What if, and try to stay with me here, we left rats alone and didn’t use them for our own selfish viral fame? What a thought! This weekend, a video of “Shower Rat,” a rat who is purportedly, well, showering, began making the rounds online. In the clip — which you can watch here — a rat stands above a tiny drain rubbing its body, which is covered in soap. The li’l rodent just wanted to be clean, and like a Disney cartoon come to life, tracked down some soap and lathered up. Cute, right? Sure, except, as noted by Gizmodo, that’s not how rats clean themselves.
Metro U.K. reports that the video was shot by a DJ named Jose Correa who says he found the rat as he was about to get into the shower himself. “‘I care a lot about animals so I wanted to protect his privacy. I would never want to hurt him,” Correa said. “So I just filmed him and let him go.” A few questions that remain unanswered are how the rat found itself covered in soap to begin with, and how Correa expected the rat to get the soap off once he released it. Gizmodo spoke with Tuomas Aivelo, who works in urban-rat biology at the University of Helsinki, who said that the rat almost certainly didn’t apply the soap to itself in the name of hygiene, and said that it was “totally possible” the rat was in pain. “A rat wouldn’t do that unless there’s something it really wants to get rid of. I think it’s soapy all over,” Aivelo said. “That’s probably a problem for the rat.”
In summary, please leave rats alone. Don’t add to the long list of things people have made them do — or pretended to make them do if you’re Zardulu, the artist behind the “Selfie Rat” hoax. Don’t make them interact with pizza. Or avocados. Or soap. If you’re really in need of some rat content, ride a subway to Fidi, read some Robert O’Brien, or watch Ben, a movie about rats, with the added bonus of a very good Michael Jackson theme song.