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Rats are an adaptable species, thriving in our shadows on almost every continent. Could the success of this rodent be the result of their brainpower?

Rats have evolved with humans for thousands of years, and they’re perfectly happy with our co-existence. But rats don’t just live alongside humans – they share surprisingly similar characteristics.

Many people know that rats have an incredible jumping ability, flexible nature, exploratory instinct, astonishing stamina and a climate-controlling tail – but these little critters are also extremely clever.

Rats consciously think. They can identify and avoid a rat trap and even strategize an entry-and-exit plan. These rodents can stop, take a break and recall events from the past.

And even more fascinating? Rats have individual personalities and are incredibly self-aware. Depending on their pedigree and upbringing, they can be depressed or in good spirits. Rats enjoy sex. They often squeal when tickled and dream in their sleep. They take pleasure in socializing and exploring. Some studies show that rats can actually sigh in relief. They can even learn to desire the same drugs that humans often do, like nicotine, alcohol and amphetamine.

So are these rodents rat-tastic or repulsive? Be sure to watch Rat Genius on Nat Geo WILD, Wednesday April 28th at 10 PM ET/PT.


  1. z123456
    July 25, 2011, 9:35 pm

    We have had ten rats they were all very intelligent . The first one thought he was going to grow up to be like us he tried very hard to copy everything we did it would come to the table and sit down on his rear and eight from his bowl with his hands.
    The second one she knew her species that she was a lot of fun. And she was pregnant of doctors and first until she had a tumor on the back of her leg she got surgery after that the doctor was great as far as she was concerned. The line they lived with us they remained predators they did for insects all the time and once when we had our third rat we had the bird as well the bird was frightened all the time the little guy all most got her once so we had to give the bird to some one else for it wouldn’t live in fear.
    PS all of them except for one I think they tried real hard to talk.
    And if I was going to compare them with another critter it would be They are most like dogs.