We have a common saying that somebody is as “dumb as a rat.” The question is if a rat is really dumb at all. Our own human hubris makes us believe that the vast majority of animals are as stupid as a bag of rocks, but many animals out there are a lot smarter than we may think, even the rat. So, how smart are rats?
While a rat may be going to Harvard or Stanford as a lab specimen, it clearly is in going there to earn a degree in physics. There is no doubt that intellectually a rat does not measure up to human beings in any way. However, rats are significantly more intelligent than you may have imagined.
It starts with the fact that the vast majority of testing that is done on drugs and experimentation related to how to treat human beings dealing with psychological or mental issues are performed on rats. The reason behind this is that they have a very similar brain chemistry to human beings, so experimentation can be done and receive results that are easily transferable to how to treat human beings. This should at least give you some idea of how intelligence rats truly are.
However, it goes well beyond that. Rats show a rather sophisticated society wherever they wind up living. If you are not aware of this, rats live in large numbers, referred to as colonies. Depending upon the location where they are living, colonies can mount in the thousands. For those of you who did not read that number at first, rats can literally live with thousands of other rats in the same location.
These animals do not just live together, but communicate in such a way as to ensure that the function of that colony is well-maintained. This includes rats aiding others by hunting, ensuring that breeding occurs, protecting young, and performing other tasks that ensure the survivability of the colony as well as promoting its ability to thrive. These animals are not just living; they are thriving and succeeding in huge numbers.
It’s one of the things that makes rats so smart in a sense, because they are able to communicate with one another to ensure that the tasks needed to promote the success of the colony are performed. Rats have a rather sophisticated communication system that goes beyond hormones and squeaks. They actually are able to communicate with one another through a series of techniques that all garner specific responses that lead to the other rats in the colony understanding what needs to be done to promote the colony.
Rats show intelligence in other ways. They are able to figure out how to navigate themselves through complex labyrinths that require some intelligence to be able to figure out how to get from point A to point B. This is why they are often used in little maze tests, because they are quite intelligent about being able to figure out how to find the right pathway to get to the end.
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