When scrolling through social media over the last few days, you may have noticed a video of a ‘rat’, bathing itself. It turns out, it may not be a rat after all...and may actually be suffering.
First, rodents don’t need to use soap. In fact, rat experts are concerned for the welfare of the animal: rats clean themselves by licking, so pouring soap on a rat isn’t good for them.
Dallas Krentzel, an evolutionary biologist who studies rodent diversity at the University of Chicago at the Field Museum, told Newsweek:
"With the large head size, bipedal position, flexible forelimbs, short stiff tail, and consistent coat color…this animal fits the ID of a pacarana.
There’s just no other rodent that would fit all of those features and the fact this video was taken in Peru, where pacaranas are known, just seals the deal.
It makes sense this animal could wash itself like a human because it needs that forelimb mobility for foraging and food processing."