You may have already seen the viral video of a supposed rat taking a shower.
Here are three reasons why this viral video isn’t at all what it seems:
1. The ‘Rat’ Isn’t Actually a Rat
First off, the “shower rat” isn’t a rat at all. The lack of tail is a huge clue. This animal is actually a pacarana.
“With the large head size, bipedal position, flexible forelimbs, short stiff tail, and consistent coat color … this animal fits the ID of a pacarana.”
—Evolutionary biologist Dallas Krentzel
The pacarana is a rodent native to South America, and the first known upload of this video was by a person in Peru.
Conoce a la especie que se hizo famosa a raíz del video viral de "la rata bañándose". ➡️Desliza para ver el video. . Realmente estamos hablando de la pacarana, paracana, guagua con rabo, guagua de cola o machetero (Dinomys branickii) es una especie de roedorhistricomorfo de la familia Dinomyidae propia de Sudamérica. Solo se halla en bosques tropicales de Sur América como en Colombia, Perú, Bolivia y en las estribaciones de los Andes del noroeste de Venezuela. . ?Es el roedor más grande de los Andes tropicales y el segundo de Latinoamérica, luego del chigüire o capibara. Es un mamífero corpulento, de talla grande, con longitud cabeza-cuerpo que varía entre 47 y 51 cm, mientras que su masa corporal alcanza los 15 kg. Son nocturnos e inician su actividad en el crepúsculo. . ? Se alimentan de preferencia de frutos, hojas y raíces de plantas y suelen descansar en cuevas o madrigueras que construyen en la base de los árboles o en lugares con afloramientos rocosos. . El video ha sido controversial ya que expertos aseguran de que se trata de un caso de maltrato animal, debido a que el mismo intentaba desesperadamente retirar el jabón de su cuerpo. ? . ¿Tu qué opinas? Déjanos tus comentarios. . . #concienciasilvestre #ratabañandose #funnyanimals #animallovers #pacarana #paracana #Dinomysbranickii #guagua #videoviral #videosvirales
2. This Pacarana Isn’t Taking a Shower
This animal isn’t having a fun, cute bath. He or she probably isn’t enjoying the bubbly experience at all! The soapy substance is probably irritating the animal’s skin, and he or she is trying desperately to get it off.
Tuomas Aivelo, a biologist at the University of Helsinki, told Gizmodo that the animal likely wanted to remove the soapy substance from his or her body: “A [pacarana] wouldn’t do that unless there’s something it really wants to get rid of. … That’s probably a problem for the [animal]. It just wants to get rid of the soap.”
Also, where the heck is the water to RINSE OFF the soap? Imagine trying to take a shower with a large amount of shower gel … and nothing to remove it from your skin. Sounds pretty terrible to us.
3. This Viral Video Is Likely a Sign of Animal Abuse
It’s unclear how the pacarana got so soapy. Did he or she fall into a pool of soap and start lathering up? Or was the soap poured onto the animal?
The uploader of the video responded to a Facebook comment, saying that he just found the pacarana like that: “Hi Lisa, the rat is a free creature, it was just captured on camera while taking a shower, afterwards he went for some food somewhere.”
It’s really hard to imagine that an animal would casually go off to eat lunch while covered in soap (and, as far as we can tell from the video, without any water to rinse it off).
Some think that the event was no accident:
“My guess is that someone soaped up the [pacarana].”
—Associate Professor Jason Munshi-South
Either way, using an animal’s distress as an opportunity to make a video isn’t cool at all. Biologist Aivelo thought that the soap likely caused the animal some pain or discomfort. So do we.
And this isn’t the only time that a pacarana has been abused. We found footage of one carrying a pouch for tips and being forced to stay active during the day and interact with humans, even though this species is nocturnal and likely uncomfortable being surrounded and touched by humans. This is so not OK.
What You Can Do to Help
Please never turn a blind eye to animal suffering. Videos like these encourage others to exploit animals for views and likes. Using animals as selfie props isn’t cool, either. If you ever see or hear about humans bullying an animal for a picture, video, or any other reason, stop them if you can do so safely and call animal control or the police. If neither is responsive, contact PETA.
Let your family and friends know the truth about this viral video, and share this article!