Scientists have discovered that not only do rats have the ability to play hide and seek, they actually enjoy doing so with humans.
The act of using animals in labs to test products that will eventually be used on humans is a controversial one. For the most part, it is something that is becoming a thing of the past. However, there are sadly still some countries and companies which choose to use the cruel process.
Not all lab testing on animals is cruel, though. Take the research recently published in Science, for example. The scientists conducting the research had no interest in whether cosmetic products would do harm to the rats, nor did they want to negatively affect the animals in any way. In fact, the experiment these rats were a part of resulted in them having better lives.
All the researchers wanted to know was whether the rats in this particular lab could be taught to play hide and seek. Turns out they can, and they love it! The German neuroscientists who devised the experiment filled a room with boxes of different shapes and sizes and proceeded to play hide and seek with the rodents. That's right, the rats weren't tasked with hiding from and finding each other, but with playing alongside their human buddies.
All six of the rats who took part in the experiment got better and better at the game each day. They would even return to spots where the scientists had hidden on multiple occasions. Plus, quickly devised that transparent boxes were no good for hiding behind. While all six were terrific seekers, there was one rat who didn't know how to hide or simply didn't want to.
We haven't even told you the best part of all yet. As mentioned above, the researchers noted that the rats actively enjoyed playing hide and seek. How did the scientists know that? Because upon discovering their human hiders, the rats would literally jump for joy and let out a little squeak. Adorable to the highest of levels. Maybe we shouldn't be afraid when we find a rat hiding in our home. Perhaps all they want to do is play.