The ‘Shower Rat’ is the latest instance of an animal doing human-like things to go viral. In the video, which was originally recorded by someone in Peru, you can see a rodent that looks like a rat covered in soap. But, despite the name of the viral video, the animal isn’t a rat
The rodent in the video is most likely a Pacarana, which is native to South America, Newsweek reported. In the video, the rodent is rubbing the soap into the fur on its chest and armpits so that it looks like it’s cleaning itself like a human. While its actions seem strange, animal experts claim that this is typical behavior because pacaranas are accustomed to standing on their hind legs.
“With the large head size, bipedal position, flexible forelimbs, short stiff tail, and consistent coat color…this animal fits the ID of a pacarana,” said Dallas Krentzel, an evolutionary biologist who specializes in rodent diversity at the University of Chicago. He added that the “forelimb mobility” that the rodent displays in the video comes in handy for the pacarana in the wild when they are foraging for their food.
There are videos of pacaranas in the wild where they are washing themselves in the same way, minus the soap.
They normally live in trees and have larger heads than regular rats. They also have shorter tails than the typical rats that we are accustomed to seeing. Although the rat in the video doesn’t look that big, they can grow to a weight of about 30 pounds.
According to Metro, the video was uploaded by a man named DJ Jose Correa who claims that he came across the pacarana in a public bathroom in Huaraz City, Peru. It was a coincidence, he says, and claims that he was not responsible for placing the animal in the bathroom sink. He has been accused of animal cruelty as some have speculated that he covered the animal in soap which could have caused the pacarana some distress. But he says that he just recorded the video and that it looked like the animal just wanted to give itself a good cleaning
Correa has expressed surprise that the video went viral so quickly. His original video racked up more than 35 million views, Metro reported. It has also been copied and re-uploaded by different Youtube channels, each of the copy videos has a substantial amount of views on them.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) January 30, 2018