That viral 'showering rat' in video actually isn't a rat

That viral 'showering rat' in video actually isn't a rat
The "rat" is actually a pacarana, a rodent species native to South America (Photo Source: WLOX)

WLOX - A viral video of a "rat" taking a shower in a shockingly human-like manner has been making waves on social media.

The short clip shows the animal standing in a tub and covered in soap suds, rubbing its body with its paws the way a person would clean themselves in the shower.

Jokes quickly circulated as people speculated that the rodent may be a CIA experiment gone wrong, Ratatouille headed to work, or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle's teacher, Master Splinter, winding down after a long day of training.

Turns out that the animal isn't a rat after all. It's a pacarana, a rare rodent native to South America.

"There is just no other rodent that would fit all of those features, and the fact that this video was taken in Peru where pacaranas are known just seals the deal,"  Dallas Krentzel, an evolutionary biologist who studies rodent diversity at the University of Chicago, told Newsweek.

"Scientifically, pacaranas are more closely related to capybaras and guinea pigs than true rats such as the black rat," researcher Toumas Aivelo told the Independent. 

As the video gained more exposure, many called its movement "unnatural" while questioning how it became covered in soap and if this was a case of animal cruelty.

The Chilean Minister of Energy, Andrés Rebolledo Smitmans, responded to concerns by posting a video to show that the pacarana's slow and human-like movements are natural to the species.

He also made sure to note, "the shampoo they put on it is for pets."

Still, Krentzel wants people to know that pacaranas (or any wild animal) probably shouldn't be covered in soap for any reason.

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