Perhaps, the most popular rodent in history is the rat. It has been shown over hundreds of films already. In fact, there are movies that feature rats' way of living. It is given already that rats are famous in munching our food supplies, especially cheese, and destroying our walls. But aside from this, how well do we know rats?
Rats are very sneaky creatures. Some said that rats originate from Asia, others said in Europe between 11th to 13th centuries. But whoever is saying the truth, one thing is for sure, rats sneak in ships that is why they are now scattered all over the world.
In movies, we often find rats living behind walls. They gnaw on it that's why we commonly see holes on walls. This is just an example of where rats live. But generally, rats can live anywhere. They like dark places, such as basements and cellars, under houses, in drainage canals, and in thick, piled stuff.
How do rats perceive their surroundings? Our view of the world is completely not like that of rats. Remember, rats are small compared to us, so the way they look on things is entirely different. However, they still recognize their environment through their senses.
The sense of sight of rats is not as good as our vision. They cannot see all the three colors, blue, green, and red. But they are not totally colorblind. They are dichromatic; they can see the colors blue and green. Unlike humans, they have the ability to see the ultraviolet range also aside from the two mentioned colors because their blue cones are shifted towards the ultraviolet spectrum.
Rats are able to adapt to the world well through its whiskers, the long hair-like strands in their face. It is very sensitive when touched. The rats can perceive sharply and in a very detailed picture those objects that are near to them through its whiskers. Those things that are, somehow, far for them already are blurry because their whiskers have a short range only.
Aside from the rat's strong sense of touch through its whiskers, rats can distinguish their environment by way of smell as well. In fact, they have a strong sense of smell. Rat's nose is unbelievably sensitive. It is like most of their perception is through their nose. Even ordinary, unscented things for us are smelly to rats. This is the reason why rats can detect where humans place their food supplies. Rats also know each other through their sense of smell. If you have observed, rats sniff unto floors or in anything. This is because they want to know in depth details about the odor trails left by other animals. Upon sniffing thoroughly, rats use their second organ, the vomeronasal organ. If we have our eyes as windows to our soul, rats have their urine odor to allow other rats to know them. When using their vomeronasal organ in smelling the odor of the urine, they can already know the sex, stress level, social status, reproductive status, and individual identity of the other. This is how rats start to
get to know each other and then eventually mate.
Lastly, rats perceive their environment through their hearing. Like their sense of touch and smell, rats have very good hearing too. They can hear up to five times louder than what we, humans, hear. So for rats, the world is a lot noisier than what we think.
The world is absolutely different for rats. Their senses are way odder than ours, but that's the beauty of rats. They are not rodents who are spreading diseases only. We must always bear in mind that behind the mess that a rat makes, rats are still beautiful animals.
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