In honor of World Rat Day tomorrow, we wanted to highlight these special animals and show how gentle they can be. Say hello to Terrance and Phillip! These cuties are domesticated pet rats that live in our Istock Family Look-In Lab. They’re very social and love to play. Read on to learn more about them and see them in action!
P.S. Are you stumped by your young scientist’s questions? Remember: science isn’t just about knowing facts – it’s a process of curiosity, wonder, and exploration! Click here for more helpful tips from our educators.
We aren’t able to have regular Critter Connections right now, but our team wanted to introduce you to our rats via video. Click here to check it out.
Guiding Question: What do you notice about the rats? How do they act with the Nature Museum team?
What do rats eat?
Rats eat a wide variety of things, including vegetables, nuts, grains, seeds, fruit, and even meat. Our team gives our rats a variety of food items on a tray so that they can choose what they feel like eating throughout the day. You might notice that there are a lot of crunchy items on the tray. That’s because rat teeth keep growing and they need crunchy things to gnaw on to help keep their teeth filed down! Click here to see them enjoying some treats!
Guiding Question: What would you expect rats to eat? What do you notice about the foods the rats actually get? How did your guess compare to what they get?
How can I the difference between rats and mice?
You might know that rats are larger than mice, but did you know that they have other differences? Rats have smaller ears and longer, thicker tails. Mice, on the other hand, have larger ears and thinner tails. Compare our rats with this photo of a mouse.
Guiding Question: What do you notice about the rats? What do you notice about the mouse? How are they alike? How are they different?
Make your own paper rat
Now that we’ve seen that rats don’t have to be scary (and can actually be pretty cute!), let’s make some of our own! Click here to make your own simple paper rat! You just need paper, scissors, a pen, and some glue.
Guiding Question: Let’s pretend these rats are real. What would they eat? Where would they live? What else would they do?
Behind the scenes!
Our rats love being with our museum staff, including our manager of living collections, Lalainya. Even though we’re closed at the moment, our animal caretakers are making sure they’re getting lots of love and attention!