A new study from the Universities of P/ortsmouth and Lincoln showed that rats are able to make friends. This was a groundbreaking discovery since a previous study showed the opposite results. The study sheds some light on the subject of how these animals interact with one another and what they need to be happy and content.
One researcher commented on how this study shows that rats are similar to other species, such as birds, primates, and bats. This is because the study showed that the male rodents had friends that they would actively seek out. Male rats would go out of their way to find another rat that they preferred while avoiding contact with other rats.
Dr. Teresa Romero from Lincoln University gave some insight into why this is an important thing to learn about these rodents. She said, “what’s particularly interesting about this work is that it contrasts to the limited evidence available on social behavior in rats. And therefore has important implications for the management and welfare of captive rat populations.”
The study was done with 27 male rats who were under constant observation and record with cameras. This allowed the researchers to observe their interactions day and night. The study showed that the rats maintained certain friendships over the period of three months., providing evidence of long-term friendships in an animal that was long thought to not have preferences.
There is really very little known about the social interactions of rats, which is why this research can have groundbreaking effects. Knowing that rats are capable of forming long-term bonds, friendships, and even enemies can help ensure that they can live in a better environment and have a more positive quality of life.
It’s important to note while this may be interesting, animal testing is not okay. Hopefully, people will soon begin to see rats as the sentient beings they are, and leave them in peace, rather than killing them in painful traps or using them in cruel experiments.
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