I might have been in a mood to let her have her way.
 

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Rats actually defending each other or their humans is something I never saw before or after the parrot incident... While I would very much like to think that's what she was doing, I'd love to see this kind of behavior a few more times before I could be certain.

I've heard stories about packs of wild rats defending themselves from attack but it's hard to say if they are defending their friends or their own personal interests.

So, having most likely been defended by a rat... I'll leave the question open for now, until more similar accounts surface. In the mean time, given the choice, I'd like to believe that our furry little friends would step up and stand up for their friends, both furry and human, when push comes to shove.
 

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Cornelius will crawl up on my chest, lick my chin and nuzzle my eyes (with them shut) when he see's that I've been crying or am crying..
Lol.

Gandalf sometimes does it, too. But Neil does it the most.
They're awesome.
 

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Oh oh, also! One time Cornelius got stuck in a basket hole and his rat bros tried to help him out. Roofl.
I was the only one that could, but yeah. They're great!
 

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My girl Blanche took a single pea from where I was feeding them on the kitchen floor. She took it about 4 feet over to Yoshi and laid it in front of her. This was when Yoshi was gravely ill with a respiratory disease. Yoshi only lived another week or so, but I was amazed to have witnessed this gesture.
 

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Rats and humans are both social, omnivorous opportunistic scavengers and to a lesser degree hunters. Neither rats nor humans are the biggest cats in the woods, but we get by by our wits and smarts. It's no surprise our brains are wired in a similar way... In fact, this similarity is the basis for most psychological research.

Moreover, the similarity between our cognitive processes is the basis for communication between rats and humans and the reason we can bond so well with our rats. I can't honestly say who figured it our first, whether it was Fuzzy Rat that realized humans thought a lot like her or if it was me who realized she thought a lot like us, but it was this realization that became the basis for immersion theory...

Social animals most likely need empathy in order to relate to one another and to work effectively in groups. Otherwise you would wind up with a society of sociopaths and I can't see that ever working for anyone or anything.


My philosophy is, that unless proven otherwise, assume that rats are pretty much like us and think and react like we do... Yes, there may be some minor evolutionary differences, but for the most part it's a pretty safe bet that your right when in doubt.
 
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