Brown rats are very cleanly animals. You can see them licking themselves several times a day and thus keeping their fur in a perfect condition. They suffer if their environment is not suitable, even though they can survive it. Many people think they like to take a bath. But how is it really?
A video in which a brown rat soaps itself in a shower went viral on the Internet in the beginning of this year. The video reminded scenes from Stuart Little, the cartoon. But on the contrary to Stuart, this little brown rat was real. Besides amusement, the video also got critical responses.
Many experts warned that it’s fake. Firstly, it is not a recording of a brown rat but of a South American rodent called Pacarana. Also, which is much more serious, the animal is not soaping itself voluntarily. Right the opposite, it tries to get rid of the soap.
In the end, the video became an example of what people can do to make their content viral. A positive fact about the whole affair concerning Peruvian “bathing” brown rat was that people started to be more interested in the information if they should or shouldn’t bathe their pets. What is the truth?
The answer is easy. Brown rats shouldn’t take baths. They are tiny animals which – in case you have them as your pets – require gentle and careful handling and suitable care. Of course, it also includes taking care of their beautiful fur. But brown rats can mostly handle it themselves.
If your brown rat is interested in water as mine definitely is, don’t prevent it from exploring. You can e.g. let it investigate your shower if it wants to get inside itself. Definitely don’t put it into water. Brown rats we keep at home are not familiarized with water very much and bathing is enormous stress for them. You could traumatize your little friend by doing this for the rest of its life.
It is the same as for dogs, or in this case, as for cats. Therefore, we bathe brow rats only if it is necessary. Brown rats, as well as cats, can take care of their fur themselves. If bathing is necessary for some reason, you have to get your pet used to it gradually. Positive motivation and rewards help in this case, too. Prepare a smaller container with slightly warm water and let your pet explore this “pool”.
There is also an alternative in the form of non-rinse shampoos. But don’t overuse them as well. Rather regularly change the bedding and clean the cage, e.g. using acetic concentrates. A bad smell is not only inconvenient for you but also for your rat. And the problem is usually not in its fur but in the unsuitable environment its fur might get smelly from.
Claws are an exception when taking care of a brown rat, the pet can partially sharpen it by running around when playing. But they need to be cut from time to time. I, myself, am not very confident in cutting our dogs’ claws. You can trust your vet even with cutting your rodent’s claws, it usually costs approximately fifty crowns.
What is your rodent’s relationship to water? Does it like it or avoid it?