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Us and Them: how close ARE we, really?

Marie points out, " Rascal and Sandy...pout. they turn their backs to me and sulk. That's as close as I can describe it. There's a very distinct impression of huffy, pouty, rather indignant rattie. "

Me and other listers have also noticed how "human" their physical expressions of emotion can be. When Ick! was young and I used to yell at him, he would actually turn his head away from me and hold up his paw, like, "Talk to the hand, talk to the hand." And other listers reported that their rats did the same thing.

Other rats will turn their back on you when they are angry with you. Or push you away with their hand when they want you to go. I have had several baby rats take my finger in their mouths and try to take me into their shoebox with them to cuddle.

I think one of the reasons is that they live in a social situation very like us: they live with lots of other rats in close quarters, like we do. So giving subtle cues -- and reading them -- becomes very important in avoiding fights and getting your needs met. Rats like us, have found ways to quickly communicate, "Leave me alone", "I need a hug!", "Stop that.", "Can I have some?"



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