'Shower rat' seen in viral video may not even be a rat at all
After an unusual video of a "rat" taking a shower went viral, some are saying the animal featured in the clip might not even be a rat at all.
The strange footage, which allegedly surfaced from Peru, appears to show a large rat taking a shower in an extremely humanoid fashion.
The critter seemingly takes its time to leisurely lather up its hair and its body with soap, just like you or I would.
The video has already racked up millions of views across various social media platforms, with one Facebook version nearly reaching six million views.
Naturally, many people have begun to speculate about the legitimacy of the video — and it seems that in this case, the naysayers might be correct.
First off, "shower rat" is probably not taking a shower in the way that we perceive it to be.
Tuomas Aivelo, a researcher in Urban Rat biology at the University of Helsinki in Finland, told Gizmodo that rodents regularly groom themselves using just their mouths. Therefore, the animal in the video might be distressed about the soapy substance on its fur.
What we view as cute, human-like behavior could just be the critter's panicked attempt to remove the foreign liquid.
"The movements are pretty strange," said Aivelo. "A rat wouldn’t do that unless there’s something it really wants to get rid of. I think it’s soapy all over. That's probably a problem for the rat. It just wants to get rid of the soap."
Second, "shower rat" might not even be a rat at all.
As Newsweek points out, the animal in question is more likely a pacarana, which is a different type of brown rodent from South America.
"With the large head size, bipedal position, flexible forelimbs, short stiff tail, and consistent coat color...this animal fits the ID of a pacarana," Dallas Krentzel, an evolutionary biologist who studies rodent diversity at the University of Chicago at the Field Museum, told Newsweek.
"There is just no other rodent that would fit all of those features, and the fact that this video was taken in Peru where pacaranas are known just seals the deal."
If both experts are to be believed, viral sensation "shower rat" is nothing more than a panicked pacarana cleansing poison from its pelt.
Nothing gold can stay.