Are Pet Rats Smart? More Than You Think!

A lot of people think that pet rats aren’t very smart since they are pretty tiny pets. But, unlike some parts of their rodent family like hamsters and mice, they are quite smart! In fact, they can be taught a lot in a pretty small timespan.

Are pet rats smart? Yes. Pet rats are very intelligent and love to learn new concepts and tricks. They are also very curious and enjoy the companionship of humans and fellow pet rats.

But let’s go deeper into a pet rat intelligence with some fun facts!

Rats Intelligence Facts

  • Pet rats recognize their owners and miss them!
  • Rats can learn their own name and come when called.
  • You can teach many different tricks to a pet rat.
  • If another pet rat is hurt or in danger, they can recognize the situation and help.
  • Pet rats have a great memory and can memorize paths and areas.
  • They feel happiness just like us! They show it by grinding their teeth and bruxing.
  • Pet rats use their tail for balance and to climb, they can move their tail in different ways to help them do so.
  • Rats feel depression (which can be fatal) if they are left alone for a long time. This is why you should always get two pet rats at a time, for companionship and mental health.
  • There are rats with jobs like finding military Mines! They get special training and help people prevent injuries caused by mine detonations.
  • Pet rats are very curious! And will investigate anything new that comes into their area.

How Smart Are Rats Compared To Dogs?

Pet rats are equally smart when compared to dogs.

Just like dogs, they can be taught to fetch objects, litter trained and can recognize their name and their owners.

And just like dogs, they are very social and like to spend time with their owners and rat partners. In fact, if you stay away for too long and they don’t have any other form of companionship, they might die of loneliness!

This is why it’s so important to have more than one pet rat. They are very social and it’s very hard for us to give them the entertainment they need.

Pet rats can also crack difficult puzzles and sniff out food and treats that are hidden from sight. Not only can they do this, but it’s something they really enjoy! Pet rats are very curious and puzzly activities are perfect for them.

Not only that, but they enjoy back rubs and human interaction, just like dogs! For example, watch this video on how a pet rat reacts when being tickled, for… research purposes of course!

So the answer to the question is: rats are just as smart as dogs!

How Smart Are Rats Compared To Humans?

Usually pet rats, although very smart, are not as intelligent as humans.

They’re more at a level of a dog than a human, as we talked before.

Even then, there are cases where a rat brain can be superior to a human brain. Or rather, their sensory abilities can come quite in handy, where if it was a human doing the same job, it would be very hard or even impossible.

How smart are pet rats - Compared to a human, they're not as smart, but they can be compared to a Dog!

For example, pet rats can be trained to find military mines! There has to be quite a level of intelligence there for this to happen. And a human without any tools would have a much harder time doing so.

There’s even a Harvard study where they do a couple of experiments to see who is smarter: a man or a rat. You can read this interesting study here if you’d like to go deeper.

On a general note though, humans are quite smarter than pet rats!

Rats Can Be Taught Different Tricks!

In fact, I’ve already written about it in another post here about several pet rat tricks!

Things like playing fetch, coming to you when called and much more can be taught to pet rats. This means that they are very intelligent since they can learn completely new things in a matter of days.

Now, this might take longer than an adult person of course, but if you compare it to a toddler, it’s about the same amount of time.

It also depends on the specific rat. Rats have a lot of different personalities. Some pet rats love to learn new tricks and are super curious, so they will learn a new trick in a matter of days.

Others really don’t care about learning things and would just rather lazy around their home and sleep all day (just like us huh).

Depending on the pet rat, it can take from a few days to several weeks of training to learn some different tricks!

But overall, they’re very curious and will want to participate in different activities. Don’t expect them to spent long periods of time in the same trick or exercise. They are very curious but will also get bored easily.

Take some time and be patient, so that both of you can have fun with these tricks!

Pet Rats Are Very Social

Not only are pet rats social with their own kind, but they also get attached to their owner and recognize them!

This indicates that they have social skills, which means having the intelligence to create bonds and relationships with their peers.

In fact, as I’ve mentioned before, pet rats will feel loneliness if left without another pet rat for a long time.

One fun fact is that my own pet rats tend to follow each other EVERYWHERE! For example, sometimes one of my rats would just go through the sofa and sleep under the blankets that we have there.

This would happen while my other rat was asleep, so she wouldn’t even notice it. But later on, once she woke up, she just runs around looking for her mate and following the scent, so she can go sleep with her again!

It’s really adorable the way they create bonds with each other and just don’t leave their friends for a long time.

Can Rats Sense Humans?

Pet rats intelligence is so high, that they can use their improved sense of smell to sense humans around them!

Not only that, but they’ll recognize and memorize the human. Even wild rats will remember you if, by chance, you met each other more than once!

To be fair, pet rats can’t see as well as we do, so they use their sense of smell and hearing to sense when their owner is around. With that said though, they can still see some faint colors, they’re just much blurrier than compared to us.

Pet rats will also use their whiskers to feel their surroundings and better create a 3-dimensional plane in their brain.

They even use their whiskers to socialize with each other!

With that said, there were some times where I would approach my pet rats quietly and they would just give a small hop of surprise when I booped their fur!

Sometimes they will just be distracted cleaning themselves or not hear you coming in. This is actually a good thing though, it means they are at ease with their owners being around and not constantly checking out for “danger”.

Summing it up, a pet rat will know when you’re around the room pretty much all the time. And will sense you approaching through both their sense of smell and hearing, as well as a bit of their vision!

Related Questions

Can pet rats recognize their owner? Yes! I’ve talked about this a few times already in my blog, but you can check out more details in this post here!

Are rats loyal pets? Yes! Pet rats have been loyal to humans over the centuries and are even praised as higher beings in many cultures. They will latch on (emotionally) to their owners and will miss them when they’re away.

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Are Pet Rats Smart - Pet rats can learn tricks, recognize their owners and so much more! Here's what you need to know.

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