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Do Rats Use Tools?

Rats. At a glimpse, they have a terrible reputation as filthy and disease-ridden creatures that invade households, businesses and city streets in search of food, water, and shelter. While this tends to be true about rats, we overlook a rat’s best survivalist tool’s social behavior and intelligence. We assume tool here is an abstract term, but do rats use tools?

The Science on Rat Tools

In many studies, rats are used to investigate their primitive understanding of cause and effect. When put in a situation where they are tasked with using a tool to collect food, more often than not, rats can discover the relationship between the tool and their task.

I have 3 children who fail to understand the concept of a plate. They completely bypass this incredible feeding tool and just jam their grimy hands into the chip bag. I guess I should be grateful they at least see the value in using their hands instead of just jamming their face into the bottom of the bag. Nonetheless, observing their natural behavior makes it all the more incredible that rats manage to use tools.

What Kinds of Tools Do Rats Use?

Each study has been different, but one of the more remarkable studies taught rats to operate miniature vehicles for transportation to food. These rats would drag Rodent Main by manipulating two wires with their hands and another “go-wire” with their mouth. It really sounds like a movie for entertaining a child, but this is real life. And in this crazy reality, these are not rats and mice that like to hang out and help Cinderella. These are more like Rambo rodents that are infiltrating and pillaging behind their enemy lines. Spoiler alert: we are the ones getting pillaged.

It Gets Worse – Rat Commerce & Empathy

Aside from rats’ impressive intelligence relating to tools, they have another unexpected character trait. Studies have shown that rats can be empathetic and perform acts of kindness towards other rats in a social situation.

An interesting study looked at three rats. One rat is in a cage without food, one outside the cage with bananas, and another outside with carrots. Each rat outside the cage was expected to share food with the caged rat, which they did. In return, the caged rat rewarded or “thanked” the others by releasing cereal. This study shows another side to the otherwise disliked rodent and proves that a rat’s behavioral intelligence is a primitive tool used to survive.

A rat is plenty frightening on its own. A rat that will empathetically assist other rats – that is all the more terrifying! My children find the need to fight over water. Water. As if this is some super precious and scarce resource. Maybe I need to see if I can hire these commerce-versed rats as nannies.

The Best Rat Tool

While rodents are using tools of their own to rob our food and spread disease everywhere they go, we have some tools of our own. The rodent experts at Rove Pest Control vigilantly stay up to date on the latest tools and techniques to get mice and rats out of your homes and businesses quickly and efficiently. Most importantly, we have the training to get structures adjusted to keep those unwanted rodents from finding their way back in.