The Truth Behind the ‘Shower Rat’ Video Isn’t Very Cute

Did you see that viral video of a “rat” whose motions look just like a human’s as he “takes a shower?”

In case you missed it, here it is.

“Shower Rat” may seem kind of adorable and amusing at first, but unfortunately, it wasn’t so pleasant for the rodent. For one thing, that’s not a rat – it’s a rare pacarana, a rodent that’s native to South America. (The video was recorded by Jose Correa in Peru.)

“With the large head size, bipedal position, flexible forelimbs, short stiff tail, and consistent coat color…this animal fits the ID of a pacarana,” Dallas Krentzel, a University of Chicago biologist, told Newsweek. Pacarenas use their forelimbs for foraging and food processing, so it makes sense that one could “wash” itself like a human, Krentzel said.

While whether it’s actually a rat or a pacarena is a minor quibble, the real problem with this video is that pacaranas and other rodents don’t naturally use soap to clean themselves — they use their tongues.

If you watch the video closely, you’ll notice there’s no water rinsing off all those suds on the pacarana. Although the pacarana may appear to be scrubbing his head and body, what he’s really doing is trying to remove the soap.

“The movements are pretty strange,” Tuomas Aivelo, who researches urban rat biology at Finland’s University of Helsinki, told Gizmodo. “A rat wouldn’t do that unless there’s something it really wants to get rid of.”

What’s even worse is that the pacarena could be in pain. “It’s totally possible,” Aivelo said.

While many of the hundreds of YouTube comments give the video a thumbs-up, rat experts are pointing out that it’s cruel, not cute.

“Any scented soap irritates their upper respiratory system and can lead to respiratory infection,” commented Rat Emporium Toronto, a Canadian company that adopts out rodents. “Secondly, a rat’s favorite method of cleaning themselves is by using their tongue! Soap is not pleasant to ingest and is not safe to ingest in any quantity, which a rat is sure to do during a bath.”

In response to the backlash, Correa insisted he did nothing wrong. “Many of you have asked if it is animal abuse, NO it’s not, why? Because the rat is normal taking a shower, he is not running around desperately,” he wrote on YouTube. “Do I bother you every time you eat rat’s meat or dog’s meat at some restaurants? If you are worried because a rat was filmed taking a shower, why don’t you worry about poverty and hunger in the world?”

It’s highly unlikely that anyone complaining about this video eats rat or dog meat in restaurants, but that’s beside the point. Yes, it is animal abuse to soap up a rodent for the purpose of creating and perhaps profiting off a viral video. If you’re thinking about sharing it, maybe think again. And let’s just hope it doesn’t inspire any copycats (copyrats?) to do the same thing.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

115 comments

Marie W
Marie W1 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

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David N
David N5 months ago

This is an amazing and surprising video. The rat looks so cute in the video while taking bath in human style but the truth behind it was really shocking. Also, check out latest viral videos about cute and furry animals here at https://nexter.org/shocking-truth-cute-viral-videos-shower-rat.

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David N
David N5 months ago

This is an amazing and surprising video. The rat looks so cute in the video while taking bath in human style but the truth behind it was really shocking. Also, check out latest viral videos about cute and furry animals here at https://nexter.org/shocking-truth-cute-viral-videos-shower-rat.

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HEIKKI R
HEIKKI R7 months ago

thank you

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Amanda M
Amanda M7 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Amanda M
Amanda M7 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Daniela M
Daniela M7 months ago

We need to stop thinking of other creatures as sources for our amusement and start seeing things from their needs' perspective.

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Donna T
Donna T7 months ago

thank you

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Janis K
Janis K7 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Marija M
Marija M7 months ago

tks

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