Junk Explained: What Exactly Is The Shower Rat And Should We Be Sad About It?
The Shower Rat has been Milkshake Ducked.
Bad news folks, everyone’s favourite new internet sensation, the ‘Shower Rat’, has unfortunately been milkshake ducked. It turns out Shower Rat is probably a very sad internet meme and a terrifying portent for 2018. Why can’t we ever have anything nice?
There’s a good chance that a few days ago you were charmed by the video of a rat all sudsed up and giving itself a shower, standing on its back legs and having a wash just like a normal human would!
We all enjoyed marvelling at its strange, unnatural behaviour, and wondered what fascinating life the fastidious rat has lead. It was just like that movie, Ratatouille, except hygiene based! Seemed like good, harmless fun. But folks, there’s no such thing as anything good on the internet anymore. The Shower Rat is bad. We HATE the showering rat. So let’s explain the journey from harmless viral sensation to people potentially cacking themselves over animal cruelty.
big fan of the shower rat. won't read ANY takes which suggest its not normal for rats to wash themselves like humans
— j.r. hennessy (@jrhennessy) January 29, 2018
What is the Shower Rat?
This is the Shower Rat, a video of a showering rat. It was uploaded to YouTube by a fellow named Jose Correa, a DJ from Peru. Correa claims he shot the video in a bathroom sink in Huaraz, Peru, while on his way to take a shower. He also put in one of his remixes as the soundtrack to the video.
“It went on for about 30 seconds, and then he ran off” Correa allegedly said about the clean rodent. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
From YouTube, the video has since gone viral on multiple mediums, with the original clip registering millions of views to date. Initial response was one of wonder and bewilderment, with many people responding to the simple pleasure of watching a tiny creature get clean. However, many people assumed that the rat was in some way a fake, with people even accusing the video of being a robotic facsimile of a real rat, which seems in clear contradiction of the law of Occam’s Razor. While not a robot, the reality is probably much more sad.
everyone with "rts are not endorsements" better not be retweeting rat taking a shower like a person. u can't watch that little rat scrubbing his little rat armpits without endorsing it
— darcie (@333333333433333) January 28, 2018
cute! this rat is taking a shower! pic.twitter.com/pM93dpu8hV
— lucy valentine (@LucyXIV) January 30, 2018
It didn’t take long before rumours of Shower Rat becoming the latest online hero to be unfortunately milkshake ducked, with rumours of animal cruelty quickly springing up. One of the early claims was that the rat perhaps had its feet glued to the floor, which would account for its bipedal washing technique. However there has been no proof of this, and is discounted by DJ Correa’s claim that he watched the Shower Rat scamper away.
Everyone: SHOWER RAT!!! ????????
Some asshole rat scientist: It’s doing that because it’s dying.
— TWlTTER DOT COM SLASH PIXELATED BOAT (@pixelatedboat) January 29, 2018
i hate the shower rat and i can't wait til neil degrasse tyson comes out and explains he's doing it because he's horny or racist or something
— lucy valentine (@LucyXIV) January 30, 2018
However, in a report from Gizmodo, a rat expert floated the theory that it was “totally possible” that the rat wasn’t in fact showering, but was in pain and scrubbing at an irritant, like soap or shampoo.
“The movements are pretty strange,” said Tuomas Aivelo, a researcher in Urban Rat biology at the University of Helsinki in Finland. “A rat wouldn’t do that unless there’s something it really wants to get rid of. I think it’s soapy all over. That’s probably a problem for the rat. It just wants to get rid of the soap.”
If that’s the case, it’s a pretty nasty thing for people to take pleasure in the tortured contortions of a creature covered in irritant. In the same article, Fordham University’s Jason Munshi-South added a further educated opinion:
“My guess is that someone soaped up that rat and it is trying to groom itself, or it has been trained to act this way. Probably someone’s pet. Hard to know without more information, though.”
Junkee reached out to experts at one of Australia’s zoos, who reached a consensus that the creature wouldn’t behave that way unless it wanted the soap off.
“The rat definitely wants the soap off it’s body” they said. “So whether the soap was put on it by a person or it fell into it somehow, it’s no good.”
Which is all pretty awful. However, it’s also worth pointing out that another expert has chimed in to point out that the Shower Rat… is probably not even a rat.
“With the large head size, bipedal position, flexible forelimbs, short stiff tail, and consistent coat color… this animal fits the ID of a pacarana,” Dallas Krentzel, an evolutionary biologist, told Newsweek. According to him, the “human” way the rat is standing also fits with a how a pacarana holds itself. The pacarana is a native rodent of South America, and it’s almost complete lack of tail is what makes it most distinguishable from a common rat.
In an updated statement on the original clip on YouTube, Correa has addressed the accusations of animal cruelty and potential trickery in a passionate if somewhat confusing defence of the Shower Rat’s purity.
“To all the media who is concerned about the rat taking a shower: Many of you have asked if it is animal abuse, NO it’s not, why? Because the rat is normal taking a shower, he is not running around desperately. I need to say: Do I bother you every time you eat rat’s meat or dog’s meat at some restaurants? If you are worried because a rat was filmed taking a shower, why don’t you worry about poverty and hunger in the world? Why don’t you feed the poor on the streets? Why do some of you are racist or do not take care of the environment? IF YOU REALLY CARE ABOUT what I said, start thinking on my words, that’s the only way we could make a better world. Thanks.”
Strong words, strong bewildering words.
if the shower rat is real i am going to be a better person and live a better life from now on because it made my heart feel full. if i find out it’s fake i am going completely in the other direction.
— your own personal jesus (@Kappa_Kappa) January 29, 2018
Internet Rats Throughout History
It seems that rats punch well above their weight in terms of meme worth, with several rats over the past few years ascending to the lofty heights of viral internet fame. The grandfather of the viral meme is the famous Pizza Rat, the beloved New York rodent who became an avatar of the city and their famous love for the pizza-pie. This was shortly followed by the millennial specific sequel, the much maligned Avocado Rat, who has decided to forgo ever owning a rat house, and is filmed dragging along a delicious avocado half.
It’s not clear why rats manage to consistently capture our collective attentions so much, but could it be a kind of subconscious identification with creatures that are famously meant to represent dirty trash and plague? Is the rat the patronus of the internet’s collective consciousness?
It seems unlikely that there will be repercussions arising out of the potentially problematic nature of Shower Rat, apart from a gradual disillusionment evolving into an eventual desire to completely strike the creature from our memories, which we’ve all had a lot of similar practice doing thanks to the behaviour of almost every man in Hollywood. Wherever the Shower Rat is now, I hope it is happy and healthy and cleaning itself in whatever way it most desires.
First there was pizza rat then there was shower rat…. what’s next ??? A rat that can cook ??????? ?
— Karl From Online (@HammerFist3) January 30, 2018